I am originally from Union County, New Jersey in the New York Metropolitan Area. I relocated to California shortly after graduating from Rutgers University in 1979. In 1984 I graduated from law school in San Diego, magna cum laude, having earned a Juris Doctor degree. I then settled in Oakland, California where I practiced public entity law for county government for 34 years, representing elected officials, county agencies, departments and social programs. I retired from this rewarding career a couple of years ago. My wife and I have continued to enjoy domestic and international travel, pre-COVID. I enjoy writing Profiles in Passion for my blog site passionsillustrated.com through which I share how people enhance their daily lives through the passionate pursuit of hobbies, interests or activities.
My name is Jason, and I have a plea. A plea to teachers, school administrators, parents and child advocates. Please protect your boys.
I was sexually and emotionally exploited between the ages of 12 and 16 by one of my public middle school teachers. She was 27, witty, funny and beautiful. She was married. I was a child.
It took me 25 years to “wake up” to what had happened to me. Not because it is a matter of “recovered memories”. I have never forgotten what took place, when, where and how, be it in my home city, or in Washington D.C. or in the United Kingdom.
What took me so long? Well, I thought I was lucky. I was having frequent sex with a popular, attractive woman who I knew was coveted by other boys. She was their fantasy but MY reality. She told me that some of the male faculty members (who I knew that some of my female classmates found attractive) were pursuing her. Yet, it was I she chose to be romantic and sexual with. That reality was a lot for me to process emotionally. I ignored it as best I could.
The reality was, I didn’t “score”. I was scored upon. I wasn’t lucky. I was damaged and deeply wounded. It wasn’t until I was 40 that I realized I had been abused. I should have been protected. The teacher’s colleague (who knew what was happening) didn’t protect me. She protected my abuser instead. My parents didn’t protect me. The woman’s husband didn’t protect me. And, most disappointingly, I wasn’t able to protect myself.
I urge you to understand that boys who become the “boy toys” of women schoolteachers pay a very steep emotional and psychological price. No less so than girls or boys who are victimized by male teachers, however delayed in its onset the damage might be.
It was a confusing time. Of course, I had no idea that I was being groomed. She taught me and tutored me in important matters of science, history, culture. She and her husband exposed me to cultural events. She introduced me to cuisine and to the fine arts, things that my working-class parents had not exposed me to. She took me to Washington D.C.’s important memorials and museums. We traveled overseas and I learned as we went. She taught me etiquette and social graces (to this day I always remember to put the toilet seat back down). And, of course, we had sex, lots of it.
She groomed me, all right. I thought we were “in love”. That’s what she called it. Of course I didn’t know what being “in love” meant. I was just a kid, neither emotionally nor physically matured.
What else did she teach me? That marital vows are just words, that lying to my parents was acceptable and necessary. She taught me to keep secrets. She motivated me to lead a double life, one as a “normal” active adolescent, classmate, teammate and friend, and another as a “child man” who thought it perfectly acceptable to see myself as her peer.
She stole my childhood and whatever innocence that I had.
But my urgent plea to you all is this: Teach your administrators, teachers, and parents to protect your boys. Accept the reality that some innocent, wholesome looking female teachers (they are often not the flirtatious, provocative sort) use boys to satisfy their own sexual or emotional needs. Watch for signs of grooming:
- A boy spending an unusual amount of time with a teacher, especially while alone and off school grounds.
- Special treatment granted to the student, such as additional privileges and opportunities even if academic in nature.
- A female teacher who reaches out to the parents, flattering them about how proud they must be of their special son.
- Changes in the boy’s behaviors and preferences. Is he less interested in spending time with his peers, or doing other activities that he once gravitated towards? Is he rather suddenly interested in other matters, particularly those that are more sophisticated than those he had recently given little thought to?
These are all red flags that fluttered around me from the ages of 12 to 16 that no one noticed. A boy victim will likely closely guard the secret (and will not easily expose it even if confronted) out of fear of reprisal to both him and his “teacher”. [I felt an instinctive responsibility to protect “my woman” from exposure, as I did not recognize that I was being used and exploited, abused and damaged.]
These “teachers” school us in secrecy, duplicity, dishonesty and immorality. To say that they are poor role models is a vast understatement. The extent of the harm cannot be overstated. Boy victims can grow into men who carry a heavy weight.
I cannot emphasize this enough: the boy victim thinks that he WANTS this, that it is a good thing worthy of prolonging and protecting. Sadly, this is even celebrated in our culture, through coming of age films and in other forms of popular media. Search YouTube and you will see examples of crass jokes (some by well-known stand-up comedians), rock-and-roll songs/lyrics and comments about how boys who lost their virginity to a sexy teacher are to be envied. One example: South Park (“Teacher Bangs a Boy”, Season 10). [i] It’s no wonder that it is common for an adolescent boy to fantasize about bedding the “hot” teacher.
PLEASE KNOW THIS: the boys who have NOT lived out that fantasy are the lucky ones. Unfortunately I and countless other boys, are not the Lucky Ones. Yes, I was sexually and emotionally exploited by my female schoolteacher. But I am a survivor and an advocate in support of adolescent boys and of the people who ought to be protecting them.
[i] Transcript of South Park Episode, S10:
SCENE: POLICE STATION; [Several policemen and Detective Harris are sitting around a large table eating Chinese Food. Kyle nervously walks in.]
COP #2: You’re so full of crap, Foley.
COP #1: What?! I DID shoot him in the face. TWICE…
[Kyle nervously walks in.]
KYLE: Excuse me… [The cops all keep eating, but look at Kyle.]
KYLE: My name is… BRAD. And… I need to report a crime. ANONYMOUSLY.
DETECTIVE HARRIS: [eating Chinese food] Oh? What’s the crime?
KYLE: Well, I attend South Park Elementary… And… One of the teachers is having sex with a student. [The cops all look at each other and then immediately jump to action, ready to take statements and gather around Kyle to comfort him.]
COPS: OH MY GOD! /THIS IS TERRIBLE! / GET A NAME! / It’s okay, son, Etc. [The cops kind of surround Kyle, making him feel comfortable.]
DETECTIVE HARRIS: You did the right thing telling the police, Brad. Now, who is the teacher -what’s his name?
KYLE: Well, it isn’t a GUY teacher it’s a woman.
COP #1: [quizzically] A woman?
KYLE: Yeah. She’s having sex with a boy. [The cops all look at each other.]
COP #3: Oh. But she’s ugly, right?
KYLE: Well, no, not really. It’s the kindergarten teacher, Miss Stephenson.
DETECTIVE HARRIS: The blonde?
COP #:1 Some young boy is having sex with Miss Stephenson?
COP #:1 NICE.
DETECTIVE HARRIS: Nice…
KYLE: What?! No, you don’t understand-
COP #3: You sure they’ve had sex?
COP #2: Has she performed oral sex on him?
KYLE: I think so.
COP #2: NICE.
COP #1: Nice.
COP #3: Nice…
DETECTIVE HARRIS: So, wait… What’s the crime?
COP #3: The crime is she isn’t doing it with me. [Cops laugh]
KYLE: HEY! He’s totally underage! She’s taking advantage of him!
DETECTIVE HARRIS: You’re right, we’re sorry, this IS serious. We need to track this student down and – give him his luckiest boy in America Medal right away!)
[Cops laugh loudly]
[Kyle leaves in a huff.]