How to know if one is a sex offender? If the person you suspect is new in the neighborhood, someone you just met, etc., one of the best ways is to do a background check and look up their name from online databases. Sheriff’s Departments would most often have a list or a database of known sex offenders in their county. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has a database of every state’s list of sex offenders.
This would be the best and an easy way of finding out, however, this is not always the case. There would be cases where a sex offender is someone known or trusted by the victim or the victim’s family – a long-time neighbor, spouse/partner, brother, uncle, friend or teacher.
It is difficult to spot a sex offender because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ description. There is no specific profile for them. Most often than not, they come from different walks of life and look the same as ordinary people.
Despite efforts to identify specific traits of a sex offender, nothing has worked so far. Researchers are still baffled because the characteristics of offenders are so diverse, and they come in all age and sex. They also look normal and blend well with society. It is also not enough to describe them as follows:
-Psychotic or mentally ill;
-People with mental health issues, depression or anxiety;
-Unemployed and have problems with their parents; or,
-Likes children and enjoy their company.
These descriptions should be carefully evaluated before branding someone as a sex offender. You have to weigh everything before jumping into conclusions. Experts say sex predators often look and act like everyone else.
So how does one avoid becoming a victim by this kind of people? Researchers suggest looking out for the following instances as a basis for possible sexually abusive behavior:
1. Sex offenders would often do their best to make their victim trust them, and would go out of their way to get close to their victim. They give victims excessive attention or affection, gifts, money, etc.
2. They may have experienced some kind of trauma (sexual or physical abuse) during their childhood or are in a state of posttraumatic stress disorder. Offenders of this type may be unaware of their wrongdoing or are dishonest and refuse to acknowledge the wrongdoing.
3. They seldom have friends and are isolated but needy.
4. They have deviant sexual interests/preferences and sexual arousal.
5. They have a distorted view of their actions and would often justify them to feel less guilt. For example, a sex offender may think that his/her victim doesn’t appreciate his good deeds and, therefore, deserve the punishment.
6. They have interpersonal or social skills problems and avoid intimacy.
7. They have difficulty controlling their emotions and are sometimes highly impulsive.
8. They display deviant sexual behavior, or are overly interested or preoccupied with sexual matters.
9. Lastly, in cases involving children, it is advised to believe a child who says someone has touched him/her in unbecoming ways because children would often tell adults if they feel something is not right. They would often talk about it. Listening to them may help you save them from sex offenders.
Sometimes, you also have to trust the small inner voice within you that speaks to you when something is not right, or something just doesn’t fit the puzzle. It is best to be vigilant than be over confident that things are just fine.