Iceland: A judge just sentenced a man to eight years in prison for sexually and physically abusing his female partner for a period of over two years. Not only did the man abuse his partner but he also got other men to have sex with her, men that were strangers. He also taped and photographed these men with his partner. The woman testified that she was abused at least every other week. Neither the woman’s identity, the victim, nor the perpetrators (afbrotamaðurinn), were disclosed to the public. But the transcripts from the trial is accessible to the public. So you can find out everything about the crime except for the identity of the people involved.
The man got a sentence of eight year in prison. I don´t know if that sentence can be suspended for good behavior but I am sure that it can. None of the men that participated in the sexual acts with the victim (which some pictures show was crying at the time) were prosecuted but some of them were witnesses at the trial.
Again, perp. = eight years in prison.
Victim = A lifetime of psychological complications as a result of the abuse.
What will happen once he gets out/has served his time?
If he moves into a house on your street or adds you on Facebook, would you want to be able to know about his past? or, doesn’t it matter?
Even though Iceland is a small community of only 319 thousand people, we don´t know everything about our neighbors. But should we?
I did a paper in Criminology on sex offender registries.
In the US there is a national database of all convicted sex offenders post 1997. As a member of the public, you can go onto a website and type in your address and see all the convicted sex offenders that live in the vicinity. The website will give you a name, the crime, home address and a picture. Some states even have the license plate and the employers name and address. The police is also obliged to notify neighbors when a convicted sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
This policy was legalized after a young girl, Megan Kanka, was murdered by a convicted sex offender that lived on her street. Megans mother said that Megan would still be alive if she knew about her neighbors past because she would have been able to protect her. A similar thing happened in the UK and they followed the US example except they only list sex offenses against children whereas the US lists all convicted sex offenders.
In Iceland you can read the verdicts and the court transcripts but the most of the time, the identity of the perp. (afbrotamaðurinn) is concealed. I say most of the time because sometimes the media discloses the identity but not the victims. Sometimes as in cases of having child porn on a computer, the identity of the perp. is given by the media. But, with the crime I mentioned above, their identity is unknown. (to protect the victim…and maybe the perps. family as well…)
Most of the lobby-ists for the registries say that they have the right to know about peoples dangerous past in order to protect themselves and their family.
It boils down to the philosophical question; can people change & are some people born bad?
The US has had this public database since 1994 so it has been researched extensively. The results are not good news for pro registries. The registry seems to increase peoples fear as they have no means of defending themselves once they know their neighbors identity. Many people resort to vigilantism and “chase” the perp. out of their neighborhood but of-course thats not a permanent solution. The perps. also claim that they have a hard time getting back into society and that is detrimental to their “recovery”. The registries have not been linked to a decrease in recidivism (fremja annan glæp), yet many people want them and claim that they will make us safer although the research doesn´t support that.
Knowing the identity doesn’t seem to keep us safer… but…there´s always a but…
Would you date a man that had a conviction of such a heinous crime (as mentioned above) or do you believe that a person can “get better”?
Therapists tell us that those that want to get better, can get better. Those that don´t …well, wont.
Personally, I know people that have changed and I know people that I think are very unlikely to change. The latter ones leave behind them a string of emotionally abused girlfriends and once they get the strength to leave, the guy just goes and picks up his next victim. The guy I am thinking about even follows a pattern.. (but thats a whole other blog, in a later blog I can go into behavioral pattern of men you need to avoid…)
As for the case of the perp. in this discussion, he had offended against his ex girlfriend with who he had a child and shared custody. His ex was not notified about the investigation so their child spent time with their father, unsupervised, at the same time as he was abusing his current partner. The mother (his ex) only found out about the case when the media started covering it.
It probably wouldn’t have made any difference if the ex girlfriend had warned the current girlfriend about the mans abusive behaviors and fantasies...or would it?
I am going to throw the ball back to you, would you want to be able to look up your potential partner or your childs gym teacher f.ex.?
Is it our constitutional right to know or the perps. constitutional right not to disclose?
– who really want to hear what you think as the matter caused quite a stir in my class –