WRITTEN BY MIA LENTINELLO AND LAUREN SUAREZ

Author and journalist Judith Levine spoke about legislation for convicted sex offenders at SFC, sponsored by the Women’s Studies Center at SFC.

Levine is a Brooklyn-based author and journalist who reports on issues such as culture, politics, and civil rights.

She is the author of Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex and Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping.

The lecture focused on sex offender legislation regarding sex offenders, the exploitation of children in pornography, and sexual education.

Levine took the audience through a timeline of social movements. Accompanied by a slideshow of mildly risque images, Levine gave her views about the laws regarding pedophiles and child molesters.

In the 1950s, rock and roll music was blamed for robbing children of their sexual innocence, while in the 60s and 70s the feminist, gay, and civil rights movements took over.

The concentration on the innocence of children began during the Renaissance, while later artists like Lewis Carroll and Jock Sturges portrayed children to be provacative and seductive.

It was the feminists that exposed the prevalence of incest in the happy families of the 1950s, explained Levine.

However, many sex offenders are wrongly convicted according to Levine and have the pedophile stigma attached to their name.

Those convicted also have to be on the Sex Offender Registry for the rest of their lives.

“When sex offenders are released back into society after years of jail time, often many state that they felt freer in prison than out,” said Levine.

Levine brought up that the intentions of these laws are good for trying to protect children but they often have negative effects.

These laws according to Levine, make monsters out of those accused and causes gays and lesbians to fall victim to accusations.

They also negatively affect children by causing young lovers to be labeled as sex offenders.

She touched on the importance of sexual education to children. In most cases sexual education is taught in high school and by that time many students are already having sex.

Strictly preaching abstinence is not helpful, according to Levine. She said that children should be taught to have “knowledge and pride in their bodies…That is what will save children, not panic and paranoia that splits families.”

Levine revealed data showing that adolescents are more likely to have sex earlier, and without protection when they are preached abstinence.

Levine said that the public needs to integrate a better sexual education program and do more to spread awareness about sexual offenders.

Levine ended her lecture saying, “It is the less we fear, the happier our children will be.”

For more information on sex offender legislation, please visit www.ncrj.org and for more information about the Senior Citizen lecture series please contact Emily Horowitz at ehorowitz@sfc.edu

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