Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why I "chose" to be an activist


What you are looking at is my very first post on a forum about sex offender topics. The day I found this website, I had been homeless for about three months, and decided to Google the topic of finding employment and housing for someone forced to register as a sex offender. I had stumbled across this particular website back on April 15, 2004 and I found this poll asking what we should do with homeless sex offenders. Some of the individuals there were in favor of indefinite incarceration, and one even suggested castrating homeless offenders simply for being homeless. It sickens me to see how heartless individuals could be.

My comment: "How CAN you punish someone who is trying to comply with registration laws but can't because he has no place to live? I am speaking from experience. I did all my time, got out and I'm homeless. Every day I go out looking for a job in vain, I'm not allowed to stay in shelters, and I'm supposed to be able to find a place to live without assistance. So am I supposed to go to jail because circumstances are beyond my control?"

The first responder to my question was a probation officer from FloriDUH using the screen name DP1. I felt her response was very condescending. She expected me to understand that the laws more important than the pain I was experiencing from being homeless and jobless. From that moment on, I began researching the impact of these laws. This website I had stumbled upon had a decent amount of information, and I learned over the Internet how difficult it was truly going to be to be given a second chance in an unforgiving society.

About two months later, I finally got a job and a place to stay. While neither job nor residence was ideal, it was better than nothing. Slowly, I moved away from the online community, kept to myself, and continued working. I was doing everything that society expects of a person who has served his time, and in return I expected to be left alone.


Society had other ideas. The county had reclassified me for no reason at all, then they determined I was living to close to a place where people can go get a GED, and soon they were going to force me to move. I had nowhere to turn for help. My girlfriend at the time got scared and broke up with me. Not long after, I lost my job. I had done everything right, yet society chose to ruin my life on a whim.

Eventually I was forced out of my home. Luckily, I had found a new residence, but no sooner than I had moved in, the city of Cincinnati decided they were going to increase their local residency restrictions, putting my new home in jeopardy. Again, I was faced with homelessness, so I went to City Hall and fought back. As a result, I was able to keep my apartment.


From that moment on, I dedicated my life to fighting Megan's law and other oppressive sex offender laws. And it all began with a simple question that received a heartless answer. I never really chose to be an activist; I was forced into it. But if we don't fight back, who will do it for us?

On April 1, 2013, I will celebrate my 10th year of my release from prison, however, I never proclaim it my 10th year of freedom, because I am not truly free. I was not allowed a second chance. Rather than wither and die, I choose to fight back. a fellow registrant I've known for years but is not an activist asked me why I put myself in harms way. I asked him why he didn't. He didn't want to make waves or be targeted. Like me, he wanted to be left alone. He was also homeless. Still, our local TV station targeted him in an exposé about homeless sex offenders, and claimed he was not homeless but was circumventing the law. He asked me when all this would end. My response was it would end when enough of us takes a stand against all the abuse and oppression we face on a daily basis. 

I still live in the apartment I fought for. My friend is still homeless. When I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle, I just look around at my apartment, and I remind myself how far I have come since that April day when I found a random poll on a long forgotten website.

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 Feel free to read the other answers that people left on that very same question. If you have a heart, you'll be as angry as the hate as I was that day.




5 comments:

  1. Thanks Derek for you Blog and Activism in the Fight against Oppression, Tyranny, Bigotry, Hatred, Bondage, Abuse, Ignorance, Deception and Vigilantism.
    I will be of the few to say thank you and give you the respect you deserve for standing up for that which is right.
    In life, we either live or die. We are either living or we are dying. Each one of us choose either success or failure. No one, just no one can take away our own freedom of will.
    There is both Good and Evil in life. Evil will always attempt to deceive and take away that which the good has achieved. We can either give in or fight back.
    Evil will always manifest itself with some form of hate.
    Good will always manifest itself with love.

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  3. Thanks for all your advocacy work and your dedication Derek.

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  4. Thank you Derek. As the tide of discrimination and hatred rolls over us, it is less painful knowing that someone is trying to do something about it. I truly fear that matters will grow even worse and that open vigilantism will ensue. It already has in some places.
    The assumption by society that we are all a threat is ever growing thanks to sites like Offendex.com who unlawfully capitalize on that fear and paranoia. They violate our civil rights and openly disregard the freedom of information act's restrictions concerning profit making by charging us to remove our info from their site. They feed that fear and feed upon our suffering.

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  5. People in this world are all lead by others. If one starts saying what a person is, others follow. Just like in this case right here. They see a sex offender sight with people on it and say, yep, all monsters. They deserve what they get. Not all are the same. People read a small part of their criminal record but do not know the actual fact. Just like in my case. Over 13 years ago, I was 28 and I had met a girl that told me she was 19. She looked 19 and sure acted it. She was a very mature girl. I started dating her and we had gone out 6 months. Through those months I had met her mom, sister and step dad. Then 1 day I had a detective show up at my door and tell me that we have a possible rape case against me. I had gone to the police station and of course they told me if I had cooperated they will help me as much as possible. I cooperated and the next thing you know I had to get an attorney and I was fighting for my life. Spent thousand of dollars on attorney fees. I fought this in court but I got slapped with a Misdemeanor, 90 days in jail, and 10 years registration. I lost my job, my freedom, my dignity. I was treated like I was a monster for what this girl did. I had to move out of my apartment and couldnt live around anything that had to do with kids. This girl turned out to be 16 going on 17. Meeting her family and seeing her for the time I did for it to come down to this. But yet she is the victim?? But it goes back to people in this world to think everyone on registration is a monster. I've completed what I needed over the 10 years and now this wonderful website called offendex is now ruining more of my life. You have thiefs out there in this world, wheres the website with their picture. You have murderers, where's their website. Dont know.. but when you get something like this to happen then you have a bunch of followers that sure support it like the plague. All cases are different just so happens that the law is so messed up it puts all in the same category. But thanks to such a good website that puts the information on the internet, makes some an easy target. I cant change what people think about others, but when something happens to the commenting some, dont get caught up in the system yourself because you will find out what it really feels like to be judged by other!

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