Shelley Dufresne and Rachel Respess
If you’re an American who spends an ample amount of time online then unless you’ve been living under a rock this past couple of weeks then you’ve probably read about this case of two adult female high school teachers being arrested for allegedly having sex with a 16 year old male high school student. This story probably wouldn’t even make national headlines these days, criminal cases involving adult female teachers and underage male students has become so prevalent in recent years that we hear about them again and again (and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and…well, you get the point…), but this is news because it involves two teachers at once, which is unusual. And, of course, it plays on the ultimate male fantasy.
Thinking about this case raises so many questions. This includes the usual issue of the double-standard that we place on adult females who sleep with underage boys, and how it’s just not taken as seriously as it is when adult males are accused of sleeping with underage girls. I read several articles about it and you’d see the comments from readers saying the typical things like “Where were teachers like that when I was in High School?!?” and talking about how “lucky” the boy is. Some folks get downright angry at anyone who dares refer to the boy as a “victim.” Joanna Schroeder wrote this excellent piece for the Good Men Project called The Sexual Abuse of Boys Is Not About “Getting Lucky” and We Need to Stop Promoting This Myth
And she is absolutely correct. I agree with everything she wrote. And yet…even I admit that I just don’t have the same visceral reaction when I hear stories like this that I do when the genders are reversed. And I wonder why, exactly? Is it just because I can identify with the boy, and remember what I was like when I was 16 and how I would loved for something like this to happen, especially with women who looked like this? I mean, dang, they even look kinda hot in their mug shots.
And the major difference with me is that I would kept my mouth shut and not told anyone about it, in order to keep it going for as long as possible. Even if the cops arrested them I’d refuse to testify.
But, still, I know on an intellectual level that this is wrong, and that these women should be severely punished. Like I said, reverse the genders and all snickering stops. Imagine if you read that a two male teachers, one 32 and one 24, took a 16 year old female student to one of their homes and spent the rest of the day and night having sex with her. There would be universal condemnation and calling for their heads. Even if the teenage girl had been bragging about it afterwards and said it was consensual, that wouldn’t make a difference.
Heck, switch the genders of the teachers and the student. Imagine if these two women had sex with a 16 year old girl. Or if it had been two adult men having sex with a 16 year old boy. Then it would be OMG! These perverted homosexual teachers are preying on our children! Even if the teenager was openly gay and said it was consensual, and even bragged about the act, that wouldn’t change the reaction. People would just say the teenager was confused and didn’t know what they were doing, and that the teachers took advantage of him or her. So why is that not the case here?
I think it comes down to how we as a society continue to view female sexuality different than male sexuality. We expect teenage boys to be horny and want sex all the time and to enjoy it, so when an adult women has sex with a teenage boy its seen as a good experience for him. But teenage girls, we can’t accept that they can be horny and want and enjoy sex too. Y’know, I remember a few years ago actress Tiffani Thiessen went on the Howard Stern show and said that she lost her virginity at 14 to her 19-year-old boyfriend, whom she continued to date for the next 5 years. Howard was freaking out at the thought and kept saying that if that was one of his daughters he would have had the guy arrested and he asked her if she regretted having sex so young, and he seemed like he couldn’t believe it when she said NO! Like, c’mon, she HAS to regret it deep down, right? She was just a teenager. But I guarantee that if a male actor talked about having sex at 14 with a 19 year old woman Howard would have giving him a high-five. Danny Bonaduce claims he lost his virginity at age 13 to a 23 year old woman, and he seems quite fond of the memory calling it it by far the nicest thing any fan has ever done.
But I remember when I was in High School. Heck, Junior High! There were sexually active girls, who were just as wild as some of the boys. Sex was happening. And I bet there were and are today some of those girls who would have jumped at the chance to have sex with a hot adult man. But if the man did have sex with them, and the girl’s admitted it was consensual, the law and society would say that’s irrelevant, because we say that children and teenagers don’t always make the best decisions and therefor the adult should have been the one to say no. And I agree with that. And the same should apply to adult women in situations like this. We expect adults, especially ones in positions of authority over children, to have better judgement.
Well, I’ll be watching this case. I’m curious to see how this progresses. Both women are currently free on bail and facing a maximum of 17 years in jail if tried and convicted. Let’s see how this plays out…