Inappropriate relationship between teacher and student: it’s an epidemic nowadays. Lately the news has been plastered with arrests from all over the country. Scandalous text messages, off-campus encounters, accusations swelling from behind classroom doors.
“I know some people are just sick, but him?! I can’t believe it!”
Do we ever really see these things coming? Sometimes, perhaps. I went to high school with a kid whose favorite pastime was talking about and looking at pictures of guns (a mere ten years later such a thing would be raising every flag in the book), but he never entered the hallways wielding one. We can never really be sure who will end up doing what appalling thing. Maybe they never suspect it themselves, until the opportunity is set in front of them, and they are given two choices. What are the odds they choose the right one?
Each of us may be holding on to some dark aspect of ourselves we don’t yet know about. Scary, huh? If the situation ever arises, just be sure to let your morals do the talking (unless you don’t have any, in which case there’s no question of what the choice will be, right?).
Watching these things happen from a distance is one thing, but when it occurs at home base, it’s something entirely different. Unfortunately, my high school has now been added to the list. What’s more, the accused attended school there before becoming a teacher years later. A close friend of mine dated him when we were all innocent teenagers in the drama club. Everything was normal. Do you ever see these things coming?
I graduated in 2006, and have not seen or heard anything of this man since then, besides that he landed a job at the school, met a girl and got married. Now this, via Facebook yesterday afternoon. My jaw hit the floor with a soft thump when I pulled up the article. Regardless of passing time, when you see a familiar name below such a horrific headline, it punches you in the gut. Our high school never had the best reputation to begin with (not sure why, I thought it was great), and now this.
All of that aside, of course these accusations remain – at this time – just that. Accusations. And while I haven’t seen much talk circulating across social media, a friend (via Facebook) mentioned some nasty comments were going around about the young girl representing the other side of the situation. You know, the typical slut-shaming sort of comments.
(not direct quotes):
If she was a willing participant then she wasn’t raped.
She’s probably lying.
Messing with a teacher? What a whore.
Why didn’t she tell anyone sooner?
Do we have to remind everyone that he plays the role of adult here, and she plays the role of child? Regardless of her level of willingness, the ultimate outcome was up to him.
Bullshit. All of it.
That friend said it best:
“This is the last and only thing I’m going to say about what is happening with [him]. I looked up to him as a teacher, mentor and friend my years in [school] and years after. I know it was the same for many of my fellow students in the performing arts department. And what is happening is a hard pill to swallow.
Obviously, there is enough evidence against him that he is being charged with multiple things. And while I pray everything is not true, I must say this.
When anyone finds out or if anyone knows who the girl is that these charges are stemming from, you better leave her the fuck alone.
When someone makes an accusation of being molested/sexually assaulted/etc. you do not call them a liar. You do not call them a slut. You don’t say they were asking for it. You also don’t say they should have spoke up sooner.
You have no right. And anyone who says those things about a girl who could be emotionally hurting right now is a piece of shit.
No one knows what the truth is.
Sometimes good people do bad things. And maybe a teacher we looked up to did something bad.
Don’t make a possible honest victim feel like shit because you just can’t believe it.”
If this victim is not a victim, the flip side is just as horrible. In that case, a man’s reputation is forever ruined over nothing; because even if these things did not happen, the question of “what if” will forever hover over his head. But whatever the truth is, the two people at the center of it all are hurting right now – not to mention their loved ones on the sidelines. (And unless proven otherwise, she is the victim.)
But please, regardless of the outcome, remember this. Shaming someone for coming forward is wrong. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s embarrassing, it’s difficult, it shines an unwanted spotlight directly into their lives. And when you know nothing of what occurred, you have zero right to open your big dumb mouth and spew nonsense.
I know it’s been said a thousand times, but I just wanted to sprinkle a tiny bit more awareness of sexual assault victims on the atmosphere, because it seems we still don’t have enough.
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