Shame — Part II
By a daughter seeking kindness Also see Part I “How it started”
Part II – What it is now
Page forward to March 2019. My dad had a new accusation against him and immediately was placed in handcuffs at age 71 while eating dinner. He was taken away without shoes and without his medications to the local jail. My dad was close to death before I could get him out; he was in a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) state after only 24 hours locked up. They had my dad for three days, three days during which I did not sleep. He is diabetic, and not only did he not have his medicine, he was, for those three days, fed meals heavy in carbs and with Kool-Aid to drink. He poured out the Kool-Aid then filled up his small cup with water from the water fountain and ate only the protein and veggies on his tray. By the time he was picked him up, he was totally dehydrated and was having DKA symptoms. My dad almost died; I almost lost my dad for good over a false accusation with no proof whatsoever. How can that happen in America?
This accusation was and is a lie. The person making the accusation is a minor male who has made false accusations against another person previously. My father’s being on the list from the conviction in 1983 predisposed law enforcement to believe the accusation without any actual investigation.
The horrible thing about an arrest for a false accusation of a sexual nature is that, to the public, it is assumed to be true. The damage cannot be repaired. You can never, ever fix or undo the collateral damage it does permanently to the ones who are innocent and their families that stay by their side. Once the accusation is out there, it spreads like wildfire. And family members suffer the fall-out along with the falsely accused. The damage done to families is a form of post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The damage done by a false accusation not only causes PTSD in spouses and their children but with out proper mental health treatment, PTSD will be impact the next generations to come.
The abuse he suffered in the past continues today, just in a different form. At age 73, now 39 years after the conviction and imprisonment for a crime he to this day does not remember, he is abused almost daily by the public sex offense registry. He is shamed constantly. He is targeted by vigilantes and scammers. He is ridiculed in social media and in our town and neighborhood. Everyone has hated my father for 39 years except for me and a few other family members.
Imagine for a moment that you are my father. Imagine that you have been charged with a crime for which you are innocent, you almost die, your family is fearful, and the public is spreading multiple lies about you. How do you recover from that?
The abuse and the shame spread to us. Here I am today filled with a great deal of anger. My family has been smeared on social media. When the accusation occurred, the local police department posted my dad’s information online with his last name in caps over and over, a method that invokes fear into the public. My town is small. The public was never in danger but we were! We suffered greatly and deeply. My family was barely a family, and now the registry has permanently destroyed what little family I had left.
I lost my job. I worked in a doctor’s office, and the patients kept asking me about what happened or would stare at me. I could no longer perform a job where I was being mentally harassed by those I was trying to help. I saw comments by patients I knew for over 20 years on Facebook. I could not believe people were willing to say such things where others could read them and they could have a group discussion about my dad with out knowing who he actually is, how he grew up, the traumas he suffered. I knew some of the patients personally, had considered them friends. They hurt me so deeply with their gruesome words.
The most horrible lie, written by a perfect stranger, was that my dad molested his children. Now think about the psychological damage that lie does to my siblings, myself, and other innocent people. I tried to sue the man who wrote it, but no lawyer would take my case due to the complexity of social media. This was on a local law enforcement page, and rather than turn off the comments so we would not be hurt by them, they chose to leave them on. This man, a person I do not know, someone who does not know me or my family or anything about my father except what he was charged with and that he is on the registry, wrote horrible things, vicious lies, about me and my father on social media, kicking my PTSD into overdrive. The words were out there as though they were true, there for everyone to read. The shame was unbearable. A man on the west coast, with a few words on a law enforcement social media page, destroyed me and my life 2000 miles away.
I endured a thoroughly unpleasant and disgusting verbal conversation with a scammer who had targeted my dad. He got his name and telephone number from the public registry and was being very intimidating and frightening until I hung up.
The social media impact on my life caused by this registry is unforgivable. I have had many friends drop off the radar once they come across the info on Google. I have lost a marriage and several relationships after that due to the registry. You become a leper in society and wear shame permanently from this registry that is meant to keep the public safe. It’s those not on a list that are committing crimes. This law has destroyed my life and my family, and we did nothing criminal!
I have been officially diagnosed with PTSD. I cannot eat or sleep without medical prescriptions. I am struggling financially. I have a new job which I love, but the money and benefits are nowhere near my previous employment. The one positive thing is my job is no longer stressful.
My family who worked incredibly hard to stay a family is now totally broken apart. I barely see anyone anymore besides my parents. My dad has aged tremendously. He has worked so hard to show everyone that he is a good man, and this has devastated him.
My adult nephew lives with my parents. He has had difficulty in holding a job and mental health issues, impacted negatively by social media. I blame this on the way we were treated growing up due to my father’s situation. I worry about people breaking in and hurting him and my parents. This should not occur; people shouldn’t live like this in America. These are the sorts of conditions and the sorts of fears that one associates with third world countries. Is that what we are becoming?