Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's Never the Victim's Fault

Today I'm not going to shy away from a serious topic. If you're easily disturbed or offended, leave. I won't care.

Mr. Hall  was the first male teacher I ever knew. He taught first grade, a nice guy, from what I remember. I didn't have him, but sometimes we'd rotate classes and he'd teach us about clouds or show us how to act out a skit. One year later, he got an award from the governor for excellency in education. The whole school came down to the auditorium to clap as he received it.
Three years later, they found out he was a pedophile. Hall had taken multiple girls into the storage room connected to his class and sexually assaulted them. Finally, one of them worked up the courage to tell.
It was a huge deal. They brought police officers into every single class to talk about safety. We had awareness assemblies. The TV news people swarmed in for the story.
He was 37.
His victims were 6, maybe 7.
Fast forward to last year. Ms. Jarrell taught math and coached the girls' basketball team before they arrested her. There were no assemblies. No special talks from police officers. I found out about it when I googled my school to check my grades a few days later.
She was 22.
Her victim was 17.
I got most of my information through the school grapevine. But I did find a few articles online. As usual, I scrolled down to the comments to see what the readers thought. I knew what I would find. They would be devastated. People would complain about the educational system in general and our school in particular.
That's not what I found.
Here's a comment that got four likes:
The heart wants what the heart wants....PLUS there is a lot of reasonable doubt here AND the 17 year old already stated she was a willing participant who can legally consent to have sex here in Utah. Apparently she did not actually break the law...just the spirit of the law.. She has already lost her job and now needs to move on. There is not enough evidence to convict her of a crime...just a poor decision. Get over it...
There were several other comments from jealous lesbians wondering where these sort of teachers were during their high school years.
Now a judge in Montana has sentenced a former high school teacher to 30 days in jail for rape.
He was 54.
His victim was 14.
When she was alive, anyways. Now she's 17 and dead. Suicide.
You can get six years in jail for killing a cat, because animal cruelty is just wrong.

On Wednesday, Baugh apologized in a letter to the Billings Gazette newspaper, conceding his words were "demeaning of all women." He also said that while a 14-year-old "obviously" cannot consent, "I think that people have in mind that this was some violent, forcible, horrible rape.… It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn't this forcible beat-up rape.
-Judge G. Todd Bough, as quoted in the LA times

He also describes this poor girl as a "troubled youth". That doesn't make her responsible. The victim is never responsible. Not if the age gap is 30 or 40 or 5. A teacher should never use their influence to force a student into a relationship. It's not love. Rape is rape.
Should these girls "move on"?

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