In the MTV documentary series “True Life,” the reality show follows a variety of young adults in specific situations, including those who suffer from the consequences of misdirected allegations.
For the “True Life” segment “I’m a Sex Offender,” MTV sought out NASW member Aime Eipers to provide social work services to Justin (last name withheld), a 22-year-old Illinois resident. At 18 years of age, Justin had a consensual sexual relationship with his then-15-year-old girlfriend, who pressed charges against Justin after he broke up with her.
The results of his ex-girlfriend’s actions have deemed Justin a convicted sex offender on a misdemeanor charge, and he is now fighting with Illinois lawmakers to clear his case and remove his name from the state’s sex offender list.
“I really enjoyed my experience being on ‘True Life,’” Eipers said. “I really like that it shows that a social worker can hear the difficulties a client like Justin is going through and still find a way to give them hope and have them leaving with a positive outlook.”
MTV producers were positive about the impact of having a social work session within the episode, Eipers said.
“I was able to give my perspective on this type of situation and was allowed complete discretion over how the session would proceed,” she said. “I believe that my role as a social worker was portrayed in a very good way and that viewers could easily gather how a social worker can provide essential tools to any client they may encounter.”
Justin is now a student at North Illinois University, and says in the segment that his peers and fellow classmates have been very supportive of his situation.
From the June 2012 NASW News’ Social Work in the Public Eye. Members can view more entries here.