Male victim of historic teacher-pupil relationship lived in constant fear

The teacher has been struck off for a sexual relationship with a student dating back four decades. Photo / 123RF
The teacher has been struck off for a sexual relationship with a student dating back four decades. Photo / 123RF

A teacher has been struck off the teachers' register for a sexual relationship with a student dating back four decades.

Suppression orders surround the identity of the woman who has since become a prominent educator but her victim has spoken out to highlight the plight of male survivors of sexual abuse by females.

The now 55-year-old man has told Fairfax he was groomed by his then fifth form English teacher from the age of 15. The pair had a relationship which lasted three years and one he claims was not consensual.

He said the woman had befriended his family and manipulated him into the affair.

He then lived with the constant fear of being discovered after the teacher warned him it had to be kept secret.

Some 20 years later the man sought counselling, plagued by mental health issues stemming from a post traumatic stress disorder suffered as a result of the relationship.

"I was aware of the sexual abuse about 20 years ago in 1995 but I wasn't able to deal with it. I tried to normalise things and carry on. It wasn't until early last year that I just couldn't carry on the way I had been carrying on."

He was finally encouraged to speak up about what happened to him when he heard sexual violence survivors' advocate Louise Nicholas speaking about sexual abuse survivors.

"I really remembered everything ... and a lot of memories that occurred to me really flooded back and the enormity of it really struck me," said the man.

He initially went to the police last year with allegations against the teacher but was told they couldn't take the matter further. He then laid a complaint with the Education Council.

The council's Complaints Assessment Committee lay a notice of charge against the teacher but did not find the relationship between the man and the teacher to be abuse because it could not objectively be sustained.

The committee referred the relationship to the Disciplinary Tribunal.

Earlier this month the tribunal found the teacher had engaged in serious misconduct and her registration was cancelled.

In a letter addressed to the man the tribunal outlined concern with "what appears to be a lack of clear recognition or acceptance on the part of the respondent that she transgressed a fundamental professional boundary".

"The tribunal wishes to state clearly that her crossing of that fundamental professional boundary with a current student was completely unacceptable whether assessed by today's standards or those of 1977."

The man hoped by sharing his story other male survivors of historical sexual abuse by women would come forward.

"What I did was normalise the chaos. It's really in this last year that I've dealt with these issues in a full way," he told Fairfax.

He said the pain never went away with the harmful effects lasting into adulthood.

- NZ Herald

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