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Old 03-23-2012, 09:07 AM   #29
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: What would you do? (Older male teacher with young female student)

Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
17 year olds can legally consent in many states.

I agree that it's inappropriate for an instructor to get involved with a student, but a 40 year old dating a 17 year old is not necessarily a law enforcement matter.

Yeah, there are multiple issues intertwined here.

One is about sexual abuse of a minor.

The other is about age differences.

Sexual abuse of a minor is inexcusable and adults need to be proactive to protect kids. No excuses here. If that's the case then NagaBaba's rather bombastic post has a foundation.

Age differences, well, that's another "can of worms" as they say. I remember having dinner years ago with a friend who was upset about the whole "Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton" affair. As we enjoyed our pasta I came to realize the core of her anger came from seeing Clinton as, in her words, "abusing that poor girl through his power". Which I found unfair to Ms. Lewinsky. I agree that some men use their position/wealth/power as means of attracting women. But... An *adult* women also has free will, also has a brain, and also is allowed to live her life as she see's fit. OF COURSE, if the person in a position of authority/power and is using that authority to actually coerce, that is one thing and is clearly wrong. But if the woman is attracted to the guy because of that authority or perceived power, well, that's her thing. I may end up thinking less of both parties, but they're also both adults. Maybe the older one is taking advantage of their position while the younger one is shallowly attracted to the perceived (or real) power. The issue her is whether both parties are willing participants. In some cases they are (and I've read nothing that indicates that the Lewinsky/Clinton thing was anything other than a young woman willingly having a "relationship" with a powerful man). We may find their motivations crass and shallow, but in both cases it is their life to live.

So WRT Lewinsky I thought my friend's position that she was "abused" by the powerful man somewhat misguided. She was an adult at the time and decided to do what she decided to do. Implying she wasn't able to control herself or was somehow not able to refuse paints a rather insulting view of young women as weak creatures unable to control themselves. Frankly I felt the issue was between Clinton and Lewinsky or Clinton and Clinton. Consenting adults (and I'm leaving aside the discussion of Clinton lying about having the affair and the political firestorm that erupted). So fwiw I never saw any interview with Lewinsky that showed she was coerced in any fashion. Sure, maybe she was attracted to power and his charisma, but again, she is an adult and can make those decisions for herself.

As a tangent, I recently noticed a review of a book that argued that the increased number of single professional women in positions of power and authority is starting to change the "playing field" WRT sexual politics and relationships for some.

Anyway, predatory behavior with minors is never permissible. That is a given. But that's quite different from an older person who has a relationship with a younger adult (as contrasted with *child*). I may think less of the people involved as I may think they're acting on base, crude or shallow instincts, but as adults, well, that's what they get to do.

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