A far too typical headline: “Ex-teacher arrested on more sex charges.” The parade of headlines like this occurs on a near daily basis. Women teachers in their 20s and 30s, mostly, meeting up and having sex with teenage boys. And those are just the ones who get caught.
Here’s another one: Heli Wey, 29, got 200 hours of community service for having sex with two 17-year-olds students. And another: Eleanor Wilson had sex with a 16-year-old in an airplane lavatory on a flight to her native UK from Africa–among other places. Here’s 40 more.
This isn’t a new problem. When I went to high school, we all heard rumors of a particular teacher with a taste for the football team. We all (mostly) wrote it off as just idle rumors or bragging, but in light of what I read today, those rumors all those years ago were probably real.
My high school was particularly noteworthy in the hideous history of teacher sex scandals. Eight years after I graduated, Pamela Smart had two teens from my school, in the town where I grew up, murder her husband. She had a sexual relationship with 15-year-old Billy Flynn.
The New York Times featured a defense of the kangaroo courts our colleges are using to defend against “rape culture,” that David French torpedoed in National Review. French, a lawyer, focused on the legal implications here, but the premise is equally faulty.
This notion of “frat boy” behavior and “rape culture” puts the responsibility for sexual advances squarely on boys and men, when it’s always been plain that “it takes two to tango.” Sixteen-year-old boys don’t have a lot of discretion when it comes to doing what comes all-too-naturally, and girls are no better at that age.
It’s certainly a form of rape when an older woman entices and encourages a teenage boy into a sexual relationship. The act creates emotional bonds and feelings. The teacher-student relationship makes it all the more powerful. These boys are harmed–with the certainty of knowing the left will attack this–arguably more than college girls are harmed when they have second thoughts after a not-so-great hookup that they think they might not have fully consented to (because they were both drunk).
But (female) teachers get away with it far too much, because unless they’re caught in flagrante delicto, or the boy brags a bit too much, or there’s sexting involved that goes viral, it’s just another boy who got what Patrick Dempsey made popular in “Loverboy.” Or a more recent version: “Cougar Town.”
How can we have an intelligent discussion of “rape culture,” or “toxic masculinity,” or how feminist writer Jody Allard considers her own teenage sons “unsafe,” until we realize that sexual predators aren’t confined only to those of us with XY chromosome pairs.
So don’t talk to me about “rape culture” and what we’re going to do about it, and how we need to purge schools of any and all men who like girls, until we take equally drastic measures to educate our boys in the wiley ways of older women preying on their young bodies.