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Latest News...

SESAME Board of Advisors Member, Mary Lou Bensy's study published in Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Abstract:

This study presents results from the first nationwide survey of students with disabilities who were sexually maltreated in American schools.   The web survey results, which were mostly provided by caregivers, parents/guardians and professional advocates, illuminate the types of sexual maltreatment committed, the characteristics of the victims and the abusers, where in the school setting the maltreatment occurred, the manner in which the maltreatment was reported, and the school’s response to the maltreatment.  More than two-thirds of the maltreated students experienced at least one form of contact sexual abuse, and fully 35% of all incidences of maltreatment occurred more than ten times.  The majority of the incidences of maltreatment were committed by school personnel.  The web-based survey was widely distributed electronically over an 8.5 month period in 2010. A total of 352 survey responses were collected from respondents in 41 U.S. states.

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Addie's Story

Thank you, Addie for your bravery and for your thoughtful comments about SESAME:

"I'm so glad [SESAME] exists. It's reassuring to read others' stories and know that I'm not alone even if it feels like I am. It's been helpful in developing more of an understanding of my situation. I am truly concerned thinking about my future children and the kinds of teachers they may have. I absolutely do not want them or any other children going through what I did. It is my hope that S.E.S.A.M.E. will spread more awareness about this growing issue so not only survivors feel comforted but also so others can better understand how disgusting and irresponsible this kind of behavior from teachers is. Schools should be a safe zone, and students should feel comfortable around their teachers. Additionally, parents should not have to worry that a teacher is going to mentally or physically harm their child. It's unfortunate that an organization like S.E.S.A.M.E. even has to exist, but since we live in this world, it's so hugely important that it does."


He was my European history teacher sophomore year of high school. He was very friendly, charming, and smart. He developed close relationships with his students, myself included. I had an intense crush on him since the first day of class. I was fairly obvious about it, but he never told me to tone it down or anything. In fact, he encouraged it. By the end of the year, we had exchanged phone numbers and he texted me sometimes outside of school. During my junior year, he asked me to be his assistant on Tuesdays after school. I stayed until late at night sometimes helping him with his work alone, even after a fellow teacher told him that it was inappropriate that I was alone with him so late. By the end of my junior year, I asked him if he wanted to see a movie with me and he said yes. We went to the movie then afterwards he told me he wanted to have sex with me. I never thought it would go this far. I told him I would think about it and left. I was uneasy for the next couple of weeks, but I didn't want to tell my parents because I didn't want him to get in trouble. I thought all of this was my fault because I was in love with him and flirted with him in the first place. I decided to go along with it, and we had sex a few times during the summer. Eventually the police found out about it and questioned me, but, again, I didn't want him to get in trouble so I didn't admit to anything. Finally, he was forced to quit his teaching position at school, and I could never see him again. 

In the two years since this has occurred I have gone through a variety of emotions. I was utterly depressed at first because I thought I had ruined his life and everything was my fault. I felt that I shouldn't have come onto him in the first place. My peers at school were asserting these claims as well. One even said, "Well, what was he supposed to do?" He was a very well-liked teacher, so I was ostracized and lost all my friends by the end of the year. I found out that he had previously had a relationship with a student, which made me reevaluate what happened and realize that it wasn't my fault. Even though the sex was technically consensual, legally it was not and I now know the reason. While before I thought the laws were silly and arbitrary, I now know that as a 15, 16, and 17-year-old girl, I did not have the experience or foresight to fully understand why it was wrong of him to take advantage of my feelings for him. At the time I trusted him and trusted that what he was doing was okay, since he was my teacher and knew better than me. I also thought it couldn't be that bad because teacher-student relationships were normalized on shows like Pretty Little Liars. I thought that since they were in love, it made it okay.

I still don't feel like I can call myself a victim since I consented. But I do know that he put me in a terrible situation and has put me through a great deal of emotional turmoil. He ruined my final year of high school and has made me a social pariah among my peers. I've moved on to being angry full-time because even though he is no longer a teacher, he is unemployed and has the opportunity to find more young girls like me and manipulate them. In fact, last year I had reason to believe he was with another underage girl, so I contacted the police and admitted to everything, but there was no case, and they couldn't do anything. I'm frustrated that I don't have justice and that he hasn't been punished in any way. I can't do anything to stop him from harming others, and I feel powerless. He also has a daughter, and I have no way of knowing that he doesn't currently or won't in the future take advantage of her as well. I regret being so foolish and thinking it was okay. I wish I knew then what I know now, so I could have done something to stop him instead of passively accepting it and trusting him.


 


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Latest News...

SESAME Board of Advisors Member, Mary Lou Bensy's study published in Journal of Child Sexual Abuse

Abstract:

This study presents results from the first nationwide survey of students with disabilities who were sexually maltreated in American schools.   The web survey results, which were mostly provided by caregivers, parents/guardians and professional advocates, illuminate the types of sexual maltreatment committed, the characteristics of the victims and the abusers, where in the school setting the maltreatment occurred, the manner in which the maltreatment was reported, and the school’s response to the maltreatment.  More than two-thirds of the maltreated students experienced at least one form of contact sexual abuse, and fully 35% of all incidences of maltreatment occurred more than ten times.  The majority of the incidences of maltreatment were committed by school personnel.  The web-based survey was widely distributed electronically over an 8.5 month period in 2010. A total of 352 survey responses were collected from respondents in 41 U.S. states.

View All...

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