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Changes in Prop 83 hit home
|Posted Nov. 17, 2006|
Last Tuesday, Californians voted to increase restrictions on convicted sex offenders and passed Prop 83 with a landslide majority, but almost immediately following this victory a Federal judge blocked parts of this proposition, claiming the measure was, “punitive by design and effect.” I find this upsetting. Sex offenders do need a place to live and Prop 83 would make this a difficult task by furthering restrictions on their housing location and the enforcement of a permanent global positioning system on their bodies at all times. This may sound slightly extreme to some, but I assure you that it is not. Sex offenders are dangerous; the damage they can impose on their victims is severe. I know this because I was a victim.
Before I came to the University of La Verne I was living on my own in a quiet apartment by the beach. One morning around 5:30, I awoke to find a masked man draped in black above me. I cannot accurately convey the fear that burned through my veins at that moment, but I can say that I will never forget it. Realizing you have lost control over your state of being is horrific – I don't wish that feeling upon my worst enemy.
As I contorted to push this barbaric being away from me, I screamed. I screamed for help; I screamed rape; I screamed fire. No one came. Life does not always have a happy ending. The hero will not always rescue you – you have to find that hero in yourself. While I screamed, he told me he would kill me if I didn't quiet down – and then I lost it. Pulling my legs towards my chest I flung him into the ceiling with one kick. They say adrenaline gives you inhuman power, and that day it did. This act of self-defense gave me hope and I continued to fight back. The rough center of his gloves tore into my mouth and gums as I continued to scream for help.
Later they told me I was brave, but I don't believe that. When faced with a situation where survival of the fittest comes into play, it’s a natural inclination to stay alive. As seconds turned into minutes my fear level rose: How long would I last – how was I going to survive? Then I tasted skin and realized I had just found my ticket to life. I bit into one of his fingers and grinded my jaw until in hurt.
Stunned, he yelped in pain and jumped off of me, ripped his finger away from my teeth and ran out the door. It was finally over. I had managed to stay physically unharmed, aside from the cuts on my mouth. Luckily he bled all over my house and the police later matched his DNA to my case and put him in jail. When I later discovered that he had a knife that morning, the seriousness of my attack sunk in.
On Nov. 7, he was sentenced by a San Diego judge to spend the next seven years in prison. However, because that day was the same day Prop 83 was to pass on the ballot, he would have had to register as a convicted sex offender and keep a long distance between his future place of residence and local schools and parks – but now because of the new court ruling that might not happen.
I feel safe knowing that he's in jail and cannot find me or any other innocent women, but I am sad to learn that he may be able to live near me someday. I believe that people can change, but I also believe that it is important to set standards and laws protecting people from themselves.
Let's protect each other from these people’s mistakes by enforcing Prop 83; it will only make our communities safer.
Katherine Hillier, a senior journalism major, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.