Older women dating young boys
As a society, we tend to view cases of male and female sex offenders differently.We’re so used to hearing about male offenders that our reactions are honed – disgust, outrage and pity for the victim. Normally it’s portrayed as the woman falling in love with the boy so we see it as a strange but romantic affair where age is just an obstacle.We don’t always see her as a sex offender or the boy as a victim.Clinic psychologist Dr Jacquie Hetherton explains: “Women are stereotypically kind and loving and gentle and that doesn’t fit with our view of abusers.I think they frame it in their minds in a way that’s positive.
It seems there’s a story in the news every week about a female teacher or adult having sex with a younger boy, and Findlater thinks the rise is due to technology: “People are increasingly less clear about where professional boundaries should be.They think they can have sex with anyone they want. There’s a narcissism – I can do what I want because I’m the most important person going.” But what about women such as 26-year-old teacher Ruth Vaughan who kissed a student at a leavers’ ball and had a sexual affair with him after he started university?She was banned from teaching for three years, and the relationship was deemed inappropriate even though the student wasn’t underage when they began being sexually active.When we hear about examples in the news, we think, maybe the child misinterpreted it? We think ‘it can’t be that harmful for the child’, but research shows it is for people when they realise what happened. “People tend to go, ‘it can’t be that bad’, and ‘cor...lucky him’, especially if it’s an attractive teacher,” says Dr Hetherton.