By Keif . . .
I’ve been visiting this site off and on since not long after my conviction in 2013. I always thought about submitting my story but never did because I felt guilty that my journey hasn’t been as much of a struggle as others and it seemed unfair to share. I realize that guilt was just a fear of sharing that I needed to face and I truly believe we can learn something from everyone’s journey.
I was charged with and plead guilty to two counts of second degree rape for an inappropriate relationship with a minor. I have three children and the victim was only a year older than my oldest child. I was (and still am) married to my high school sweetheart. I essentially had a mental breakdown due to what I found out later was untreated postpartum depression and PTSD. At the time I committed my crime, I hadn’t eaten proper food in two weeks and hadn’t slept in days. I was suicidal and just didn’t care. I was very lucky to have parents that were willing and able to help me by getting a lawyer and posting bail. I was lucky to have only spent a week in county. I finally slept and ate real food and reality started to hit me while I was there. It really hit when the visiting preacher made his weekly visit and I remembered that my uncle is the visiting preacher. I pretended to sleep because I was so embarrassed.
I was lucky to get a sentence of supervised probation and was assigned a wonderful PO. He truly cared and got to know me. I knew he had my back if I needed any guidance. I am blessed to live in a rural area where the residency restrictions don’t apply to me. My sentence included required polygraphs and counseling. I was very lucky to have the wonderful polygraph experts and counselors that I had. The counseling annoyed me and made me angry at first. I resisted it strongly. Then I started group therapy and met other women like me. By the time I was done with probation two years ago, I was a totally different version of myself.
Having been through the court process, finishing a sentence and living free (as possible, ya know?) for two years, I’ve learned a lot. I want to share these things with others with this label in hopes it can help someone.
1. Get therapy! Even if it isn’t court ordered, seek therapy. It is the most important thing you can do to not become a recidivism statistic. It is the most important thing you can do for your present and future. If you don’t think you can afford it, call your local county or city health department and ask if they can recommend a sliding scale mental health professional. For example, in my area, the Catholic church offers it. I strongly suggest everyone seek someone to talk to. It will help you in ways you don’t even realize yet.2. Be nice to the court/jail people, even if they aren’t always nice to you. Don’t be that person. The person that takes your registration form didn’t give you the sentence, don’t treat them as though they did. 3. Society, as a whole, does not care about you. People do. Find your people and keep them close. They will be your best support. Pay attention to who is still there after all the court appearances. Remove the toxic people, even if they are family. Find people that make you want to be a peaceful, healthy, trustworthy person. And then be that person. 4. Always, always get a copy of your signed registration letter. If they don’t immediately offer, ask for it. Always get a copy. 5. Always keep your most recent copy with you. Many, many people have shown up as non-compliant for simple mistakes such as the fax didn’t come through properly. Keep the most recent one on you in case. 6. You will have to work twice as hard as anyone else because you carry the label of Registered Sex Offender. You will have to work shit jobs until you prove yourself. If all you can get is those jobs, figure out why you can’t seem to work your way up and fix the issues. You have to be on your toes more than anyone. 7. Don’t re-offend. Seems simple, yeah? Not so much. You may not realize what actually counts as a re-offense or recidivism. In some areas, a simple traffic ticket can be categorized as such. This will influence how you are treated by law enforcement because they just see a felon with another mark on their record. A DUI is definitely a re-offense. It doesn’t just mean another sex offense. 8. Female SO’s are treated differently than male SO’s. Females are generally better accepted, unless the victim was under 13, then people will judge you harshly, especially other females. Males are essentially treated the same except everyone seems slower to accept males, especially if you were a teacher/coach then you will be judged harshly. Second degree rape convictions (statutory) are generally well accepted unless you are habitual. You will be judged and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Pay your fees. Work hard and make people change their minds about RSO’s. Get used to talking about your crime because you will have to talk about it a lot. Be honest with others and yourself. Do what you are asked by your PO. Tell your PO everything. You will make your journey much easier if you go by the motto “K.I.S.S.”. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Follow the law, mind your business, do the right thing.
I think this website is great and should get more traffic. It would be good to read more experiences from others and see what they learned and maybe get some helpful tips for living on the registry, especially from other women. Thanks for allowing me to share 🙂