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Old 03-26-2012, 08:32 AM   #44
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
Re: What would you do? (Older male teacher with young female student)

David Maidment wrote: View Post
This is a huge problem; the leap between 'older man and younger girl' to 'abuse' of some kind. I know you're not necessarily implying it, but we could infer abuse from any relationship that we don't approve of; I don't see any relevance for that being raised here.
I wasn't making the leap. If it wasn't crystal clear, I was pointing out that IF you suspect abuse, then you may feel you should do something, whether the victim is of the age of consent or not.

David Maidment wrote: View Post
The OP has told us both that nothing illegal transpired and that they are now still in an enduring (and from his disgusted description of the couple, happy) relationship. He has said nothing whatsoever to suggest that the sensei in question was ever anything other than decent.
Well, see, legal and decent are two different things, and clearly he didn't think it was decent. Whether you and I would agree is kind of beside the point.

David Maidment wrote: View Post
And with regards to age of consent, Jesus... I don't even want to get started on that one. I agree; young people can't make informed decisions, but then most people don't really reach the level where they can until they're well into their thirties, at the very least. But it's also true that, when a child makes a decision, they know damned well what they're doing (if not being able to realise the full repercussions of their actions) -- we're far too comfortable as a society to strip children of any responsibility for their actions. So that issue is probably best left untouched, if no 'age of consent' laws were broken.
I'm not in favor of treating adolescents as infants until they reach the magic age of majority, but there is also growing evidence of developmental (physiological?) differences that make younger people less capable of making a reasoned judgment -- not due to lack of information or even the means to process it, but due to a stronger (or perhaps less governed) tendency towards impulsiveness.

I think also that we in the United States have to struggle against a strong identification of impulsive behaviors as gratifying behaviors. It's been a strong part of product marketing for a long time, the sort of "hey, what the hell, if it feels good do it" approach, creating positive associations with impulsive behaviors: they're fun, they're how we reward ourselves, they indicate a free and adventurous and spontaneous character, etc. We don't have a culture that encourages the development of restraint (not to be confused with repressiveness). People like to dismiss our age of consent laws as a puritanical holdover, but I wonder if it's not also a recognition that we don't foster self-governing characters as much as we could/should.

David Maidment wrote: View Post
What bothers me is that he has went beyond doing this, to say "My older daughter now entering her teenage asked me when she could join Aikido; my face fell. This is killing me; I love the art, but the culture that accepts and enables this repels me."

Why has no one taken issue with this? I could be wrong (and please correct me if I am), but it does not seem the case that he has considered finding a dojo for his daughter where people that he approves of teach, but rather that he's associating what he considers predatory and somehow-immoral behaviour with the Aikido community as a whole.
Well, what's the point of taking issue? Anytime someone starts painting with that broad a brush, it's clearly not rational, so why would you bother to address it with a rational argument? "All suchandsuch are thusandso" is so obviously flawed, why even bother to address it? It's not like the person who made the statement is going to say, "Hmm, you know, you're right! The aikido community is NOT immoral and predatory as a whole!"
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