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Thread: Is there a victim?

  1. #1

    Default Is there a victim?

    This convoluted subject is about "Who is the victim/Is there a victim?".

    The link is a YouTube video I came across and it's story portrays a few grey areas in legal areas of age-of-consent vs. areas of authority vs. victimization.

    While the title of the vid is poorly established, it tells a provoking story that comes with concerning details near the end of the clip.

    If you don't care to watch the video here is a short synopsis:

    The reason I am posting this is not because I condone such behavior but this topic opens up a myriad of discussion points that are pertinent to areas of responsibility and the laws that govern balance in prejudication.

    Is this black-and-white or are there circumstancial factors to consider?

  2. #2


    Its pretty black and white. What you have is a teacher, an adult and a person of authority seducing and sleeping with a teenage student.

    He may have been of the age of consent but really that doesn't matter. What matters is that he's 1) a teenager. His brain is still growing and he's not yet able to fully understand the weight of his actions.

    2) she's a teacher, an adult and married with children yet she invited him back to her home knowing full well that this was 1) cheating 2) unethical 3) illegal and 4) could cost her her career.

    Age of consent doesn't really matter here. She was the adult in this situation, she crossed a line by sleeping with a student regardless of whether he was legal or not there is a line there and she crossed it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    We have a double standard here too, if it was a male teacher and female students he would have been castrated, labeled a pedophile and blasted all over the news.

  3. #3


    Since everyone was over 18, I don't see how or why it is a criminal matter. It's an ethical one due to the teacher/student dynamic and possibly civil due to labor contracts but outside of using her power as a teacher to compel sex, which does not appear to have been the case, this is just the application of a badly written law.

  4. #4


    As a question of general law, I agree with Trevor. There's nothing preventing an 18 year old from having sex with someone older, or an older person from seducing an 18 year old. That's the age of consent and that means they can do what they want when it comes to private affairs.

    Separately, we have the question of a teacher student relationship. I didn't watch the video, but I'll accept that in some places there might be criminal laws specifically limiting what teachers and students can do with one another. There are often institutional rules, contractual requirements, and the bounds of common decency and good sense checking people even where the law is lacking.

    Personally, I don't have a huge moral problem with a teacher and an older student having relations once the class is over, even if they fall in love during the class. I think it's a huge problem while the class is ongoing because that sort of relationship makes it impossible to appear impartial as a teacher, even if the individual involved might actually be impartial still. I don't think it should be a criminal matter though, simply one that mars the teacher's career.

  5. #5


    If they're over the somewhat arbitrarily defined age of consent, I don't understand why anyone would have a problem.

    There are victims in basically every case of love gone wrong (and often in the gone right cases)... human relationships are littered with victims... people affected for years or the rest of their lives by the goings on in said relationships... people are in various positions to be taken advantage of... employer/employee... life experience disparities... intellectual disparities... financial disparities...

    As long as the age of consent bit is satisfied, I don't understand why the teacher/student dynamic is any more holy than any of the other various power disparities people will find themselves in.

  6. #6


    Having been a teacher, there is a legal term and I'm forgetting all of it, but it's Custodial responsibility, or something like that. Anyway, it's illegal for a person to have sex, or pressure someone either under them in terms of employment, or under their care and responsibility as a teacher. It's illegal because the teacher holds their grade over the student's head.

    We had a Superintendent of Schools who was fired for having sex with his secretary, because he held her job security in his hands. One could make a case that he coerced her into having sex, because she was afraid to say no. The same thing is true with of age of consent students. Suppose the student wants to get into Princeton or Harvard, and needs all A's, and now the teacher is hitting on him? If he refuses, can she ruin his chances for acceptance by giving him a B? Teachers have a lot of control and power in the classroom. It's a good law.

  7. #7


    It's often illegal to use overt coercion in such cases. The relationships in and of themselves tend to not be illegal.

    e.g. an employer threatening to fire an employee to coerce the employee into a romantic and/or sexual relationship is illegal. A relationship between the two tends to not be illegal. You can make valid arguments on either side of why it should or shouldn't be illegal. (I tend to swing toward the less restrictive side of that.)

    A teacher/student relationship is essentially the same once you've removed the age of consent factor.

    All of those reasons are fine and good assuming intentional and overt coercion, but that's not something people tend to assume about other power disparities so why should we assume it in this case? Again, I don't see why teacher/student is any more important than employee/employer e.g.

  8. #8


    As long as everyone is of the age of consent, then I don't see why the law should be involved.

    She should be fired as you can't go sleeping with your students, it's totally inappropriate, but definitely not arrested since everyone is of age and consented.

  9. #9


    I find it interesting to note that there are two threads in this discussion, one the purely legal "they were over 18 arguments" which on the surface appear valid and the other considering the context.

    As always, context is critical in parsing these kinds of things.

    The context is of a teacher-student or superior/subordinate relationship. In such a context, as has been noted several times, such relationships are considered improper for a variety of very good reasons most of which are covered above.

    The purely legal interpretation in this case is very much secondary to the contextual issues that make this case a problem for the teacher. Ethically she was wrong, and that is the basis of her consequences. Had she waited until the students were no longer under her (pun intended) then she would be fine as there would be no context to provide the framework for wrongdoing.

    By having a romantic relationship while acting as their teacher she crossed a boundary and will face consequences for her choice.

  10. #10


    As has already been stated its not a question of age its one of power and authority. I know just how much trouble i had getting things fixed as a college student in my 30's when a teacher stepped out of line and wouldn't change their approach. A student is far to vulnerable for it to be the least bit acceptable for a teacher to be having relationships with students under them.

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