Rite of Passage, or Sexual Abuse?

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Just last week, a 26 year old female middle school teacher was charged criminally for sending nudes to a 14 year old student and also for having sex with him. She’s 26, he’s a minor. This is a clear-cut case of sexual abuse. Or is it?

I heard about this story on Twitter, and aside from reading the story, I also read through the Twitter comments, which is something I love to do. Imagine my surprise when almost all of the comments from the men, except for two (there were well over fifty), were in support of the 14 year old’s “affair” and his ability to “score” with a hot teacher. “Why weren’t the teachers that hot when I was in school?” one man lamented. “Give the kid an A!” another commented. And on and on it went. Virtual high-fives over this young teen having sex with his teacher.

Women, on the other hand, had an entirely different view. Without fail, the females commented that the teacher’s behaviour was disgusting and inappropriate. But the men treated this boy’s sexual relationship with his teacher almost as a rite of passage.

Make no mistake—my above question is insincere. I most definitely see the abuse of power by the teacher as disgusting and a clear-cut case of sexual abuse.

If the teacher had been a man and the victim a 14 year old girl, there would be an outcry. So why is there a double standard because the victim is a boy?

Yes, there are times when teachers and students become romantically involved, and the victim doesn’t see himself or herself as a victim. That doesn’t mean that the minor isn’t a victim. And in this case, the boy told his parents because he wanted to escape the abuse.

He was lured into a sexual relationship by a predator, and was warned that he could never tell. Good for him, he spoke up anyway, and now he’s been able to escape his abuser.

I get that men begin to think about sex at an early age and no doubt fantasize about the beautiful women around them who are fully sexually developed compared to the teenage girls in their lives. I guess for far too many men, the idea of being able to make that fantasy a reality by way of a real adult woman is the dream. They think about sex with a fully mature women, so being able to actually have sex with a grown woman isn’t something that’s seen as abuse—it’s seen as a conquest.

And isn’t that the problem with men when it comes to sex in general, especially when it comes to bad behaviour? When they’re focused on the conquest, women are objectified. A number. A means to getting congratulatory slaps on the back as long as they have more and more conquests to brag about.

The reactions of men to this story is an all too glaring reminder that there’s a double standard in society that teaches boys it’s okay to behave as if sexual conquests are the be all and end all—even when the boy is a victim. I’m not okay with this.

I certainly hope that the young boy in question will be able to get the counseling he needs in order to move forward with a healthy attitude toward sex.

But more so, I hope that the men making their voices heard on Twitter do not represent the majority of men. Sex is wonderful—between consenting adults.

Any sexual activity between an adult and a minor is assault, pure and simple. It’s a sad state of the world when anyone would ever question that!

Kayla Perrin is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning USA Today and Essence best-selling author, with 46 books in print. Perrin is best described as passionate, fearless, motivated and self-driven to excel at whatever she pursues.

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