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Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

My Teacher, the Pedophile

July 24, 2013

icky

Today, 25 years after my pedophile teacher abused my friends, he has finally been sentenced for his heinous crimes.

I was only 10 when I was first subjected to a teacher that would later be exposed as an evil pedophile. He taught me for 2 years, and I am relieved to say that I cannot recall being personally abused by him.

But my friends have been devastated by this man. One such victim, who has a daughter in my daughter’s class, has received ongoing therapy for assaults at the hand of this awful excuse of a human being.

Whilst I wasn’t old enough to know what a pedophile was and although I never liked the guy, I wasn’t aware he was abusing my friends until he fled the country in controversial circumstances. I do remember vividly him organising a party as a treat for us, purportedly due to our good behaviour. He arranged for the use of a classmates pool whilst the classmate’s parents were at work. We were so excited. Excursions tended to be of a boring, strictly educational nature. The thought of spending the morning swimming was so new and exciting for all of us.

I remember him getting in the pool with us and playing around in a jovial and almost immature fashion (very different from the type of teacher he was in the classroom). I also remember him instructing us to freely undress together and that we should embrace our naked bodies as it is natural.  To demonstrate he stripped off in front of us in a casual and carefree manner. For some reason I have never felt comfortable displaying my naked body in public and I was a bit bothered by my teacher’s open display of nudity. I remember thinking it was weird for a teacher to be acting in this way. I was one of two children who decided not to undress in front of him and opted for a private spot instead.

When his secret was exposed and he fled the country, I remember my parents reaction. They sat me down in the lounge room with concerned expressions on their faces. They asked me if this teacher had touched me in a certain way or acted towards me in an inappropriate or threatening manner. I answered then, as I do now, that I cannot recall any such treatment. Unfortunately, some of my friends were not so lucky.

The truth is, that we were raised to have total reverence for our teachers and see them as perfect. I fear that I would have let my teacher do as he wanted with me had he tried. I did not know what a pedophile was and in those days parents didn’t discuss personal space and molestation avoidance with their children.

Today my teacher received a minimum sentence of 18 months and, after time already served in custody, he is eligible for parole in just three months! Try breaking that news to his victims who have waited for justice all these years.

The threat of such instances has made it difficult to be a male primary teacher. The constant stories of male teachers who have abused their responsibilities and offended against their students is a reminder to parents to stay alert. It means that we have to be more careful than our female colleagues when it comes to interactions and must avoid being alone in the classroom with a student.

But this is a necessary safeguard. Just think of the poor victims.

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