I have a friend. My friend has been a friend for years, over a decade. We currently work at the same company, though in different departments. My friend told me about the class that I no longer am going to attend, the one where my teacher just sexually assaulted me.
To backtrack, for a moment, I’ve known this teacher and taken classes from him for nearly a decade. Initially, I took them to get certain certifications. Now, I’m well past needing certification. The current class is his own private one, and not affiliated with any group, as the original classes were.
After I got the certification I needed, I stopped taking his classes. My life got busy. I forgot all about what a good teacher he was, and how much I enjoyed his classes.
My friend, Robert, who also works for my company, mentioned taking the classes about a year ago, how helpful they were to him, and suggested that I take them. By happy coincidence, it was by the same teacher I’d so enjoyed learning from, so I signed up. Robert had taken two of his classes over the prior year, and continued to go, enjoying the additional learning.
Robert also became close to another woman in our class, Andrea. It’s not a sexual relationship or a romantic one; they’re kindred souls, they’ve become something like best friends, even though their lives are vastly different. They really care about each other, and get together sometimes once, often twice a week.
Robert came over today to hang out. I knew I had to tell him that I wouldn’t be at class tomorrow, and that I was never coming back. And as he is a very good friend, I decided to tell him why.
He was incredibly upset. He asked me a few clarifying questions – not judgmental, just making sure he understood entirely what I was saying (and he prefaced them by saying “I’m not 100% sure what you just said, do you mind if I can get more clarification? It’s OK if I can’t”). He held my hand, and hugged me, and waited patiently at the times where I had to stop and pull myself together.
He thanked me for telling him, for trusting him with the whole story.
And he asked if I would be OK if he told Andrea. It turns out, our teacher made a pass at her in a cab a few years ago. Robert said that from what she said, it didn’t get nearly as far as it did with me. And she had it out with him, and they reached an understanding where she felt comfortable continuing to go to his class.
So there goes any idea that this was a once-in-a-lifetime mistake on his part. This might even be a habit of his. What a fucking disgusting asshole of a human.
I told Robert that I was fine with him telling Andrea. Honestly, I’m fine with him telling anybody in the class, though I suspect he’ll only tell Andrea, as she’s the only person in the class (other than me) who he’s friends with. He also said that it may well be that Andrea wants to talk to me, and how I’d feel about that.
I said I’d like that. And I like her, so I’d love to hang out with them together sometimes.
I also said that I didn’t think I could talk about it to her yet.
Robert thinks that our teacher will contact me if I don’t show up to class or contact him. That’s fine. More and more, I’m feeling comfortable with telling him to please go fuck himself with something pointed and deadly.
Other than that, I’m not sure what to do. I mean, is there anything to do? I did actually look this guy up online, with various phrases like “sexual harassment”, “sexual assault”, etc. There was nothing of that type of stuff, and very little about him online at all. As I said, he’s rather old, and I get the impression that he’s not much of an internet person.
I talked to Issi about this the other night, and said something along the lines of “It’s not like I can call the police about this. They’d probably laugh.”. The police have a hard enough time managing to be sympathetic to people who’d been penetratively raped or severely sexually battered. They’d probably think I’m wasting their time with my claim, which would boil down to she said/he said.
In the meantime, Robert said he needed to do some serious thinking. He said that when Andrea told him about what happened to her, and that she and the teacher hashed it out, he figured (as she did) that it was a fluke. A random thing. Because, you know, thinking to yourself “hey, I think this person I know might be a serial sexual assaulter” is just not something anybody wants to think.
But given that the one person who I’m friends with in the class knew that the one other person who he is friends with in the class fended this guy off herself…the odds aren’t good here that this is a pattern.
If we polled the women in our class and asked how many the teacher had made a pass at, I wonder how many of them would say that he had?
Most of us (being forgiving people with our own flaws) like to cut others some slack for their mistakes. And sometimes drunk people do dumb things. So I can see why someone would forget and move past a botched sexual advance, especially if it didn’t get as grabby and disgusting as mine was.
If it’s a pattern though…
This really fucking sucks for everybody involved.