A Plea to Please Remove Disturbing Categories from Black Sheep Project

+38 votes

I spoke to the leader of the Black Sheep Project before posting this request publicly.

I ran across this by accident and was immediately horrified to see that we had a category of rapist in the Black Sheep Project. Black Sheep is not my thing, but I see how the project can be a wonderful thing to document another side of genealogy.  Here is an example of a Black Sheep Project profile that has genealogical and historical information combined well  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Parker-11929   

However, I can find no genealogical purpose to the category of rapist.

Some of the profiles in this category have a play by play accounting of the appalling crimes of the perpetrators.  Again--no genealogical purpose here and very very disturbing.  One profile mentioned the person's crimes against children.  As a victim of multiple violent crimes, reading these kinds of biographies is very triggering and upsetting.  I can see no reason to give these people credit for these kinds of crimes or any reason to give detailed accounts of these crimes. Related disturbing categories are Child Abductors and Domestic Batterers.

1) I would ask that we please remove these three categories (Rapist, Child Abductors and Domestic Batterers) that are not part of the original International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists list of Black Sheep Categories.

2) I would also ask that some basic guidelines be considered for describing the crimes of those in the Black Sheep categories regardless of the category. Graphic and detailed accounts of crimes have no genealogical purpose and does not honor the descendants.


Again, this is not a rant against the project itself, only a plea for small changes. Thank you for your feedback on this issue. 

in The Tree House by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (716k points)
edited by Emma MacBeath
Thank you Michele,  I appreciate the feedback.

Michèle, as mentioned in some discussions below, I feel there should be a good balance between white washing history and telling every single detail.  

We must remember that  what was unacceptable at some point in time (having a child out of wedlock, for instance) can be quite acceptable today and that what is unacceptable today might be ok tomorow or vice-versa.

As to this statement, I hope rapists, child kidnappers and domestic batterers will never be acceptable as an every day occurrence. 

Robin, just my two cents--I read the profile in question and although it is somewhat disturbing knowing what she did, you did a nice job of presenting genealogical information and only glanced on the crimes in the bio.

 The newspaper articles are more disturbing since they give the play by play information of her crime.  I don't know if these could be moved to a space page or if a warning could be put at the top of the page regarding their graphic content?  Again, just my opinion on the situation and I am more sensitive than some people.
I hope so too, but I'm afraid there were times and places, not even so long ago and so far away, where and when domestic batterers for instance were not considered worthy of worrying about.

Perceptions change... the crimes that were considered the worst possible dishonor 200 years ago are not the same as today.
Very true Isabelle
Thank you for looking at that..  I am having a change of heart with her profile.  I think she must have suffered from Mental Illness and or Postpartum depression.   I am going to take the news articles out.   let family discover it for themselves.   I guess I will go back to the golden rule.. do unto others as you would want them to do with you..   Wikitree should be a pleasant experience and i don't want to scare future family members away by the grim profile... I honestly feel she had postpartum depression and she felt so bad that she commited suicide... and here i am making a profile with her bad deeds... I am going just stick to facts and sources from now on and skip the awful news articles..  I appreciate the feedback Emma..
You could add links to where readers could find the articles for themselves if they want more information, Robin.  I do feel sad for her even though her deeds were atrocious and inexcusable.  People don't act like this without a cause.

Hello Emma,

I don’t know how you could surmise that my comments implied that Raping or child molesting might become the norm.

One thing I am convinced of is that moving info from these categories to a  free space page with sources does not change the facts but will add to the complexity of the whole exercise.  Tough to be politically correct these days !

By the way your link to (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Parker-11929)  tells me the page does not exist ?

Also, You state :

«I can see no reason to give these people credit for these kinds of crimes »  this tacitly implies that it is OK to give murderers (for example) credit – very confusing to me.


I'm going to be the dissenting opinion... I think the Black Sheep categories are among the most interesting in Wikitree. I would be most disappointed if they were done away with -- genealogy is not just a collection of names and dates, it's a means of understanding history as measured in human lifetimes. The nature of humanity means that there are some notorious, even dangerous, individuals. I do feel that stripping all that out is whitewashing history, and pretending that we are better than we were.
I don't feel like this removal is stripping away anything in history, it is showing some simple basic respect for some of the dead and what they had to endure.  And it is showing some simple respect for their descendents who may not know about these events.  the crime was committed by a criminal, not by the victim, Black Sheep is about the ones Accused,and in no way should include the victims of these crimes as part of their projects.  Victims of crimes are not Black Sheep, they are just that, victims who either had to become survivors, or may have even taken their own lives after the tragic events.  As genealogists we have a responsibility to look at what we find and report facts as facts, but as human beings, do we have a moral responsibility about what facts we report and how we present them?  I for one think we do, to stick a plaque on women of violent sexual assault crimes, is to revictimize not only the one who was the victim but to victimize the families of descendents that may not know.  What about the ones that maybe found that gave birth 9 months later?  how do you suppose that will affect those descendents?  there are some lines that shouldn't be crossed as genealogists, is this category is definately one of them

16 Answers

+18 votes
Best answer
I think it's important in all aspects of WikiTree, not just the Black Sheep Project, to remember that this is a Wiki, just like Wikipedia, and not just a family tree tool, like Ancestry or Family Search. WikiTree is public, and like others have said, balance is important as well as remembering our Honor Code.

We do want to write a biography that provides a well-written account of our ancestors in perpetuity, including their crimes and bad choices with properly cited sources.

If you visit Wikipedia pages of known criminals, you will see a balance between offering an encyclopedic view of the individual, without play-by-play details of their crimes that might trigger someone. For those interested in the details, the citation will indicate where they can find that information.

Alternatively, if someone wants to write up the details on WikiTree of a particular crime, or a series of crimes, that might be more appropriate for a Free Space Page, where someone reviewing the person's profile can click to view, but also choose not to, and should be marked appropriately indicating a trigger warning.

This balance, like already said, is important from the other side of not whitewashing history, but we can all take the time to think about how our biography might affect others and whether it best serves the genealogy community.

It might be useful to have a template, like "Unsourced," maybe "Trigger Warning," that can mark profiles with too much of this detail. This can serve to purposes: 1) To let folks know, temporarily, there is information on the profile that might be disturbing for others and 2) An indicator that the profile needs the attention of the Black Sheep Project and WikiTree leaders and that the profile content needs to be reviewed and the profile manager(s) needs to be worked with to make the profile reflect the truth about the person, without causing folks to be triggered by the content.
by Allison Mackler G2G6 Mach 4 (46.4k points)
selected by Fann Fann
Thank you for your feedback.  Having a category for biography review is an interesting idea. It would allow a person to bring a potentially disturbing profile to leaders' attention without having to send emails each time one is encountered.

Agree 100% with this idea. Thank you for presenting it so well, and thank you to the OP for raising a difficult issue!

Keep such material when it is accurate, but either refer to original sources elsewhere, or move it to a Free Space page, so that everyday users browsing WikiTree need not worry about stumbling upon unwanted graphic depictions. It is a good balance and a natural extension of our Courtesy principle.

I have recently become acquainted with the term "content warning" and I find that I prefer it. Rather than sort-of-blaming a "triggered" person for being too weak to handle the truth, we're blaming the content for being unpleasant. Those of us who do not feel "triggered" can still agree that our community is a better place when all of us have a choice about how and when we engage with such content. (I say this only as a suggestion that I hope the project leaders will find helpful, not to nitpick your own word choice!)

I like the term content warning.  It is a little more benign which is a good thing I think.
As some one with PTSD, I have never felt that "trigger warning" was blaming an any way, nor have I ever seen it used that way, but that's is just me. :-)

I think whatever works for the greater good is what is most important.
I have commented on this topic before and I'll agree with this one as it repeats some of my concerns: I abhor revisionist history.  I have a tree full of black sheet. My father was a domestic abuser, my  stepfathers were all Black Sheep too, one is currently in prison for child sexual abuse.  My stepbrother was abducted as a child and murdered by another Black Sheep who is an imprisoned pedophillic necrophile . . . a horror to humanity. I just haven't added his murderer to the tree. If I ever chose to, I hope I don't have to add in categories like Child Abducter to give a full accountable record of his presence upon the earth.
+13 votes
Thanks Emma, I totally agree with you. There are so many people affected by these types of crimes and just reading about it triggers too many bad memories.
by Esmé van der Westhuizen G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
Thank you for your feedback Esmé
+24 votes
I was doing some connecting and one of the women turned out to be a child murderer. It's distasteful and upsetting but I don't think it should be airbrushed out of history. I do however think that biography sections are not really meant for the intimate details of crime. By all means, have the category and say they were incarcerated for this or that crime and have links to Home Office documents or newspapers etc that give some details but I believe we should leave the gory detail for elsewhere, and the same goes for people who met their end in a grisly way. It's a memorial to the person and whether they were good or bad, let's keep it respectful. Some people revel in gore, but I don't believe Wikitree is the place for it.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (235k points)
I agree. Thank you Gillian.  I also don't think anything should be airbrushed out of history because it is history and  It is what it is.
I agree as well, Gillian and Emma. I don't believe stating crimes succinctly and providing sources for others to read is airbrushing. However, lurid detail and adding a category like rapist is like adding flashing lights to a profile.
The same really goes for emotive dialogue. I always state things in a plain fashion but some people like to use a more tabloid, shock horror style. I call this grief tourism.
hmmm. Grief tourism. That's a new phrase for my vocabulary.
+9 votes
Emma, I agree with you. There is a certain amount of details and information that should not be included in the profiles of individuals who have committed these types of serious crimes.
by Dean Anderson G2G6 Pilot (423k points)
Thank you for your feedback Dean
+9 votes
I agree that this is disturbing. These people could simply be categorized under "Convicted Felons" to keep them separated from spies & traitors, con artists, etc.

As for graphic details of crimes, please, do not allow these in the biographies, I agree! (When I think that we were recently agonizing over whether to put a painting of Delacroix in his biography!)
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
+21 votes
Like other respondents, I found myself compulsively taking a look at the Black Sheep Project. I was drawn to the category of "Extreme Public Embarrassment", expecting, I admit, to find something amusing.

Instead I was horrified to find the profile of Sarah Rood (Rood-449), who, rather than actually being a public embarrassment, causing embarrassment or being embarrassed, appears most likely to have been raped by her father. After her ensuing pregnancy was discovered, and her father was hanged for the crime of incest, poor Sarah was severely let down by the local authorities who retracted the death sentence which they originally gave her, instead "whipping her on her naked body". One presumes that pain and injury was not sufficient punishment for victimhood, and that public humiliation had also to be applied.

It's only my opinion, but I say shame upon us all if we allow this poor woman to be memorialised as a "public embarrassment". History is important, and events such as this should be recorded for posterity, but to characterise someone such as Sarah Rood as a "Black Sheep", when she cannot, and possibly never could, have a proper hearing of her side of the story, is distasteful at best.

A good historical account of these events considered soberly and non-judgementally is well and good - we can all learn something from the past. But to present a person's misfortune in this way, first characterising them as a "black sheep" and a "public embarrassment" is little short of prurience and voyeurism. Bring on the torches and pitchforks, why not.

Dave Seccull, also a Black Sheep
by Dave Seccull G2G6 (7.1k points)

I don't disagree with your comments but I suspect poor Sarah was intended to be an example of someone who suffered Extreme Public Embarrassment rather than someone who is an Extreme Public Embarrassment.

I take your point Bennet, thank you. You may well be right. But if she is merely a sufferer of extreme public embarrassment, how can Sarah then be considered a Black Sheep? Doesn't that label imply some degree of responsibility of an individual for finding him or herself beyond the pale of polite society? I still can't see Sarah as anything other than a victim here, both of her father's misdeeds and of society's misguided reaction to her plight.
I agree Dave.  The categories are meant to go on those who were Black Sheep, not on their victims.  I can't see why she would have been labeled as such and I hope that gets rectified.
Yeah it would better too make that brief if even applicable of it too be mentioned, let alone be in this category. A good example for black sheep would like John Greene the fugitive, or Ed Geinn,John Wayne Gacy. Along those lines because it's a primitive profile title,not secondary work is yet too be accomplished concerning this.
Survivor of X is truly a very different category than one who is convicted of being the cause of X.
+13 votes

I think this an important discussion to have. I personally am of two minds:

  1. We shouldn't whitewash history
  2. BUT.. certain things are *very* triggering to come across. In the context of a genealogy site like WikiTree: What purpose does adding a category of "rapist" actually serve?

Of course, what crosses the line is unfortunately subjective, so I think proposing that only categories originally used by IBSG is a good suggestion.

I personally love categorization and am using them to track things like Child Mortality and Infant Mortality, and causes of death which would be seen as morbid to some. OTOH I'm in the middle of writing a biography of a family member who died in a plane crash, and opting not to include some of the details, which are published elsewhere.

by Sara Thibault G2G4 (4.3k points)
edited by Sara Thibault
Thank you Sara. I agree there has to be a balance.  History should not be white washed and yet we need to remember this is a genealogy website. A nice balance of genealogical information would go a long way to making these profiles more appropriate. As well as using good sense about what is appropriate--as it sounds like you are doing for the bio.
I've been reading this long discussion and I am fascinated by the various responses.  I'm going to preface my statement by revealing that I have Asbergers. I have been sexually assaulted as a child and an adult.  My step brother was murdered by a serial killer and for 30 years that meesed with my head. I had friends for decades who never knew any of that because I was raised without a voice.  

I absolutely hate revisionist history.  Sarah Rood isn't a Black Sheep.  She was a victim of one!  And then of an entire community.

The purpose of having a rapist catagory is to out people for their actions and honour the victims they have harmed. When I am ready I will add the murderer of my step-brother and all of his other victims.  

Sexual crimes are currently being called out in a way never seen before in human history.  Women are speaking out.  Please let's not silence victims like Sarah Rood.  I believe it is my responsibility as a human being and as a genealogist to honor any and all victims, survivors, victims' families and their descendants to not whitewash the truth for fear someone might be offended.  

I don't think graphic details should be added.  That's just Horror Porn for the morbidly curious. I do think a warning flag should be added to the top of the page, not down with the catagories.  At the top so people see it before they scroll down.  This way we can still speak for victims, be accurate and honorable  genealogists and also warn people who may not want to read about things like that.

Just my 2 cents,
Dash Dwyer
Thank you for your feedback Dash.  My only comment is a warning at the top of a profile is only a bandaid.  In my opinion, if a profile needs a warning, there is graphic content not appropriate for a genealogical profile.
Perhaps I wasn't clear:

The flag up top is something safe and general.  And i said no gory details.  The pages should be safe for most of the general public, but just as there are black sheep in the world their are gentle souls who don't wish to read anything and wont scroll down because the flag uptop alerts them that it's not content they care for.  If someone still scrolls down and reads it, then it's their responsibility.  It's always someone's choice.
I just want to understand why a Victim of a Rape needs to be advertised on a genealogical site as such?  and why would the perpetrator and thier offense and what they did after being found guilty need to be on the Victim's page at all?  this is not honoring the person whom the crime was committed against, this is giving infamous notoriaty to the one who committed the offense on someone elses profile who deserves to have their whole life story told, not just one horrible incident.
+17 votes
Actually, some of these do have a genealogical purpose. As an adoptee, what happened was in integral part of why the three children were adopted out, and the records involved helped trace the birthmother and father, without which I would still be searching for my brothers, While a play by play may be over the top, what happened determined where we are now.
by Cindy Behr G2G2 (3.0k points)
+9 votes

I think one can conceivably even argue the "Black Sheep" label for some of the categories supported by the IBSSG: One person's traitor can be another person's hero. John A. Copeland, Shields Green, and Lewis S. Leary were three black men from Oberlin, Ohio, who participated in John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, and while they were either killed in the attack or later executed for treason the town of Oberlin held a memorial service and erected a monument to their honor:

The inscription reads: These colored citizens of Oberlin, the heroic associates of the immortal John Brown, gave their lives for the slave. Et nunc servitudo etiam mortua est, laus deo.

Black Sheep or not?

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
Abolitionist might be a better choice. Is martyr a category?
+3 votes
I was contacted about a month back to please remove some categories such as rapist, and child molester, as some people found these categories to be disturbing. I removed the categories and had no problem with it.

I was also asked to remove all the details of the crimes from these profiles. At the time I was thinking.... why would someone even go on and continue to read a profile that at the top had been clearly labeled these people were horrible people. I would think if they dont like hearing about these kind of things they wouldnt want to continue on down to read a bio about a "rapist."

But I went a head and took just about everything off of these profiles I actually had put a lot of work into. My plan is to create a free-space (since we can use these spaces for whatever) and just have the bios link to the information. with a warning on the bio with the link, as well as a large, big, bold, warning on the top of the free space page.

Usually, I would not see a good reason to keep their horrific background attached to the profiles. However, in this case like I said I put a lot of work into what I had written, and its because there is an unusual circumstance about it... These profiles are of 3 generations of men all now in prison for murder. The grandfather on death row, his son in prison for life for committing almost an identical crime as his father (who DID NOT raise him). and then the grandson is now also doing a life sentence for murder (however his crime was WAY different) but still a murder conviction. The grandson that was raised his whole life by his father, later found out he wasnt really his son after forensic DNA testing.

ANYWAYS.... I find this to be a crazy story that really makes one ask... nature or nurture?

I dont like offending people, but like I said I find it all very interesting and worked hard on it. So I believe that my free-space idea shouldnt be an issue.That is as long as I am sure to have a clear warning at the top of the page
by Stephanie Stults G2G6 Mach 3 (37.0k points)
Now that I think about it... I also wrote some very detailed bios about America's first documented serial killers, who were brothers.

I will probably need to create a free space for these profiles' stories as well.
Stephanie describes the case of some living people (men now in prison). Living people -- and deceased people who were known to family members now living -- require more sensitivity than the deceased.
I dont see why profiles of these living men would require more sensitivity. I mean really if you were to try and research someone that committed crimes say 100 years ago, you would have to dig really hard to find information about the crimes. Where as if you google the names of these men I wrote about..... you would have to instead dig hard to find anything about them that wasnt about their crimes.
+12 votes

Perhaps the Black Sheep Project needs to:

  • Dispense with "type of black sheep" categories altogether. Instead, use project templates or stickers to identify the project, together with the project account as a manager or trusted list member -- to make it possible to find the profiles in the project. (Documenting a family member's misdeeds or the allegations against them can be disturbing enough, and categorizing them as "Black Sheep Cattle Rustlers" -- or the like -- may just add to people's distress without providing value.)
  • Rebrand itself as a project whose members collaborate to provide accurate, but appropriately sensitive, documentation of the people in our family trees who were notorious, committed crimes, were considered an embarrassment to their families, or were victims of crime or persecution. (I believe this is the goal of many project members, but many of the current project descriptions give the impression that the purpose is to celebrate notoriety.)
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Our nigh complete prohibition on profiles of living people is a big assist here.  The eliminates all the people directly involved in any bad behavior being able to sue about it being written about.  We also tend to be fairly sensitive about the parents and grandparents of living people -- these are people that used to be alive and are remembered by living people.  Sensitivity to their foibles as well.

But beyond that -- William the Conquerer was also known as William the Bastard.  Indelicate.  And our culture appropriately doesn't want to punish children for the behavior of their parents.  But William lived 1000 years ago.  The records show he was called that.  We can say it.  He's not going to sue us.
+4 votes
I know this is late on in the discussion but it occurred to me that we should be careful of going overboard on lurid descriptions of crimes for another reason - the law.

If someone goes too far in what they write on a profile, such that they infringe some publication law, or someone feels they have been affected by what is written here and brings a case,  the writer could be liable for the content and Wikitree for not providing adequate warning.

My thoughts are it's better to be safe than sorry.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (235k points)
Surely such a scenario is quite unlikely? There are no content warnings on books, for example, and so far as I know no one's sued Vincent Bugliosi because they cracked open a copy of Helter-Skelter thinking it was a nice book about the Beatles.
+3 votes
I'm spending a lot of time with Euroaristo ancestors who lived in the time period 1000 to 1200.  They are presented as aristocracy and "high-born" people but when you look at what they did to keep their income flowing, a lot of them are just thugs in fancy dress.  But we rarely say that.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (349k points)
Real life is not all hearts and flowers - bad things happen and some are because of bad people - and bad people are a part of our past as well as good.  Most people in fact would agree that we all have our bad and good sides - not like some of these criminals we are discussing here but we have all done things we wish we could go back and undo.  I do not think anyone should take out the bad and I am dismayed to see that some have - it is reality and maybe a warning is the thing to do - yeah at the top somehow - but we are grownups and can not keep reading if we see something that looks upsetting, don't keep reading and then get all flustered and march about demanding deletion of this or that!  It is not in our best intrests or those of our children and theirs to try and pretend that bad things never happened to our ancestors or perhaps WERE DONE BY our ancestors - it is what it is and should be in there with the good and sweet and selfless things that other people have done - that is reality
No one denies that bad things happen. I'd like to think that this site takes an honest, dispassionate view of history. Highlighting those bad things by providing unnecessary salacious detail on profiles (provide links to sources by all means) and then adding a category so people can find it easily, does not seem in the spirit of what we are trying to achieve. History should not need to be sanitised, but similarly, bad things should not be glorified. I'm really beginning to wonder about the value of categorisation, especially the Black Sheep category.
as it turns out there is no rape victim category it was requested and has been dealt with

Navarro, I was making a general comment. I'm unsure of the reasoning for wishing to highlight criminal, immoral or anti-social behaviour by creating special categories.

Categories are not ways of identifying people, they are ways of grouping profiles for some useful purpose, preferably some useful genealogical purpose.  I can see "Black sheep" as grouping some interesting profiles together, but just because person A committed a crime doesn't increase the likelihood that he is a parent, spouse, or child of person B.  So I think the genealogical value of such a category is limited.  

And what purpose would be served by grouping 200 year old rape victims together.  You might learn something about the nastiness of human behavior, but I doubt you would learn anything genealogical!
Jack, you have summed up my thoughts about limited genealogical purpose. If people want to be titillated by the nastiness of human behaviour, there is plenty of current crime. Comments about these cases by trolls on social media show that we haven't come that far. (This comment was not just about rape victims, but about the whole idea of a Black Sheep category, which can sometimes be far too subjective.)
Navarro, while appreciate your comments on this subject and your view points the fact is there is/was  some kind of potential category grouping of Rape Victims.  It was not made up by me or anyone else, and your comment makes it sound as though it was.  Although a few have kept saying the category doesn't exist it did exist enough so for me to actually go to it, and go thru from it by way of links onto 2 profiles of my own 1st cousin ancestors which were infact Labeled with this Rape Victims red words .  The red-tags (which i'm being told are not actually tags in the tag puter world of wikitree definition were non-the-less still very red and still very much on the 2 profiles in question, and still were very much attached to both profiles with links from this potential sub-category within the Categories section.  the red words have been removed and I am grateful for their removal.

I will repeat this one last time for those that seem to feel this is white washing history... Place the crimes on the criminals, they did the crimes, not the ones whom the crimes were committed against.  The deed belongs to the one who committed the action, the reciever of the crime was not a willing participant, not like someone purchasing a piece of land or pelts of furs, or buying a house etc.  Stating the person was a victim of a specific crime is one thing, to place the details of that crime on the victims page is just genealogically unnecessary, there is no reason why  descrete link(s) to additional information available all over the net cannot be added within the sources for those that want to know more.  We add links to source evidence all the time what makes these facts different? the violence? all the more reason to add links instead of descriptive details.

I for one would like to be able to share these family genealogies with not only my adult children but with my gr.children as they grow up.  But i don't want to have to worry as i come onto a page and start reading to them..."ohmygosh..nevermind gr.son/daughter your are too young for this because of unnecessary descriptives on profiles.

I began my profile on wikitree because of the original belief of this site, one profile for each person, connecting all to see how we all relate and interconnect.  but over the years it has become more about labeling people by thier actions, nationalities, notability, crimes, etc, maybe the intial reasons behind this sites beginnings have just been lost, i dunno, i hope not, because i think connecting all should be the most important part of wikitree, it is what at least brought me here anyway.

  To those that think I'm whitewashing, unless you have walked in the shoes of a victim of a particular crime, you may not fully understand the impacts of not only the crimes on past victims or their families, living or dead, or on those who have walked in similar shoes and may stumble onto a genealogical page while reading their own family histories here on the wikitree, history is good and bad yes, but genealogy and history are not exactly the same, where do we draw the lines on acceptable genealogical displays of evidence?

ok I'm done.  Thank you to all that helped with the issues today, and to all who have given opinions on both sides, thank you for taking the time to speak
Did not intend to belittle your distress - I too was distressed but as it was never finalized as a category, and must have been some misguided attempt to put some bad history out there I was under the impression that it was nipped in the bud, so-es to speak fairly quickly once you brought it into the light - which is good - my only concern was the possibility that it had been someones effort to work through their own PTSD by setting this up - as bizarre as it sounds

glad it is over and again I am sorry if I made anyone uncomfortable with my words - just not with all the "trigger warning" and bubble wrapping everything so no one is ever upset - life does have upsetting things in it, and here may not be the place - but people need to know that things can happen - right now there are several young ladies missing and I think we need to all be careful and maybe kids should be a little scare once in a while or they will not see the need to be careful
+6 votes
I didn't see this post as it didn't come up on suggestions when i was writing mine, i just discovered the Rape Victims Category today, Aug 4 2018, so apparently your concerns have had no affect on the category since its still here.  :(  
I would like to know how many know about this Rape Victims Category within the Black Sheep Project? I for one am not happy to see this as a Category, Do you know there is a Rape Victims Category? How does that make you think? or feel?  I'm against this.  Here are my reasons

1. I've read my own Ancestral grandmothers in history stories of their rapes and attacks on them in legal docs over a few hundred years, more than one.  Each incident left me speechless as their descendent, and crying for them as thier grandchild ancestor.

2. As a past Victim of such Crimes More than Once, the last thing I want for my grandchildren or my childrens children is for them to find me online in some genealogical site with some plaque that notes me as a Rape Victim instead of as a wife, mother, human being, and just a good person.

3. I know others who have been violated in this way, and none of them want to remember their nightmarish event because it is NOT what defines them as human beings or as women or men.  To be reminded of the incidences only adds salt to the wounds that are trying forever to just be covered with scare tissue to be forgotten with time.

4.  The Black Sheep Project is a place for those Accused of Crimes, Not a place for the innocent victims of these crimes.  If the project wants to acknowledge the victims, then honor the victims and the families by creating beautiful bios for each victim, and in that bio, write shortly about the person being the victim of a crime by "whom" did the crime and link to the perpetrator in a special notes section that warns- something like "warning the information through this link contains violent information not for the eyes of those under age 18 or for those for whom violence against another human being maybe disturbing".  In this way, you honor the victims, acknowledge the crime without making a specticle of the person in history who had to endure the crime.  The person is dead, why would this matter?  Because the families(descendents) of these people of these histories, are still ppl alive, may not know, may not want to know, and shouldn't be forced to see one of their own grandmothers with a plaque that shows them as a Rape Victim, instead of as the woman, person that they were.

by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (105k points)
Very well said Arora. Thank you for sharing
Emma I just went to both pages that are listed within the wanted catagory and they have been tagged in RED with Rape Victims category.  I thought the names looked familiar so i did a relation check and sure enough both are my 1st cousins, one is 9xs removed the other is 10xs removed, but this makes them none the less my 1st cousins in ancestry.  & just what i was able to read in french on one has just set me off again, not only do they have them tagged as rape victims, they have placed the incidence and the perpetrator and what he was charged found guilty of at basically almost the top of their bios, above Ursules census docs as a child, and above all other info about her, Ursules bio is literally written more about the incident,  this has become more a place to describe the crime against  Ursule and make more notice of the perpetrator and less about who she was.  The red tag is just tacky to say the least, and it is a trigger for many it will be disturbing. to me..its just wrong the whole mess shouldn't be on their pages.
Hi Arora, I just checked and the Rapists category is slated to be deleted. Hallelujah! The rape victim category--if it is in red--means it has not been created officially yet. If you want to send me a private message with a link to one of the profiles, I can double check this is the case and then address it from there.
Arora, the Rape Victim category has been deleted by a leader of the Black Sheep Project. It had not been approved by the project. Another Hallelujah for today!
0 votes
Now I may be in the minority here but I think disconnecting this information does a disservice to the family involved - if someone has dug out the truth then it is the truth - life is not all heats and flowers - there are sad and bad and just not good times and facts are facts - I would leave a link or brief statement that the viewer is to see some really harsh facts but do not try to cover up the truth
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (145k points)
This is a very valid point when discussing the content of a profile, but since this question is actually focused on the categories themselves, I would think that the request posed is very feasible.
+2 votes
I can think of a rapist on my trees, presently in gaol.

And a woman who is long dead who was accused of murdering a child. She absconded rather than appear in court.

And a fellow who persistently raped his daughter and had a child by her. This man is Dead but the daughter and son/grandson are not.

I wonder what purpose would be achieved by adding any of them to the black sheep category  especially as the daughter/mother and son/grandson are to my mind definitely white sheep. I dare say these things happen far more often than is recorded.
by Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster G2G6 Pilot (170k points)

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