Monday, 24 June 2013

Is it wrong for a pupil to have a sexual relationship with a teacher?

Jeremy Forrest in Court
The title of the BBC News Magazine article which spurred me on to write this article is entitled "How often do abusive teacher-pupil relationships occur?" The recent prosecution of Jeremy Forrest has brought this discussion to the surface

A different breed of abuse allegations by girls who are in teenage years, and actually adored their abuser in a sense at the time is coming to the fore in view of the Savile cases. Teacher cases have been around for many years. Abuse of power by someone in a position of responsibility is always wrong, no matter who the dominant and servient characters are. The point is that the degree of acceptance by the public varies depending upon the facts. The following are examples:-
  1. Male Teacher/Careworker on teenage boy of 14 involving grooming, anal abuse, and violence. The abuser used mental techniques to confuse the victim by one day being nice, and the next day ignoring him/her - obviously unacceptable and wrong.
  2. Female Teacher/Careworker on teenage boy of 15, who claims he enjoyed being seduced and engaging in intercourse, but later realised how wrong it was, when approached by the police who were investigating allegations by other younger girls. Sometimes the police have to remind the survivor that what happened was a  crime, because he was under age at the time.
  3. Male Teacher rapes girl of 15 - obviously wrong. Girl claims she fell in love with teacher and seduced him. Also wrong, but would she ever report the crime?
  4. Female survivor of abuse aged 17 who was indecently assaulted by a celebrity pop star in an inappropriate way after a pop concert in 1968 when the age of consent was 18.
The list of examples are endless. The points are:-
  1. All the examples are abusive and could result in prosecutions by the police now.
  2. In some examples, the allegations may never result in a report to the police.
  3. The public if asked in a random way would consider some allegations less blameworthy than others.
  4. The attitude of the public will vary depending upon how well liked the celebrity is in their eyes.
  5. Some "fans" of celebrities take the view that anyone who complains of abuse against their idol is at fault. Some of them send hate mail to anyone who takes action against the idol. One thinks of Michael Jackson.
  6. There is a view which is gathering pace, and which, unfortunately, takes the side of the abuser saying that if the abuse took place many years ago it should remain in the past, as opposed to raking up old allegations and ruining the life of an "old man", who is ill.
  7. So manipulative are abusers, that even many years later, the victims are still under his/her spell to the extent that they feel guilty in reporting the crime.
  8. One imagines that all survivors will be angry at any sentence of imprisonment claiming it is insufficient. This is not true. Some actually feel sorry for the guilty man going to prison.
Many of the actors in Coronation Street are now in Court facing allegations of abuse. I just hope that the reaction of the public to such famous cases will not turn the wrong way, and discourage victims of abuse from coming forward.

To make disclosure even many years later can be cathartic, and help heal the wounds of the past. Abuse gives survivors a life sentence. Complaints can help them seek justice. One hopes that they will have the courage to come forward instead of taking their secret to their graves.

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