Posted by: mzbitca | March 12, 2009

We’re not just shaming the men…

A new proposal set up to shame men who solicite sex is being implemented in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It involves a billboard with flashing pictures of men who have been arrested for soliciting prostitutes.  I’m very wary about the “shame” procedure anyways, and that is why shows like “To Catch a Predator” have always bugged me.  My main concern is not about the offenders but mostly that, often times, the posting of the pictures and the shaming does not hurt the offenders as much as it does their loved ones and family.

These men have mothers, girlfriends, wives and possibly daughters as well as sons and fathers and other family members who are affected by their actions.  Often times an arrest for soliciting prostitution or any sexual offense can completely shake up a family and causes serious pain to those that are connected to the individual.  Imagine a young girl who’s dad is arrested for soliciting a prostitute.  There will be upheaval at home and now she has to worry about  seeing her dad’s picture when she is driving to school.  Not only her, but all of her friends and her friend’s parents.  Now she gets ridiculed at school.  People are talking about her familiy and possibly something that her parents were trying to keep shielded from her is in her face.

The same can be said for any mother or father of someone arrested for this crime.  Now they are faced with others knowing their business as well as making assumptions about the way they raised their children.  When the recent buss assaults happened where I live the offenders names weren’t released.  I am relieved because the hate people where spewing about these boys’ parents was unbelievable.  As the truth gets out and word spreads I am sure that people will discover names but that is completely different than spreading someone’s face on a billboard.

Families who have someone arrested for a sexual crime also have to deal with this problem.  They are looked at differently, they are criticized for what they did wrong or for not noticing it.  Houses are egged, threatening calls are made and people move and change numbers to avoid all of the shame that happens.

I am not saying we should never acknowledge or show pictures of abusers. I am perfectly fine with the sexual predator listing as well as showing mug shots in the paper.  But the fact is that,  by consistently spreading the news for everyone to see or airing it on national TV, it is not just affecting the person arrested but also possibly revictimizing loved ones and making harder for them to pick up the shambles of their lives.



  1. Until you and Cara said something on Renee’s thread I never thought about it in that sense.

    I get so outraged that people seem to focus exclusively on the women who work in the industry and find myself indignant that no one ever seems willing to point at the men who exploit them. It gave me a lot to think about. So, thanks for your thoughts.

    I guess the proper channel for my ire would be the pimps and abusers of the sex workers, but all I usually see are people shaming the sex workers. There is so much more to it.

  2. I highly recommend Professor Brene Brown’s book about shame, here you can watch an interview with her.

    Professor Brown is a shame researcher and asserts that shame can not be used to make lasting change on someone’s behavior.

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