Female Teachers Sleeping with Male Students: Where’s the Outrage?

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There’s a seminal moment in the movie A Time to Kill, when Matthew McConaughey’s character is attempting to convince a jury to acquit his client, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson, a black father in racially charged Mississippi, is on trial for killing the two white men who raped and tortured his young daughter. With the all-white jury champing at the bit to convict his client, McConaughey makes them close their eyes as he painstakingly details the unspeakable horrors visited upon the young girl. But because he knows the jury is inherently racist and unable to see her as human, the lawyer makes one final plea.

“Now imagine she’s white.”

I thought of this scene recently after reading about a string of incidents involving female teachers having sex with their underage, teen students. The trend seems to be similar in all the cases, with attractive teachers in their 20s and early 30s allegedly initiating sexual contact with children ranging in age from 13 to 17. In some cases the affairs last for years, even though some of the teachers are married and have families.

Here’s where I harness my inner Matthew McConaughey.

“Now imagine it’s a male teacher.”

When people close their eyes and imagine what a sexual predator looks like, it is almost always a man. People hear a teacher molested a student and they automatically think of a balding, older man – maybe a creepy science teacher – blackmailing some poor young girl to trade sexual favors for straight As. We label him a sicko, a pervert, and a child molester. Fathers talk about the beatings they would inflict on the monster who dared violate their little girls. And heads shake in negative uniformity at the horror inflicted on these poor kids by a disgusting criminal.

But here are some things I’ve seen people say when stories about attractive female teachers taking advantage of male students make headlines.

“Good for him!”
“Where were those teachers when I was in school?”
“Wow. That’s the luckiest kid in the world.”

It’s a nasty double standard to think the rape of a child or the taking of innocence is somehow mitigated because it’s a teenage boy being sexually assaulted instead of a girl. And even more insidious is the idea that these boys aren’t really victims.

The fathers who talk of pummeling the men who violate their little girls suddenly change their tone, and speak of high-fiving their sons should they ever bed a hot female teacher. The boys are praised for being taken advantage of, and some even condemn them for blabbing about it, because that means it had to end. It’s bad enough an immature teenage boy is now confused and possibly ashamed about sex after being assaulted by someone he’s supposed to trust, but that’s only the start. Because now he’s being told he should actually be thankful for what happened, and that he’s lucky.

That’s right, lucky. We’re telling male victims of sexual assault they’re lucky. Can you imagine the horror and general revulsion if we told teen female students they were lucky to score a fling with a hot male teacher? That they should be thankful for being taken advantage of and abused by a trusted adult figure?

Look, I used to make the same jokes. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. But then I became a parent and now that I have two boys of my own, I can say without a shadow of a doubt I’d be horrified if my sons were victimized like that. These boys have been violated by an adult during their adolescence, and likely face serious and long-lasting repercussions down the road that will affect them and potentially their families, for years to come.

I don’t care how attractive the teacher is, because when a teacher uses the significant power differential to abuse a minor sexually, that is a real problem. That is horrible. That is sexual abuse.

And that is always unacceptable, regardless of gender.

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12 thoughts on “Female Teachers Sleeping with Male Students: Where’s the Outrage?

  1. It’s a pervasive, pro-female/anti-male bias: a man’s sexuality is a burden to be endured while a woman’s sexuality is a gift to be gratefully received.

  2. I am so glad you wrote this Aaron. This is another topic that I have had in my drafts forever and I have been collecting the names and photos (mugshots) of these attractive female teachers to use in a gallery in my post. But rally, I don’t need to write mine now because there is nothing I could add. In fact, some of what you said was pretty much word for word on what I was going to say including (and mostly) this bit;

    “Look, I used to make the same jokes. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. But then I became a parent and now that I have two boys of my own, I can say without a shadow of a doubt I’d be horrified if my sons were victimized like that.”

    Of course, I would have written victimised (UK) rather than victimized (US), but spelling aside, the only difference and extra thing that mine would have added is the few recent cases we’ve had here in Australia as well. Again, all attractive women.

    As I think you know, I am studying Behavioural Studies (Psychology) at university and because of my interest in Social Science, I wonder whether it is more than just these women having the opportunity, rather there is an inherent psychological issue that these relatively young women have in needing to be physical and emotionally connected to these young boys.

    One difference that I think studies would find is that these female teachers are bringing way more emotion into the tryst whereas when it comes to the male teachers abusing female students, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s all about the sex.

    In a recent case in Australia we had a 47 year old woman (okay, not so young, and to be honest, not so attractive) obsess over a 10 year old boy sending him letters of her undying love and getting his name tattooed on her. It’s sad.

    But now I don’t have to find my angle. I only have to share this story to my own readers. Actually, I might write a small blurb for my own for prosperity and plug the crap out of your one suggesting to my readers who strictly follow me through my blog and not my social media accounts (email, WordPress followers) that they read yours.

    The only other thing I would add to your right now is my own inner Matthew McConaughey to those dads high fiving their sons for sleeping with a hot teacher;

    “Now imagine it’s a male teacher.”

    Great piece Aaron, as always…
    Darrell – Modern Father Online recently posted..5 Things You Should NEVER Give Out to Kids at HalloweenMy Profile

  3. @Daddy Files
    Lack of studies (and presumption in research) into the topic causes and reinforces that perception of degree of frequency based on gender; that’s changing slowly. Newer studies indicate that the rate of sexual assault against males is 1 in 6 or 7 (the old low estimates of 10-14% have been debunked for years).

    The belief that one gender is more likely to harm others than another is a patriarchal construct that still needs to be challenged/dissolved.

  4. Whether or not anyone realizes it, it does have an effect on their sexuality and future relationships. I dated a guy who was “seduced” in high school, by the girls Physical Education teacher, who also happened to be bi-sexual. She introduced him to sex and then to threesomes. I was the first woman he’d ever dated who wasn’t bi-sexual. He had more emotional and commitment issues than I could list in a day and needless to say, after uncovering all the information about his past, I hit the road and never looked back.

  5. You hit the nail right on the head! There does seem to be a bit of double standard where attractive female teachers are concerned, large due to the fact that this sort of thing figures in many an adolescent boy’s fantasies. It doesn’t, however, discount the fact that there is still actual wrongdoing involved at an alarmingly rising number no less, so thank you for this very insightful post. I’m sure this has a lot of people rethinking their cavalier positions.

  6. A female can be just as twisted as a male. I know of a student who was victimized by a woman and threatened almost daily to be killed. He lives in fear, with PTSD, and he is damaged. The coaches and school knew but they did nothing because she was a woman. Little did they know she was a crazy woman. A child is a child. An adult has a responsibility. When we draw the line clearly, innocence is protected. Look at the time these pedophiles get. They get hardly anything. Kids are not really safe at school. And teacher’s unions spend big money defending them while the teachers continue to receive their salary and retirement possibly. I think laws need to change, and punishment needs to be much harsher.

  7. When I think about it; male teachers abusing female youngsters or otherwise, it is all about sexual selfishness at its peak. Abusing a teenager sexually by threatening to kill or to punish by marks reduction is the dirtiest means to reach psychological need for fulfilling the sexual desire when lacking a proper adult partner to do it. Whether we are parents, teachers or coaches we should look at it from the same prospective. It is extremely inhuman to defend the victims when we are parents; the abusers if we are teachers. A child is a child, immature and ignorant about the consequences; let’s face it bravely and innocently.

  8. I just had this conversation with someone (male) and he said that boys’ and girls’ sexuality are different. By no means will a boy be emotionally scarred by the experience. And a normal response was “where was this when I was a boy.” I don’t get this at all. We are teaching adults that it is normal to sexualize a minor. Sure the boy might be 16-18. But in reality, the female is over 20 years old. She can’t find someone over 20? She HAS TO hit on the boy who she teaches and/or his friends? Again, if it’s a man doing it to a teen girl, holy hell is broke loose. Girls are not necessarily scarred by it neither. I went to an all girls high school. Trust me when I say those who “dated” older guys–in the school or not–they weren’t scarred. They, like the boys, thought it was sexy, cool, and a thrill to be wanted by someone older. They see it as free sex, believe the bullshit they tell them to get sex and that’s it. Only perhaps later in life do they realize how crazy it really is.

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