Dear Members and Advocates,

This past week we had the opportunity to offer a free viewing period of the documentary “Untouchable” and we took it.  We planned several events around the film that supported two separate project tracks:

  1. It would encourage awareness and participation outside of FAC membership. For the public, media, and legislators we hope that by facing the realities of this film, they see the need for reform; and
  2. It would provide background and evidence-based data to the FAC Membership. For our members, families and advocates we hope that by facing the realities of this film, you will become more active in the fight for reform.

Track #1 focused on reaching the public, the media and the legislators who would not normally choose to view this documentary on their own, and we gave them a purpose for viewing.  We let them know that FAC members will be requesting meetings with them to discuss how the Registry has impacted their families, employers, and neighbors, to name a few. The film provided background, and the Conference Call scheduled for 1:00pm ET April 7th will provide the opportunity for them to have their questions answered by the experts.

Track #2 focused on the FAC members and advocates for the benefit of those who were not aware of the origin of the laws in Florida.

The film is tough to watch because we live with the consequences of the Registry every day. Some reportedly found the film to be disgusting, depressing, and disappointing because it made them witness the attitudes and opinions of non-registered persons. The film forced us to see the strong emotions of the public and victim advocates that many try to suppress instead of face, and the FAC Monthly Member call scheduled for 8:00pm ET April 7th will provide the opportunity for members to listen to guest Shawna Baldwin on the courage of stepping out of one’s comfort zone to raise awareness of the injustices, as she did as a young woman in the film and what she continues to do today in current projects.

The film, released in 2016, was intended to show both sides of the issue that would open dialogue for a courageous conversation on the topic of the Registry vs Public Safety.  The film succeeds in showing the extreme shades of persons required to register, from teens to those with diagnosed mental illnesses (pedophilia) and how the “one-size-fits-all” Registry is based more on emotions than evidence for public safety.

FAC was not involved in the film and had no choice in the direction David Feige took. We didn’t choose the individuals he featured, and we didn’t influence who got more screen time. From our perspective it seems as though it was not balanced but tipped towards the registry proponents. From their perspective, they are probably angry that “our side” got any screen time. But in the imbalance, one can clearly see the weight of money, power and influence we are up against. The valuable screen time “our side” received, showed the opinions of experts in this field, such as Val Jonas, Jill Levenson, Eric Janus and others. Those opinions carry much more weight than ours.

It is also important to note that in addition to the Film, Mr. Feige put together an important op-doc from the footage, exposing the ‘Frightening and High’ myth. It can be seen here: https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000005415081/a-frightening-myth-about-sex-offenders.html For those who thought ‘Untouchable’ didn’t go far enough, this this op-doc takes it a bit farther.

It has been over seven years since the release of the film.  Either you have faced the issues on both sides and found the strength to talk about change, or you have not been able to face the issues and continue to hide, stay silent and assume that someone else will address the need for reform.  Where are you?

Comments on the FAC site are primarily those of members who have expressed:

  1. “I found nothing in this film that most of us don’t already know. “ – GREAT, you are engaged and ready to share the facts with your local and state leadership.
  2. “The film was hard to watch.” – AGREED, but you faced the issues and may be ready to discuss the injustices with representatives.

3.. “Ron Book came across as a crusader for child safety and possibly a hero.”- REALLY? Is he a hero or a vigilante?  In his own words, these laws would not have stopped his daughter’s abuse.

  1. “I’m disappointed that I didn’t see an interview with FAC.” – GET INVOLVED. As an active member of the team, you would realize how many interviews, presentations, and assignments that FAC supports. FAC never stops working and accepts as many opportunities as possible to raise awareness of the injustices, educate on the facts, and promote the need for reform supported by evidence-based laws.  With more active members, more can be done. FAC approaches the issues and stakeholders with professionalism and respect, and FAC is received with the same professionalism and respect in return.

 

We want to thank the County Coordinators and active members/volunteers who compiled thousands of emails of state, municipal, academic, faith-based, and community leaders to invite to the on-line viewing.  There have already been hundreds of viewings and FAC is also receiving requests to hold public in-person screenings.

The film ends short of a solution.  That is where the conversation needs to begin with your state and local leadership.  Contact your legislator and county commissioner from your district and have a courageous conversation with them.  Facing the issues and working towards a solution for a better system takes both sides coming together.

“Not everything we face can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” – James Baldwin

Sincerely

Florida Action Committee (FAC)

 

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