Gym Teacher Suspended Over Lesbian Affair With Student, Just Like in the Movies!

Today in desperately important gay news, a 26-year-old Physical Education (P.E.) teacher at The Abbey School in Faversham, Kent, faces two years suspension for allegedly having a lesbian affair with a pupil.

Another staff member spotted Nicola Webster and a Year 12 student holding hands and kissing. Allegedly the relationship began on a school skiing trip, the girl shared a one-bedroom flat with Webster, and Webster had booked a week-long Valentine’s Day holiday to Majorca for the two of them. The student, referred to in the news as “Pupil A,” was a “Sixth Form” student.

The case seems to be a bit of a mess. Nicola Webster claims she is straight and that the allegations against her were made up by Rachel Skelcher, head of PE, in an attempt to get her friend a job. Webster said:

“I can confirm that I have never, and never will enter into a relationship with a pupil. I can also confirm that I am not gay. I am straight, and I know about teacher boundaries and to this day I teach to those boundaries. I am a successful teacher and I love my job.”

The General Teaching Council accepted some of the allegations, like that an inappropriate relationship occurred, but rejected others, like “an accusation that they had attended parties as a couple.” The whole case is a little bit confusing, but regardless the teacher’s final punishment rests at two years suspension, during which she’s been encouraged to “reflect on the seriousness of her conduct.”

In the UK, it is illegal for persons in a “position of trust,” like a doctor or a teacher, to have sex with under-18s in their care. Although I’m not certain why this particular case didn’t make its way into criminal court — perhaps they were unable to prove actual sexual contact occurred — the circumstance nonetheless raises some interesting questions about other, similar circumstances.

For starters, it is an uncontested fact that women can and do rape other women. However, often teacher/student cases involving two women are perceived differently than those between a man and a woman because men are assumed to be more predatory and manipulative than women. There are often too many factors involved to adequately assess if women get off with lighter sentences than men — for example, men are more likely to have used physical force or violence than women.

There’s also a perceived physical and social power imbalance between men and women (which manifests itself interestingly when approaching cases with a female educator/male victim). Whereas the same situation between an older male teacher and a young female student would initially alarm just about everyone besides the creators of Pretty Little Liars, that’s not always the case when the case involves two ladies.

Responding to an increase in reported female sex offenders, a 2007 Seattle News story said:

The decadelong wave of sexual offenses committed by women — teachers in particular have exposed a cultural double standard: The public is more willing to accept the female abuser’s claim that she had a “relationship” with the victim. And in cases in which the male is a teenager, the sexual abuse is more likely to be dismissed as a rite of passage. The questionable, yet overriding assumption, is that women predators are somehow different from men.”

Hellen Goddard

The vast majority of female-educator/female-victim situations are clear-cut cases of predatory sexual behavior and assault, like most criminal acts, and are treated as such.

But the following cases have, for some reason, been largely referred to as “lesbian affairs“:

+ London, 2009: 15-year-old student, 26-year-old former child prodigy music teacher. Hellen Goddard, the aforementioned prep schoolteacher known as “the Jazz Lady,” received a 15-month sentence for her affair with a 15-year-old female student. The student admits that she “instigated” the relationship and felt “guilty” about Goddard’s legal situation. The student’s parents were the ones who reported the affair. (In the UK, the age of consent for female-on-female sex is 16, which is clearly above the age of the girl in this case.) When we originally wrote about this case, most of your comments regard our recent redesign and how attractive Hellen Goddard is. The Judge who sentenced Goddard told her he wouldn’t prohibit her from seeing the girl after she turned 16.

New Jersey, 2007: 17-year old female student, 28-year-old PE teacher and field hockey coach. The teacher was charged with three sex-related offenses, including first-degree aggravated sexual assault. Both parties attest that the relationship was consensual. (In New Jersey, the age of consent for female-on-female sex is 16). The teacher was fired and did not have to register as a sex offender.

+ Ontario, Canada, 2007: 17-year old female student, 37-year-old teacher. Leslie Merlino received a suspended sentence and a 12-month probation in 2009 after pleading guilty to three charges regarding a sexual relationship with the student. Merlino will be in the Sex Offenders databank for the rest of her life. The student refused to file a victim’s statement and said she’d renewed contact with Merlino on her own volition. (In Canada, the age of consent for female-on-female sex is 16)

+ Oklahoma, March 2009: 16-year-old female student, 45-year old teacher. The victim said the acts were consensual, she had no regret, and said she’d had sexual relations with another educator at the school. The teacher pled guilty to two counts of oral sodomy and is serving a 2-year prison sentence. (In Oklahoma, the age of consent for female-on-female sex is 16)

Furthermore, the student/teacher lesbian affair trope pops up quite a bit in lesbian media in a compassionate light. Of perhaps 13 lesbian films ever produced, at least three feature student-teacher affairs — Bloomington (honestly one of the worst movies I’ve seen in my life), Loving Annabelle (didn’t suck) and Mädchen in Uniform (which was made in 1931, way before I was born). The Vagina Monologues include a story of a 13-year old girl and a 24-year-old woman.

Anecdotally I’ve heard lesbians argue that it’s different with girl-on-girl because the actual dating pool is much smaller — the older woman isn’t necessarily choosing a younger woman over someone her own age but rather choosing a younger woman over nobody. Another issue raised was whether homophobia, internalized homophobia, a lack of suitable outlets or a need to stay in the closet was a mitigating factor compelling these relationships to occur in this manner. One person I talked to mentioned, “I don’t know why anyone would want to talk to a teenager, ever, if they didn’t have to.” I can’t even conceive of what these teachers were thinking, however, or why anyone over the age of 18 would be attracted to a teenager BUT moving on.

Do you think there’s a double standard for males and females in cases like this? For opposite-sex cases versus same-sex cases? Do you think that it IS different for girls? When a teenager above the age of consent says she consented, what does that mean to you?  Do you feel like your response to these situations is tainted by the big lezzie crush you had on your English teacher in high school? Discuss.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. Sixth Form just means that she is staying in school an extra two years before uni. It means she is 16 or 17 years old and just finished her GCSE’s.

  2. 6th form is just what we do (in the UK) after High School for (typically)two years – before university.

  3. i may be a little naive here but what is this oral sodomy thing and why is it punishable by jail time? o_O

    • If my random guessing is correct, any form of sexual intercourse that does not involved a penis penetrating a vagina is considered “sodomy” (legal term for “fornication”). Sodomy is still considered illegal in a number of countries and states, and some places still uphold the law.

      Basically, it’s the big law that was created to criminalize homosexual sexual activity by the Brits quite a while back.

      • Yeah, “sodomy” used to be this nebulous and elastic term for basically any sex act that ppl deemed icky or wrong, and has at times been defined as man/man, man/boy, woman/woman, man/animal, woman/animal, buttsecks, fellatio, cunny, and masturbation.

        That said, in this case I THINK perhaps oral sodomy is a reference to face/but sex, i.e., rimming/anilingus.

  4. Lots of times when someone comes out later in life for whatever reason they tend to act like a teenager again. I wonder if that influences same-sex may-december relationships. Maybe they have the same mindset/maturity level, dating wise, regardless of their age difference.

    • this is an interesting point. also i wonder if it might be their way of reclaiming what they wish they’d had / been able to do in high school?

      (edited to add: HOWEVER even though i came out in my mid-20s, i still wouldn’t feel the need to date a teenager. just wanted to clear that up.)

  5. I don’t have anything particular to note on the topic, but stuff like this is one of the reasons why I find the whole mentor/student relationship to be immensely creepy. Why is it okay for an 18 year old to give her (sometimes super old) prof a BJ in college and it’s totally okay, but two years prior it’s an abuse of power.

    Additional note: Anytime I found an authority figure attractive, it made me feel really disturbed and uncomfortable because of this issue.

    • I dunno! I think I sort of want to build on what you’re saying or take it in a slightly different direction.

      I think it’s about the power dynamics at play. I don’t think it’s much less awful for the prof to have sex with his student than it is for high school teacher to strike up a relationship with a student. I think there is still quite a large gulf between the two, but I think both things are wildly inappropriate and most universities would consider sexual relations between a prof/student misconduct on a pretty serious level. I’m big on consent and I think any time there’s such a HUGE imbalance in power between two people (where one has quite a bit authority over the other) that true consent can’t be obtained. Folks with power or in positions of trust (love that phrase!) need to maintain that role for the sake of continuing their work i.e. not compromising the learning environment, not crossing boundaries with a patients etc.

      On the other hand, our relationships to authority figures (educators, cops, social service providers, businesses/corporations, healthcare providers etc.) can be/are fucked up for a lot of reasons. Age isn’t the only thing, but as the article picks up on, gender, as well. Class, race, dis/ability, immigration status (how can a human being be illegal?!?! Oy.) all play a part in the outcomes of our interactions with authority figures. It’s all the stuff that makes up systemic violence.

      I’m not big on the (in)justice system, but imagine if all the teachers who traumatized their students by being racist/queerphobic/ableist/classist douchebags got charged similarly? Not to make all of this stuff equivalent, of course. Each instance of oppressive behaviour is fucked up and outrageous. It would be a recognition, though, that the stress misogyny, racism, queerphobia, classism affects our ability to learn and develop, as well as other types of abuse.


      • Totally agree with you. I don’t think it’s any better in a college-environment, but there are actually a number of post-secondary institutions that allow prof/student sexual relationships…and I personally know people that have engaged in it. #gagreflex

        I think consent is the biggest thing; if someone is of legal age to consent to the relationship outside of the authoritative realm (i.e. outside of a “school” relationship), then I don’t think it’s fair to criminalize something like that…buuuuuut I still find the whole thing creepy. My biggest problem is the discrepancy between high school vs. college romances. (Look, I’m already romanticizing it…/roll eyes)

        I definitely agree about the injustice aspect. If they are 2 consenting adults (or of legal age), why is there more penalties there than when a teacher verbally and physically abuses a student?

        • Yeah, criminalization is complicated at best, pretty awful at worst. Hence, community accountability > police state.


    • RE: the “Anytime I found an authority figure attractive” thing gets to part of the difficulty here, i think. Because sexual attraction can often be mixed up with power and authority stuff. So it makes sense that attraction, maybe super strong attraction, is often entangled with power.

      That said, I’m totally on board with you’lls point (or maybe A’s point?) that someone having power over another person makes it hard to recognize when consent has actually occurred. Which is why i’m not cool with the prof/ student thing.

      • I agree with all of this comment.

        And I also am shocked and flustered that AS has been meddling in my personal life and discovered my big fat lezzie crush on my high school English teacher. Really it isn’t fair and I’ve been working so hard to keep my unique secret to myself, dammit.

        But enough about me,

        I agree WITH ALL OF THIS. And yeah, um, consent is so difficult when you’re wrapped in the risk, the authority, and the attraction.

        Really complicated stuff.

        People should just stick to learning shit (not related to sex). Like grammar. Like if you’d actually pay attention to grammar, you’d be so turned off. No sexy time. And then shit wouldn’t pop off…

        • I did an independent study in grammar as a senior in high school (Year 12-13 equivalent I think sort of?) because I am a big nerd. I also had a sex dream about my teacher for the independent study. Apparently high school sexuality is too out-of-control for even grammar to quell.

  6. I remember when I was in high school I was in love with my Sociology teacher. We were on an excursion once and she took us all to the movies in Sydney and I sat next to her because I was asked to help Pearl, a blind girl in our class who was on the other side of me. Out of nowhere, she said “Anna, you can be my date for tonight.” And my little 18 year old heart fluttered like a butterfly. I know I had a few moments in high school going, “We’d be perfect together! Society just doesn’t understand!” Ahhh…high school teacher crushes.

  7. Actually I should re-word that. My teacher didn’t say “You can be my date for tonight” in any sort of serious manner, she jokingly said it.

  8. Age-gap lesbian relationships in HW? Ellen and Portia? But they’re older. LiLo and Sam? LiLo and Amanda Scheer-Demme?…MY EYES, MY EYES.

  9. “For starters, it is an uncontested fact that women can and do rape other women.”

    Unfortunately, I’ve heard this contested… but people are idiots.

    • Hear hear. I’m a survivor of W/W rape and for a while it seemed like an impossibility based on the utter lack of resources or information. When I came out about it some friends confided in me too with similar experiences and they’ve also said that the sheer fact that it was a woman meant their stories were cast in doubt.

      • Wow. I’m glad you have the courage to speak up and out about that. Hopefully your courage will inspire others to do the same!

  10. Remember that 26-year-old lesbian ninja who rescued her 15-year-old girlfriend from an ex-gay camp? I posted that story to Facebook and it got a fairly high number of likes and comments. Only one person said something like (in my words) “WOAH there, pedo,” while everybody else was busy discussing what a total bamf she was and also who should play the two in the Tarantino-directed movie.

      • “Ellen Page and Eliza Dushku / Ellen Page and Scarlett Johansson / casting white actors in the roles of Indonesian people is racist” was the closest we came to a consensus.

        • I was going to suggest Shay Mitchell and Michelle Rodriguez (or Lindsay Lohan) but Dushku is too good to pass

        • I just watched “Super” last night and woah Ellen Page takes some effed up roles so I think it would fit well with her BUT ALSO if we could find an Indonesian Ellen Page that would be better. ALSO ALSO I totally had not heard this story before goodness! ALSO ALSO ALSO hahaha I googled “indonesian 26-year-old ex-gay camp 15-year-old” and Autostraddle’s article is the first result SURPRISE

  11. Fun semi-relevant fact: my high school PE teacher was a lesbian. She was also also my Driver’s Ed teacher! Year’s later (a few months ago), I ran into her at the gay bar in my hometown. She’s probably at least 20 years older than me and even that was kinda awkward!

    All in all, I think relations are best avoided with any ‘superiors.’ My current boss (the CEO) has dated 3 girls in the office and it sucks. Just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Having said that, I will admit my field hockey coach was pretty cute… :)

  12. Oy vey, this is really a tough subject. I guess making a verdict on this is difficult for me because I believe it shouldn’t be illegal for a 26-year-old and a 15-year-old to engage in consensual sexual relations. There definitely is a line to draw (like I think 11 or 12 years old is way too young to be having sex with someone over the age of 18) but sometimes that line can be a fuzzy one. Then again being in a student/teacher relationship makes everything infinitely more complicated, resulting in a clusterfuck.

    I guess my point is: there’s no good reason for regulation of sexual conduct unless there is abuse/assault/rape involved.

    • p.s. Autostraddle, thanks very much for the awesome article, but given there’s discussion of sexual assault, could you post a trigger warning for folks? Thanks!

    • Krissy – I think most statutory rape laws take into account the proper age of sexual conduct, so the 11 and 12 year olds are legally protected while the 16+ year olds are deemed old enough to legally consent to any sort of sexual conduct.

      • Also, as the legal age of consent in the UK is 16, a student-teacher thing like this, wouldn’t be classed as statutory rape as outside of the school environment (if she wasn’t her teacher) this would be completely legal.

        • Gotcha. Damn my inadequate article-skimming skills. /doofus

          Even so, regardless of the teacher-student dynamic, I still don’t think the relationship in this case should be illegal (as in, punishable by jail time), even if the teacher had been a man and the student a female. The school can and should take measures against inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, but if it was consensual I don’t see a reason for the courts to get involved. The suspension was probably the best course of action in this case. But I’m open to debate on this point.

          Am I still being a doofus?

          • To my understanding, with regard to post 16 education, student-teacher relationships are frowned upon rather than actually “illegal”.
            However it is up to the school/college to decide how they will deal with such things, usually the teacher is suspended or asked to resign, as the only thing against the relationship is that it is classed as a misuse of trust – or something similar.
            There’s a (male) P.E. teacher at my current school, whom had a relationship with a 2nd Year 6th Former(aged 17-18) and he was suspended for 2 months until she graduated, but no legal action was taken against him – the whole thing is a bit sketchy really.

  13. I remember reading another case like this a few years ago, with a tennis coach and a student she was teaching… Also Faversham is really close to where one of my friends lives, but anyway.
    The whole teacher/pupil relationship squicks me out – when I was about 12, someone spread a rumour I had a crush on one of the teachers. Cue repeated head-desk.

  14. I think anyone in a position of power should be held accountable for their actions when they abuse that power, regardless of gender. That being said, I don’t think that a bit of an age gap is necessarily wrong. I think that as long as two people respect each other and it’s safe/sane/consensual/legal then they should be able to do what they want.

  15. I think it depends on the individuals involved. It’s impossible to generalize about ppl solely based on age. Framing it as too old/not too old? just opens a space for ppl to give responses based on stereotypes. Depends on the individuals.

  16. Sidestepping the seriousness of this to say:

    Yes, seriously, Bloomington: worst hour and a half+ of my life. The worst part was how they made the student (can’t remember her name, blocked it from my memory) look SO YOUNG with her 4th grade hairlackofstyle [mostly the bangs] and choice of clothing.

    So many creepy/not-right things in that movie. And not even any hot lesbian sex to make it the slightest bit worth the watching.

    • Katherine does come off as a predator at the beginning and the student does look rather young. They were both hot, but I never really understood why they ended up together. I mean, I guess I can see why they entered into a sexual relationship. But I’m not sure why they were in a real relationship with feelings and things.

    • ugh, yes! I thought this movie was horrible. I have developed a high tolerance for sub-par acting and silly dialogue to give low budget films a chance, but I really couldn’t get past the creepy mother/daughter dynamic the two had. I know this kind of relationship dynamic does occur in real life and other films (and with straight couples, too, obvs) but I didn’t think they pulled it off at all in this one, it was just odd.

      And don’t get me started on the music…

      • My problem was mostly the lack of plot. I thought it was well acted — I enjoyed both the leads — and I could get over the odd relationship dynamic if something had actually happened. The movie just went nowhere and fizzled out. If it hadn’t been a teacher and a student and had just been two people of the same age, I’m not sure there would even be a way to describe the “plot” of the film. “Two people get together.”

  17. There was a lesbian gym teacher at a high school in my old district who had some sexual relationships with students. But the gym teacher, was like, not hot, so I wasn’t all that interested in it.

    There’s interesting questions here. Is the student really a “victim” is the “predator” is another woman? Are male students wooed by female teachers victims? I guess I’m sexist because, male teacher boinking a student = creepo. Female teacher boinking a student = LUCKY STUDENT.

    This was was year 12. A senior in high school? Almost 18? For fuck’s sake, leave her and the teacher alone. Unless sexual assault happened and the student has complained, I think they need to leave this alone. I’m sure once the parents found out their daughter is a total lezzer, they freaked out. But shit like this will unnecessarily harm the lives of the student and the teacher over something consensual.

    I do agree that people in positions of trust or power over young people and students should NOT be fucking them. But shit happens. I don’t know. It’s complicated issue. But I will just say, I totally think it’s gross when male teachers pull this shit, but sort of hot when attractive female teachers do. Obviously, I am morally bankrupt on this issue.

  18. I’m sort of confused by this. In the cases in Ontario, Oklahoma and New Jersey all of the students were over the age of consent and had said the relationships were consensual. Is there a specific law that prohibits student/teacher relationships that they were charged under? So, if they were not in a student/teacher relationship they wouldn’t have been charged?

    In general any kind of student/teacher thing grosses me out but that may just be because my ex boyfriend is now engaged to one of our teachers from high school. Even though they got together after he’d finished school I still find it really creepy.

    • I don’t know if there are laws — that would probably vary from state to sate and there isn’t any such law in NY — but even if a student is of the age of consent, usually teachers will lose their teaching license. Thus, their entire career is down the tubes and they can’t teach in that state (they could move, I think). I mean, that’s at least NYS education law, I’m sure other states have similar rules.

      • Yeah, I figured as much re losing their teaching licence. It’s the same where I live, but if the student is over the age of consent, and it is consensual, then the teacher wouldn’t be charged with anything because it isn’t actually against the law for a 16 year old to have a relationship with a 45 year old, only against the ethics/rules of the teaching profession. Woah, long sentence. Sorry. I’m just curious about these things because the US legal system confuses me.

  19. While I agree with the arguments set forth in this article, it is also important to note that the comparisons set forth are the UK and Canada’s court rulings against the US. So, while there may be a double standard, perhaps those countries are a bit more liberal in these matters, staying out of the bedroom when it is consensual and whatnot? Just a thought.

  20. to me, if two persons get together and both are above the age of consent, absent other factors, then i say god bless. when there’s a significant age gap, and the younger partner is, well, young, as is the case in the above-mentioned teacher situations, it’ll raise an eyebrow or two, sure, as that’s simply not my bag. but the ick factor alone is not enough for me to challenge an of-age person’s capacity to consent. the law says that can consent and i believe they can consent.

    however (and this is a big however), consent doesn’t happen in a vacuum. teacher/student situations are rightfully punishable because the power disparity between the two, and the fiduciary/caregiver position the teacher occupies in relation to the student, makes the situation inherently coercive — even if a student has the legal capacity to consent. is it possible that some students are able to negotiate such power imbalances? i’m sure, someone, somewhere that that’s possible. but the costs of evaluating whether genuine consent was given in a given situation are too high, and so relationships between students and teachers are, in my opinion, rightfully banned outright, regardless of gender.

  21. Where I go to school we’ve had some prof/student scandals before. None were queer, however I tend to think that regardless of orientation, any type of relationship involving someone who is your superior in your department is a no-no. If you’re in completely separate departments (a english student and a physics instructor), then it’s different. However power (which I know for a lot of people is attractive) as well as a severe imbalance of power is involved when you have a student and their instructor/mentor/department heads. All sorts of problems can arise that everyone has stated above.

    I’m just thankful my two mentors (who are amazing, I seriously lucked out) are men, are well aware of my orientation and respect it. No sexual tension whatsoever, just mutual esteem for one another. :)

  22. You can’t conceive of why anyone over the age of 18 would be attracted to a teenager? Really? Unfortunately, I don’t think sexual attraction just clicks off and on depending on age. I don’t think it’s strange for someone over 18 to be attracted to someone under 18, what’s weird is that over recent years we’ve created this weird sort of sudden boundary with regards to sexuality that assumes that everyone under a certain age is sexually immature and immediately after they achieve that age they are sexually capable.

    Of course there are definite issues concerning people in positions of power and there should be no double standards when it comes to female teachers having affairs with students – if they really want to, they can wait until the student leaves their care.

    • OK, I just read all about Ms. Goddard and I guess I am sexist or totally fine with age-inappropriate relationships because I feel bad. This teacher, a woman who hardly comes across as a sexual predator, pedophile or molester, went to jail for 15 months even though the student admitted she initiated the relationship. According to police, Goddard made it clear that if the student was uncomfortable, they would stop immediately. Goddard and the girl had coffee and went to gay pride in Paris. I don’t know… 15 is young and maybe it is all sorts of inappropriate, but should the teacher be sitting in a jail cell over it? They claimed to love each other. (BTW, I’m not sure when this all went down and if she’s still in jail or not. The both of them did claim at the time the relationship would continue once she’s out of jail and the student is 16, the UK legal age of consent). I do think there are seriously fucked up teacher-student relationships where the student is manipulated and controlled, even if the teacher makes them think they have total free will. But again, maybe it’s gender, maybe I have low moral standards… this doesn’t seem like sending someone to jail over. The teacher is already now a registered sex offender, can never work with minors again and the girl’s life has been turned upside down. That seems to be enough, in my opinion.

      And yes, I am feeling Ms. Goddard’s vests and aviators.

  23. As a total sucker for teachers AND age difference, I have to say that I always thought it was creepy, difficult and imbalanced until I did it.
    In my humble opinion sexual/emotional maturity cannot be tied to any age. I know 30 year olds who get their hearts broken when they follow the person home on the first date and then cry for weeks when that person never calls again.
    The imbalance in power in teacher/student (high school or college) relationships does not have to be that much of a problem. Yes, you can’t get busted (half the fun) and obvs if the relationship is real and noone is milking the other for something other than sweet consentual juices (-sorry, got a lil carried away-) then you’d avoid major grading/graduating scenarios and just wait for a time when you can be together outside of all the teacher/student junk.

  24. Blecch. Lesson is: leaving the definitions of consent and sexual assault up to the legal system is silly.

    Let’s just all create a culture of consent where boundaries, bodies, experiences and identities are respected. Srsly. That cannot, in any way shape or form, be harder than living in this goddamn rape culture.

  25. I agree that there is an inherent fuzziness of the consent issue when a young person is physically mature but in some way under the power of the person they’re involved with (like a teacher, doctor, therapist, etc.), but what does not make sense to me is jail time for sex between two people over the age of consent. I feel like the proper legal ramification for this offense is for the offender to be forced from the situation that allowed this crime to be possible. For instance, doctors getting their licenses revoked for several years or permanently. Making it illegal for a school to hire a teacher convicted of that offense. That just seems more logical and practical to me.

    Also, Intern Bren mentioned something about female offenders behaving like teenagers, and I think this really holds true. Last year, I think, a teacher at my sister’s high school was fired for having a long term “affair” with a male student who was 18, though the involvement began when he was younger. They found diaries in which she rhapsodized about their “love” just like a teenybopping girl. I got the impression that she had very low self esteem and a lack of real mental maturity that led her to find the starry-eyed admiration of a young boy irresistible. I think this quality is probably very common in female offenders where the sex was “consensual.” It might have something to do with how society doesn’t frown on them quite the same way it does for men in the same situation. These women are perceived as creatures to be pitied for how pathetic they are.

    Then there’s also the question of when the situation is perfectly legal, but morally reprehensible. I had a friend in high school with a monster crush on her young, charismatic, male creative writing teacher. She was one of his favorite students. A few years later, he was a professor at the college she was attending (though not teaching her), and they ran into each other. He was also married with a toddler. They instantly struck up a rapidly intensifying friendship that, of course, eventually advanced to the sexual level. I wanted so much to giggle with her about it like any good friend in a more typical situation, but I was so disgusted with him (for for being dishonest with and betraying his wife, which could also affect his child…not to mention taking advantage of my friend’s low self esteem and idolatry) and disappointed in her (for allowing her starvation for love to contribute to the possible destruction of a family, though his contribution was greater). I told her so, in very gentle terms and only the one time, then I shut up. In guilt, she ended it a couple weeks later. I still occasionally reflect on what a selfish scumbag he was for risking harming two women and a little girl who were supposed to be people he cared about. But that becomes strictly a moral/ethical issue. This was no place for the law. And on that note, sometimes I wonder if I would have been ok with it, had he just not been committed monogamously to someone else?

  26. it makes me think of that scene in legally blonde where he would give her what she wanted if she did what he wanted. so, age isn’t an issue. people in power are. at least when you’re under 18 you were protected by your age (not completely, but you could use it to your advantage. i know i did, i dreaded turning 18 because as soon as that happened i couldn’t hide behind being “too young” and i had a bunch of creepy older men that liked to tell me that they “couldn’t wait til i was finally 18”. so i joined the army and never saw them again :) )

    basically, i think power and consent are the main issues. if the younger person wanted it, and they werent being forced/coerced/etc for it, then it’s not as bad. idk. the whole thing is confusing.

Comments are closed.