The creation of "victimhood"


Pardon me for beginning this post by going back to something I am familiar with,
the culture of the early 1960s, as viewed by a precocious high-school student
at a middle-of-America (both geographically and culturally) high school.

Suppose, back then, a high school boy had been, to use the high school vernacular of the time,
banging one of his (female) teachers,
and this was discovered and made reasonably well-known, to the authorities and his peers.
What would have been the reaction?

First, what would have been the objection to this action?
At least in my community, I think it would have been primarily moral.
Sex outside of marriage was and is considered adultery, and thus a sin.
Both parties would have been condemned by many as sinners, breaking God’s law.
(The moral objection)

Beyond the moral issue, there would have been objections from some
that this represented improper fraternization between teacher and student,
and thus might interfere with the educational process,
either of the student involved or other students.
(The educational process objection)

Whatever the basis for the objection was,
there would probably have been some action against both parties.
For the boy, that might have been suspension for a time.
For the female teacher, some administrative punishment would have been probable,
perhaps suspension without pay for a period or something else.
Perhaps she might even have been fired, if the offense seemed grievous enough.

Further, the community would have collectively performed
whatever acts of social punishment, ostracism, some sort of public shaming, whatever,
that members of the community deemed appropriate.

But going beyond the reaction of the adult community to this turn of events, what would have been the reaction of his male peers?
(I have no idea of how the girls of the high school would have viewed this situation.)
Opinion would have been divided.
Some of his classmates would have taken the adult position of condemning him for having committed sin, in particular, of having succumbed to a temptation that, in fact, tempted us all (I think).
On the other hand, some would have been frankly envious of him.
“Wow. He got some. I wonder what it was like. I wonder what he has that I don’t. What a man!”
would have been the reaction of some.
In short, some students would have viewed him as a sinner, some as a stud.

As to law enforcement, criminalizing the conduct of either one,
I really don't recall that as a possibility.
I could be wrong, but such actions didn't seem to be viewed as legal issues.
The only way the law was involved in such cases would be
if the female teacher was married,
then the cuckolded husband could bring a suit charging "alienation of affections".
But against a high school student?
How humiliating.
The husband might divorce the wife,
but putting himself in direct legal competition with a mere boy
would seem gauche.

But now let us leave the 1960s, at least as I remember them.
(Others may have different memories of that period,
and maybe even some examples of what did happen when such situations arose.)
Suppose that same situation were to take place in the 2000s.
We don’t need to wonder what the reaction, at least from the adult world, would be.
A situation very much like that has recently been described in a recent news article:

The English teacher:
She's 37, has a family - and had sex with a student

by Jason Nark
Philadelphia Daily News, 2015-11-10

I want to call your attention in particular to the following paragraph in the article:

"There's a tendency for society to minimize,
a sense of denial that the male victim is actually hurt,"
said Stuart Bassman, a Cincinnati-based therapist
who has worked with victims of sexual assault
and testified in cases involving teachers and students.
"It's not consensual and it's not a relationship."

Notice the use of the word "victim",
and the overall negative view of the act.
He is not objecting to what happened on moral grounds,
nor worrying about the impact it might have had on the educational process.
He could not be more plain:
The young man is "victim" who has been hurt.

Whether you agree or disagree with that point of view,
the immediate point I am trying to make is that
it is very, very profound, in fact radical change
from the way society viewed things (I think) back in the 1960s, if not earlier.
I cannot recall ANYTHING from back then that would have portrayed the teenage male as a victim.
A sinner? Certainly many would have seen him that way.
A homewrecker? If she were married, some would have seen him as such.
But a victim? Again, if anyone can point to some sources before, say 1965,
that would have portrayed him as "victim" who had been "hurt",
I would like to see it.

Men and boys back then, again as I recall,
were not supposed to be "hurt" by sex.
Women might be physically hurt by the sex act,
but at least normal sex was not supposed to hurt men, or boys.

I think what caused this shift in the minds of some was,
first, the increasing demand of feminists to view sex as an act which benefited men but not women
(e.g., calling the man's instrument a "sword" with the woman's vagina as it sheath).
This intensified the punishment of men for sexual acts.
But then the quest for equality meant that women, too, must receive punishment for acts that were punishable for men.

It seems like we now are in "The Age of Victims".


The following boxed item contains two comments to
a 2015-12-21CBS News story
about Texas math teacher Haeli Noelle Wey being charged with impropriety with two of her male students

kevins90sc December 22, 2015 3:3PM
I mean seriously?
Hot woman like that could get any guy she wants.
Just walk down any street in America,
if she sees some stud who looks good to her,
[sidle] up close and just say
"I'm horny can you help?".
But minors are off limits.

Rajah_Djinn December 22, 2015 4:4PM
... is casual sex with strangers or something like prostitution
really a better option than finally being realistic and honest about human sexuality?
When I was in high school a guy's first experience (if they had one)
was either date-rape or going to the big city and buying a prostitute;
usually it was date-rape.
I can't help but think that as a minor I would have been much better off
if I'd known someone who knew what they were doing for my first time -
because I didn't.

This being the age of sex scandals (it would seem),
now comes the Washington Post with a new (to me, anyhow) angle on them:
Sexual violence isn’t just a college problem. It happens in K-12 schools, too.
By Emma Brown
Washington Post, 2016-01-18

[An excerpt from the article:]

Her eighth-grade classmate kept asking her to have sex in the bathroom. Tired of the badgering, she asked a teacher’s aide for help, and the aide outlined a plan: Lure the boy. Meet him in the bathroom. Catch him in the act.

The 14-year-old girl agreed, but the impromptu sting operation went horribly wrong. Inside a bathroom stall at their Alabama middle school, the boy forced himself on her before anyone showed up to stop him. When nurses treated her, they found the kind of injuries caused by rape.

The attack was an extreme example of sexual violence in the nation’s K-12 schools and the alleged failure of educators to protect a girl in their care, something that activists and federal officials say is happening too often across the country.

Sexual assault has become a dominant topic on the nation’s college campuses in recent years, as student activists have spoken out and the Obama administration has pushed for institutional change. But it has largely remained a hidden issue in elementary, middle and high schools, where parents assume their children are supervised and safe.


[Back to comments by the author of this blog:]

Let’s add this up.
On the one hand, if a female teacher has sex with one of her male students,
we are told that “he is a victim of female predation”,
indeed, an evident failure to protect the assaulted student.
But on the other hand, some male students are so interested in having sex with women
they are assaulting their female classmates
(not to mention that the record shows some of them have assaulted their teachers).
Am I off base to think that this shows fairly conclusively that
some male students really want to have sex with women?
And yes, I know that the feminist line that sex is only about power, not lust.
I simply don’t believe that line.
I think that indicates more about the inability of some of those feminists
to get anything positive from sex (a condition we used to call “frigidity”)
than anything else.
(A personal note: my apologies to any women I have left unsatisfied.
In my case, and I suspect in other cases,
men simply were not conditioned to prioritize female sexual satisfaction.)