I found out recently that my Middle School Math Teacher and Abuser had died. For years I repressed most of it, but between his death and the many recent stories of sexual abuse on TV, coupled with reading the literally HUNDREDS of Facebook entries posted by all his “adoring” students, the past has finally returned to haunt me.
When I found the website of Andrea Clemens (“Invisible Target - Breaking the Cycle of Educator Sexual Abuse”) I was stunned to learn that her story mirrored mine in many ways. She has given me the strength to tell my own story here.
My Sixth Grade Math Teacher from Granby, CT, Mr. M., was fun and popular, and everyone loved him. He made learning fun, parents adored him, and he was the subject of many a young girls first crush. I was one of those girls.
By the end of the sixth-grade school year I was already his “special” friend - we shared the same birthday, I would stay after school and talk with him before Girl Scouts began, he gave me a gift for my birthday. When school was over he put his address up on the board because he liked to keep in touch with all his students. I wrote to him immediately and the letters continued the next two years. (I found out later that he had a few girls that he was corresponding with in this same way.). When I was 14, he wrote that he would be “going to school a few days early to prepare for the year” and that I should come in and help him.
I lied to my mother and went. His classroom was the only one with a private entrance so it was easy for him to have someone in the room without anyone else knowing. That day he touched my leg and leaned close, and the grooming began. He told me how cute I was and how nice that I had come to see him. When I left that day, he gave me a big bear hug and kissed the top of my head. At the time, it felt wonderful - the teacher I had a crush on liked me back! The hug gave me a weird feeling, but it was exciting.
After that, those after school “visits” became common. I learned to be a very good liar. My father worked all hours and my mother was partially deaf so deception was easy. He pushed me into touching him sexually and told me that satisfying him would help him to wait for me to be “ready.” I was cautioned many times that people would not understand, especially because he was married and 29. I needed to be careful and not talk about it, and it was our “special secret.”
It continued through high school, and when I turned 17 he took me to his parents’ home while they were away and we had real sex for the first time. During my senior year it escalated into sex at his home, at his parents’ house, in a movie theater, in the back of his car, in the woods and even in the bathroom of his classroom.
It turned into an affair that continued far past high school. I went to a local trade school instead of college so I could stay nearby. When I was 19, I became pregnant. I was terrified. My mother had just died and my father would lose it. When I told Mr. M about it, his only response was that of course I would get an abortion, but” your family will take care of you if you don’t.” No concern about me whatsoever. And he didn’t help me at all - I had to ask my best friend to take me to an OB-GYN for the first time and to drive me to Mt. Sinai Hospital where I had to pay cash and wait in a horrible little room with other girls all day before it was my turn. The Dr. told me I cried the whole time, even while under anesthesia. He did pick me after though - to bring me to his home where that night he proceeded to satisfy himself between my thighs. I feel disgust whenever I think of it.
He got a divorce from his wife when I was 21 and moved me into his apartment. I found out later that a week before he had sex with another former student, a friend of mine.
I lived with him for 7 years. He never talked about marriage and I was not allowed to answer the phone or the door. He drove me to and from work. He flew into jealous rages if he thought I looked at another man. We never went out with people. He did not allow me to drive and seeing any of my friends was a constant battle.
When I was 29 years old I finally got away. I fell in love with a wonderful man at my office and we had an affair. Through him and his understanding and love, I finally left my abuser. For months after I left he wrote me letters begging me to return, threatened suicide and stalked me.
It took me a long time to realize how awful and twisted our relationship was. I would defend him when people tried to tell me. Now that I truly realize who and what he was, it makes me sick to think that I could have done something about it to help other girls and did nothing. It will haunt me the rest of my life. And, in retrospect, there were a few people who knew, including janitorial staff and another teacher who he was friends with. No one said or did anything. I can only hope that my telling my story will help someone else to cope as Andrea’s story has helped me. I only regret that I was too scared to tell it until my abuser was dead.