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#19724 - 11/11/02 04:55 PM Women not abusers of teens??????
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Can you believe this?

Is sex with teens different if adult is a woman?

Eric Zorn

October 31, 2002

To: Mary Schmich

From: Eric Zorn

Were you troubled recently by the news that a 41-year-old female
Glenbard East High School library aide was arrested and charged with having
sexual contact with three male students, two of them 16 and one 17?

The woman's mug shot was all over TV and officials said her "abuse" of
the students was an "outrage." She's facing up to 14 years in prison,
in part because as a library aide she was in "a position of trust,
authority or supervision" over the students, whom DuPage County State's
Atty. Joe Birkett tremblingly referred to as children.

I was troubled. First, with all due respect to high school library
aides, I doubt they have sexually coercive authority over even the most
delinquent borrowers. Second, these "children" are actually young men whom
Birkett and most prosecutors would charge as adults in other

And third, because they are young men, I doubt very much that this
"abuse" will be anything worse for them than a mixed memory--kinda sleazy
on the one hand, kinda cool on the other.

We're obliged to frown at such news. Yet when it broke I was inclined
to agree with WLS-AM's Jay Marvin, the Round Mound of Propound, who
admitted on the air that he dreamed in high school of tawdry encounters
with fetching members of the faculty and speculated that even men publicly
condemning the conduct of the library aide were secretly envious of the
three students.

I don't know about envy, but it does strike me as a drastic
overreaction to charge the woman with felonies and publicly humiliate her husband
and their six kids. Fire her, yes. Fooling around with students isn't
cool. But suspend the students too. They also knew better. And kept it

Yet if the sexes were reversed--a 41-year-old male library aide romping
with female students--my frowns would be genuine. That situation
intuitively seems worse to me for a variety of biological, social, cultural
reasons that I touched on Tuesday in my gender-based analysis of
"Jackass: The Movie."

It's different for boys, Mary, because boys are different. Pretending
otherwise is silly. Agreed?

To: Eric Zorn

From: Mary Schmich

Did you ever see "Summer of '42?" It was my favorite movie in my teens,
the tale of a 15-year-old boy who falls in love and bed with the wife
of a World War II soldier. It's told with tenderness by the boy, now a
man. It never crosses his mind, or the audience's, that the woman is a

I bring it up not to defend adult-teenage sex, but to show that in a
certain light such legally offensive relationships can seem moving and

Even without that rosy recollection, my gut answer to your question
about whether teen-adult affairs are different when the adult is a woman
is: Absolutely.

Men who have sexual relations with teenage girls are predators. Women
who have sexual relations with teenage boys are likelier to be doing
just that--having relations, not pouncing.

But if I let my gut response rule, my brain won't respect me in the
morning. Sex, my brain says, is never as simple as gender.

It's hard to make universally fair rules on sexual behavior. Men aren't
the same as women. Guts aren't the same as brains. And no two people
are alike. So bad conduct that might constitute abuse in one case may be
equal opportunity misbehavior in another.

We news consumers can't know the full moral or emotional dimensions of
the library aide's story. In some cultures, 17-year-olds are apt to be
married with children. And being involved with a 41-year-old isn't
necessarily more harmful to a 17-year-old than being involved with another

But it often is. And we have a law here. The aide broke it--not with
just one boy, but three. She should be punished. The question is, not so
simply, how.

I recently saw a news show in which a judge asked a female teacher on
trial for sex with a male student, "What were you thinking?"

Her tearful, approximate reply: "I was thinking like a 15-year-old."
The library aide's probably guilty of the same.

On TV, the judge gave the teacher probation, a punishment my gut says
suits the library case. To which my brain tuts: If these women were men,
you'd think another creep was just let back on the loose.

Copyright (c) 2002, Chicago Tribune

Improved archives!

Searching archives back to 1985 is cheaper and
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If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

#19725 - 11/11/02 05:26 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Dean, my friend, this is just another example of the archaic attitudes & double standards held in our "advanced & enlightenend" society when it comes to the sexual abuse of males.


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

#19726 - 11/11/02 05:56 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
aint this a minefield ?

Who seduced who ? who made all the moves ? and most importantly did someone mis-use coercion, power, influence or authority ?

Our age of consent in the UK is 16yo, so is the only issue here the student / librarian relationship ?

Another one to make lawyers richer.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#19727 - 11/17/02 07:13 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI

Hey Lloydy,

I was kind of bad mouthing the UK that the age of consent is just 16yo. Then I went to a and I find that 16 is the averqge qge world wide qand that even most of the states here have 16 or 17. Wisconsin is 18, but not many states hqave it at that.

I guess in so far as teens having sex with their girl-friend I can see a younger age, but if it is abuse, it sure seems young to me. But maybe I am getting to be too much of an old fuddy-duddy.


If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

#19728 - 11/19/02 07:02 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
Cement Offline

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 740
Loc: Southern California
I was abused by an adolescent female (my sister) when I was prepubescent. I told a very sensitive, well-meaning family member about what had happened to me thirty-plus years ago and she (yes, SHE) asked me, "Wouldn't you characterize it as childhood experimentation or play?"

I carry the burden of havng been sexually abused as a child. I also carry the stigma that it wasn't really wrong that a girl should do that to a boy, especially a "young" girl doing it to a young boy.

Even among you, my brothers, I feel like the lesser child; after all, I was only abused by a girl. This is what society tells us to think. It is just another hurdle to jump for me.

And let the darkness fear our light.

#19729 - 11/19/02 07:25 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
jaketk Offline

Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 49
Loc: illinois
I know how you feel, considering the way society just blows off the abuse females do. No matter how much people try to explain it, most folks just don't see the amount of pain that's involved. They can't see the betrayal of trust, or the long lasting effects that follow.

Here, I think, is a better place to discuss because the guys here are willing to listen. They're not going to diminish the effects, or downplay the seriousness of the abuse. Elsewhere, that might not hold true.

Don't be too surprised by your family member. A lot of folks would say that, and even the seemingly most caring woman you'd ever find would probably say the same thing. I'm not saying don't take it personal, you should. Just that it's something that's as common as a car or building. You're almost always going to hear it. how you let it effect you is your decision.


#19730 - 11/19/02 08:32 PM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
Sleepy Offline

Registered: 10/08/02
Posts: 288
Loc: Arizona, USA
I have finally found someone who shares my pain and frustrations. I, too, was abused by my sister. Though, I never told a single person about it. I wish I did. As I grew up I always felt fortunate that I had those experiences with her. It was society that made me feel that way. I remember close friends of the family joke how they wished they would've had some older female figure to have sex with. The messages were loud and clear for me that what happened wasn't abuse. But jump forward to now and I, too, certainly suffer the same as everyone else here. Just read my recent posts. I even had a therapist dismiss it as harmless childhood experimentation. It is only very recently that I have identified for what it really was. Abuse, plain and simple. Thanks for posting that. I can relate to every word you wrote.
Take care,

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
--Ursula K. Le Guin

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at all times."
--M. Scott Peck

#19731 - 11/20/02 01:56 AM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Richard Gartner says that sexual betrayal and violation broadens the idea some. Boys get exploied by older girls and women.

As I have read the posts of men abused by women it is clear that they suffer a whole list of special problems and hurts.

The females betrayed your trust, a really sacred trust. What they did was a violation of you, your body and spirit. Liking it does not make it one bit less an exploitation and betrayal. I really hope we all feel our brotherhood of men who were abused, betrayed, violated, exploited, whatever you chose to call it.

There is no such thing as "my abuse wasn't as bad as others!" or, "it isn't quite as bad if the perp is female." These are lies we need to expose for what they are--LIES.

Peace to us all!


If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

#19732 - 11/20/02 04:58 AM Re: Women not abusers of teens??????
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
I too have been abused by actually several women or older girls. Even the men who abused me did so along with my mother, my primary perp.

Recently I've been able to remember other boys telling me how lucky I was to have had "experienced initiation into sex" at my age.
As I remember at the time I laughed it off, and quickly learned not to mention it anymore.

Having learned that from my peers as well as my perps, family & society, no wonder it took me so long to even remember my abuse!

Men this is part of the challenge before us all, this double standard of sexual abuse. As the Dean said its exposing the lies. As SocalJohn said none of us are "lesser children" and we face this challenge as a family, all male survivors.


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck


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