Humans of Calvert County, Sarah Merranko & Anita Santoyo
You can read part 1 here: HOCC: She was 15 at the time…
“I think He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
I think if you’re able to share your full truth, people are able to connect with it. Or see how it relates to them.
It’s a purpose. That’s what it feels like. It doesn’t make any sense that I’d be making any headway. I live an ordinary life. I don’t have any legal background or legal connections. I don’t like people looking at me. I’ve always been the invisible type of person. And I was comfortable. And now I’m going to go and sit in front of a bunch of Senators while a news team is filming me and tell my life story. On Tuesday. I did it in the House last year but it was a blur. In the moment that I just pray that the words come out and that I just start talking.
Things can’t stay in the dark. Because then people are fighting alone.
The bill didn’t pass last year. It didn’t even get out of committee, which means nobody even voted on it. Nothing happened at all. It was very discouraging. It wasn’t important. It’s not something that was on somebody’s radar to be big enough. It makes people very uncomfortable. And I get it. I’m uncomfortable with thinking about it. But how bad is it that we’re grown adults who know this is a reality in life, but we look the other way because it’s too uncomfortable.
The bill this year is a little different. An easier sell. But the same type of concept. There’s this really obscure existing provision where if your crime fits very very specific criteria, you’re eligible for lifetime supervision while you’re on the registration. This means that counseling can be mandated, drug testing can be mandated, you can access computers, you can do any of these any time there is suspicion or concern. And it’s already held up on appeal so it’s been proven it’s not violating anyone’s rights. We’re asking for it to be expanded to cover all of tier 3 offenders.
If society needs to know your name and address and picture for the rest of your life, how come five years after your conviction, nobody can prevent you from doing anything. Like being alone with children. Only restriction is school property.
We’re dealing with people who have already been convicted, not suspected. So why give the opportunity. I know we’re not going to prevent all sexual abuse, I wish we could. I know we won’t. If it’s illegal from day 1 for him to be alone with those kids and then the opportunity doesn’t arise, how many of those circumstances don’t happen because it’s illegal to.
People look at this like you’re over there and I’m over here. But there is no you and me. There’s us. We are collectively building a society. Whether we want to look at it that way or not. So my child who is in tremendous pain, and the only thing that makes her feel better right now is being angry, and loud, and destructive. And she’s bringing that angry, loud, destructiveness wherever she goes. And she’s going to go out into the world and interact with other people. Pain spreads. It just does.
This year I’ve managed to connect with more people. I’ve managed to get more legislators interested. So we have bi-partisan support it’s not just republican. So I’m feeling confident but it’s just getting them to care enough and pay attention to me. And the way to get them to care enough is to have other people talking about it, and if they haven’t signed the petition, they can sign the petition, share it, the more signatures, the more powerful it is.
Share the petition. Share the post. One person can reach three hundred possible people. And then they can send it out. This is bigger than us. And we need to keep it bigger than us. “
You can sign the petition here: Better Sex Offender Laws to Protect our Children