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hALTERplate
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:08 PM
After 3 months of continual sexual harassment (verbal)?
By a teacher (I'm a high school senior.)

I finally became brave and decided to fight back and talk to school administration when my Mum told me to do it for the girls who might take his classes after me.

I didn't realize it, but it sucked the life out of me. I became an empty shell, I didn't want to listen to my favorite music, I was withdrawn, near the end I was numb, didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, zero concentration, sleeping 3-4 hours a night only, and didn't want to go to the barn (this has been a passion of mine my entire life, and my horse is everything to me).

How do you go back to normal after something like this? I feel like I am waking up from a three-month-long nightmare. I know I'll never get those three months back, but how can I put it behind me asap? I'm super lucky to have a wonderful mother I am very close to, and that my barn friends (all are older than me) are all very strong, supportive women who I view as extended family and role models who have been wonderful to me through this.

Wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom for struggling with feelings of guilt (I know this is ridiculous, but some days I feel like it was the wrong thing to do to say anything) and just feeling lost in general (YAY! I'm out of that situation. But real life has just kept on going without me during those 3 months, and jumping back in is tough!).

Also, the teacher is still at my school. Any practical words of advice for having to be in the same vicinity as your former abuser? (Only through May and then I'm out, and technically he's not supposed to have anything to do with me, but I'm still afraid for whatever reason...)

jenm
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:18 PM
Wow, you poor thing! Good for you for doing the right thing and speaking up. It's too bad they didn't suspend the teacher for the duration of the school year. If it's too difficult to even be at school, I'm sure they would come up with an alternate way for you to participate off site.

It's not ridiculous to feel guilty, but it sounds like you have a good support network.

I would recommend you seek out a professional to help you sort through all of the feelings you have. Perhaps you can even find someone who specializes in working with people such as you.

You WILL get over it and put it behind you, but it may take a while, and that's okay. You sound like a strong, capable young woman and eventually, you will find you once again enjoy doing the activities you enjoy.

Sending you best wishes and a BIG hug!

Long Spot
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:23 PM
I think you need to find a good therapist so you can just get it all out. I can't imagine the pressure of reporting someone the way you did at such a young age (and GOOD for you!!!!) High school is a tough enough social and emotional gauntlet to traverse without that added crapola. It was an incredibly brave thing to do, but it sounds like it triggered some anxiety in you.

Continue to surround yourself with the strong and supportive people in your life. Talk to them. And find a good doc to chat with, and if you feel threatened or scared in anyway, listen to your gut. Often times, those "I don't know why I feel this way" feelings are instinct waving it's hand at you. Instinct isn't some woo-woo thing. It's your subconscious picking up on very small clues. Way better to be safe than sorry.

Above all, be proud of yourself for doing something many adults aren't willing or capable of doing. It was a very strong thing you did, and speaks loudly about your character.

Event4Life
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:37 PM
Your primary care physician should be able to recommend a therapist and programs so you can get professional support.

Surround yourself with people who you trust and care about you at school. Talk to your guidance counselor if you haven't already.

Hang in there - you will get through this!

alittlegray
Mar. 29, 2013, 11:47 PM
Find a therapist to help you deal with the feelings and emotions you have inside.

And OMG I can't believe the predator is still at your school. Grrr...

Blugal
Mar. 30, 2013, 02:47 AM
If for any reason you don't see a therapist... make use of any other avenue that will take your mind off things.

If you want to groom your horse (and not ride), go for it. If you want to only trail ride, go for it. If you want to immerse yourself in preparing for a competition, go for it.

If you want to take a long walk with your dog, or a friend, do it. If you like to listen to or play music, do it. Or maybe you would prefer a girls' movie & fingernail painting night.

Whatever it is - do what is good for YOU, put yourself first and re-discover what is relaxing and joyful for you.

Paige777
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:09 AM
Good for you - what you did took incredible strength and courage, and I'm sure that your mother is proud of you - I'M proud of you!

I agree with getting help from a therapist - a therapist will be able to help you with questions that arise, especially as time passes.

I'd also hope that you remember that by speaking out, you've likely kept someone else from having to endure in the future what you've already gone through.

It sounds like the barn is a great place for you to be right now - even if you have days when you don't feel like going, it's probably important to make yourself just go, even if it's just to do a short grooming session. Chances are you'll be feeling better by the end of the grooming - at least, that's how it's worked for me.

CFFarm
Mar. 30, 2013, 08:48 AM
Stay mad. Don't let this asshat still have control over your feelings. You are the victim here and should be very proud of that you refused to let him take advantage his position. Time will help. As an ex-abused wife I found using my experience to council others helped a lot. Pray for piece of mind. It will come.
And remember:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_indignation

pheasantknoll
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:00 AM
You did the right thing! Like others I am proud of you. Don't lose that now by accepting the "victim" role. It's the real world, people do bad stuff. You did what you needed to do. Now move on and refuse to let your past determine who you are today.

Put one foot in front of the other and determine how YOU are going to spend your days. Life will be very unpleasant for you if you let others determine how you are going to feel.

MyGiantPony
Mar. 30, 2013, 10:43 AM
I'm also SO proud of you - you did something women much older than you are often unable to face.

Agree with the others who said therapy. Journaling may help.

Don't put yourself on a timeline. There is no right answer to "how long". It will take however long it takes, but look at it positively as a time for self awareness and learning more about yourself. Sometimes facing evil is a gift.

hastyreply
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:45 AM
My daughter went through something like this, though it involved her classmates and teachers turned a blind eye to it. After confronting the principal with my DH we removed both daughters from that school. The daughter in question had 14 weeks left until graduation. She would have been second in her class, and even though her grades put her there at the new school because she transfered in at a late date she wasn't acknowledged. She was allowed to continue running track (she'd been state champion in her division the previous year) but the stress of it all, she got sick and lost, badly at regionals. She said watching people pass her who she'd previously beaten with ease was really tough.

BUT, she came home the first day of school and said "I smiled today at school, for the first time all year!" That alone was worth it. She didn't have therapy, maybe it would have been helpful. She was able to walk away from that school and never look back at it. She did have one or two friends that she has kept a casual contact with.

It took time. She looks back on it now, 15 yr later, as something that made her stronger. She is now a teacher and she has a very good insight in to things her students are dealing with and she is able to teach them how to cope with it.

She learned that you can't give people like that the power to ruin or control your life. That power is yours to control.

Belle Beach
Mar. 30, 2013, 12:05 PM
Where are you at and why hasn't this teacher been removed and put under investigation by the law?

This is illegal, and depending on state? Illegal for school system to retain teachers and staff too.

Of course, may not be in US?

The law should have done something about this.

And it is NOT your fault, you did nothing wrong.

He is a predator, a shark in a pool of goldfish. He should never be allowed around any children period.

This happened to my cousin, with worse results, over 35 years ago now, and because of lack of laws? He is still teaching. And no doubt still raping and molesting students.

She lobbied for years to get laws changed to where the perverts couldn't be transferred from school to school to hide them.

Google Amy Hestir Davis law in MO and read about her speech to the legislature.

Sadly? Teacher's Union was the main one fighting her...which doesn't say much for them.

And so sorry you had to deal with this...senior year and years leading up to it should be happy time for you...not dealing with this.

867-5309
Mar. 30, 2013, 03:07 PM
Change schools? Go to the barn. :-) the horses will help. Good luck, and I'm sorry you had to face this.

Peril
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:57 PM
One thing I remarked in your post was your sense of urgency:

'but how can I put it behind me asap?'

I watched a lesson the other day in which a timid adult rider was struggling with feelings of discomfort to the left. 'I thought I was starting to get it but I know I'm all over the place. I think he's about to take off with me. How do I half halt when he's about to run out? I'm definitely on the wrong lead, right?'. From the ground her equitation looked fine. Her school horse requires a crop, and I don't know if he's even capable of jumping a cross rail.

'No Anna,' said her instructor, 'stay where you are. 'You don't want to half-halt, you want to keep your leg on. Porcupine is just stiff to his left and it will never feel as comfortable as it does going to the right'.

You've gone through a lot and it is very confusing and very uncomfortable. That doesn't mean you're not on the right lead. Give yourself a break and permission to feel guilty, bad and all the rest, knowing that your feelings are normal stages of the recovery process. Sometimes doing the right thing just feels bad. Otherwise, everyone would do it all the time!!

Congratulations on taking a difficult step to halt bad behaviour, and for putting your safety and that of others at the forefront. Congratulations, too, on taking the initiative to assemble a community (mother, barn, internet; you've gotten sound advice here to consider adding a therapist to your team) to support your efforts to regain your balance.

ASAP.

Long Spot
Mar. 30, 2013, 07:59 PM
You've gone through a lot and it is very confusing and very uncomfortable. That doesn't mean you're not on the right lead.

What a FABULOUS analogy and great advice.

Bacardi1
Mar. 30, 2013, 09:08 PM
Where are you at and why hasn't this teacher been removed and put under investigation by the law?

This is illegal, and depending on state? Illegal for school system to retain teachers and staff too.

Of course, may not be in US?

The law should have done something about this.

And it is NOT your fault, you did nothing wrong.

He is a predator, a shark in a pool of goldfish. He should never be allowed around any children period.

This happened to my cousin, with worse results, over 35 years ago now, and because of lack of laws? He is still teaching. And no doubt still raping and molesting students.

She lobbied for years to get laws changed to where the perverts couldn't be transferred from school to school to hide them.

Google Amy Hestir Davis law in MO and read about her speech to the legislature.

Sadly? Teacher's Union was the main one fighting her...which doesn't say much for them.

And so sorry you had to deal with this...senior year and years leading up to it should be happy time for you...not dealing with this.

I second this.

Wasn't this teacher put on suspension while this issue was taken to court?

Did you/your parents take this to court?? Were there witnesses?

What's the full story here? Surely there's more to this than your justifiable angst, which should be under a therapist's treatment.

hALTERplate
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:42 PM
First, thank you to all who have replied thus far, I greatly appreciate your support.
Second, I will definitely follow up on adding a therapist to my support network, thank you for suggesting this.
Third, to those who are wondering, I have not been notified of any repercussions for the teacher. Whether this is SOP because of the possible criminal nature of the case or whether the school is going to let this slide, I do not know. I go to a very small, country school, and I know things are not dealt with "by the books" very often. My mother works for a school district in a large and, admittedly rough, city, and so she's been great to have through this because she knows what is supposed to happen (because the district is so large, everything must be done according to procedure), so she's keeping an eye on things.
I'm not even supposed to tell anyone at school what happened, which bothers me: what if someone else is going/has been through this and is too scared to speak out?
I was assured that, "Student safety is a number one priority throughout this process," but he's still teaching, still having students at, "tutoring," (we need a puking face, mods).
He is a charmer (they all seem to be) and so I believe he's managed to talk his way out of a lot, just from what my mother's said about the meetings she's been having with people from the school district.
Thinking about this and knowing that many of the people (women, mostly) on this board have school-aged children: keep an eye on your child, if something doesn't seem right, don't let it slide. And never, EVER, do what so many people told my Mum to do and, "hope it goes away." Was I supposed to wait until the abuse turned physical? HELL no.
But therein lies the problem. How did I let it go on for so long? Because you think, "Maybe if I do this one thing, it will stop. Maybe if I change this one thing about me, it will stop. Maybe... it will stop."
It won't. They just keep picking away at the boundaries you've established until you have none left.
Fourth, to those of you who have posted about personal experiences or the experiences of loved ones, I absolutely wish you all the best, because (unfortunately) I have an idea of how hard it is after.

Thank you! Somehow, part of the healing process is saying, "HEY! This is what happened to me, and I can't change it, but maybe someone has some insight, and maybe if I put this out there, it might not happen to someone else."

War Admiral
Mar. 30, 2013, 11:57 PM
My good Lord, child, you are a HEROINE for speaking up.

My advice would be get to a therapist ASAP, NOT necessarily b/c you sound like you need it (you don't, you sound remarkably level-headed) BUT b/c a skilled therapist will know how to advocate for you, not only w/ the school authorities but also with your mom, who really should have had you out of that school and into a private one long before now IMO. A therapist will also know exactly how to document things for the school board and whatnot.

Your instinct is correct that very small country schools DO let this stuff slide on occasion - yours is not by any means the only story I've heard where the principal and school board refused to do anything to help a young person. Then too, the wheels of law often grind slowly, and that is NOT your fault or anything you should have to continue to deal with.

IMO there is no EARTHLY reason why you should stay at that school if you're uncomfortable for one millisecond. Even if money is a problem, half a semester's private school tuition isn't going to break anybody's bank! Alternatively, ask your therapist, guidance counselor and/or parent(s) if homeschooling would be an option.

God bless and huge hugs. You hang in there.

Heinz 57
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:04 AM
Not that I doubt your mother will let him, but don't let the bastard get away with it.

IMO...if appropriate action is not taken, I'd make as much noise as possible until something IS done. Get the police involved, get the news stations involved.

You sound like a strong girl and you a VERY bright future ahead of you. Don't let this guy get away with stealing one more single second of it from you.

LoriO
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:11 AM
Having dealt with a family member who was sexually abused as a child and never dealt with it to an adult, I agree with everyone on find a good therapist now!!!! A good therapist will be a huge help in coping with what you have been through.

Did you make a police report yet? If the police have not been involved then they need to be brought in this ASAP. Once they are involved it will be harder for the school to sweep it under the rug.

Oh and do NOT keep quiet about this! If you feel comfortable enough talking about it then do it. I can almost guarantee that you are not alone. If he was inappropriate with you, you can bet there is someone else at that school that he has also been out of line with. If they see one person with the courage to come forward then that may be just the nudge they need to come forward too.

Good luck and kudos to you for standing up and doing the right thing!!!

SonnysMom
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:41 AM
Did you make a police report yet? If the police have not been involved then they need to be brought in this ASAP. Once they are involved it will be harder for the school to sweep it under the rug.

Oh and do NOT keep quiet about this! If you feel comfortable enough talking about it then do it. I can almost guarantee that you are not alone. If he was inappropriate with you, you can bet there is someone else at that school that he has also been out of line with. If they see one person with the courage to come forward then that may be just the nudge they need to come forward too.

Good luck and kudos to you for standing up and doing the right thing!!!

I second this. Unless as judge has issued the gag order there is no reason for you to not talk to anybody about it.
Your school is hoping that if you don't talk about it, you will graduate and they can sweep it under the rug and forget all about it. They figure you will graduate and get distracted when you go to college.

From your description of things you are not the first, you are not the only and if the school has their way you will not be the last. By reporting it to the police it may help prevent him from hopping to another school district and starting over somewhere else.
There is absolutely no way that he should be allowed to continue to tutor unless the school has assigned a female monitor to be in the room with him at all times. And she had better have a spine of steel and be a battle ax so she doesn't get caught up by his charm.

You should be proud of yourself. Sexual predators are masters at manipulating people, they are wonderful at profiling individuals that they can manipulate. He obviously underestimated you. You have nothing to be ashamed up. Regretfully healing and getting over what you have gone through will take time. You will have good days and bad days.

Is there anyway you could finish out the year as a home school student or cyber student? Could the school make accommodations for you like they would for a student that suddenly could not finish out the school year due to an accident or major illness-such as send your assignments to your via computer?

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:54 AM
Do the things you used to do that you enjoyed.

Sometimes we have to jump-start ourselves in a backwards sort of way. By doing the things you used to do that gave you comfort you will begin to find that comfort again. As that happens, in a way that time heals, you will distance yourself from this nightmare. It won't be like a switch going on or off. But after 6 months, you should find yourself being more of your old self.

Sadly, you'll never get back all of what you were...these things change us even if it's just a little bit.

I agree that a few sessions with somebody, talking about it, releasing your anger will be a good thing. Don't be afraid to cry, to rant. You were violated, bullied and you should be allowed to LET IT OUT!!!

Alex and Bodie's Mom
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:57 AM
First, I wanted to say how incredibly brave and strong you are to stand up not only to an abuser, but also the system that is protecting and enabling him.

I'm not sure you can put it behind you "asap." Therapy is a good start, but there is also the process of simply reclaiming your life, one bit at a time. Don't let this *&/#@! take away everything you love. Go to the barn. You may not feel like riding, but just let your horse rest his forehead against your chest while you rub his ears. Let him stand in the crossties, half-asleep, while you groom him and talk to him. Take him out grazing. Pull out a favorite CD and listen to it in the car, or make a playlist of your favorite songs on your iPod and listen to them. One bit at a time.

Then: if the police have not ordered you to remain silent due to an ongoing investigation, then DON'T. It's in the best interest of the school and your abuser if you do. Don't make it easy on them. I cannot believe he is still there. Get a restraining order against him. I know they really have no effect, but if you get a good judge, I wonder if you could get one with a long enough reach to make sure you and he cannot be in the same building together? Then, the school will legally have to do something to keep the two of you far apart.

I wish I had more to offer. You sound like an incredible young lady with a bright future. Don't let these people take that from you. Ever.

chai
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:03 PM
halter, good for you for speaking up and protecting yourself. Please do not allow your brain to go to that place that says, "Could I have done something different?" or tries to take any ownership of what happened. People like this man are predators, and silence gives them the power to offend repeatedly. As a teacher and adult, he was very wrong to cross that line with you and you bear no 'blame' in such a situation.

My daughter graduated from high school four years ago. The teacher who was their class leader had been getting boys drunk and taking advantage of them for years until he did it on a class trip and the other boys caught him red handed, about to accost one of their friends who was blackout drunk. It turned out that this had been going on for YEARS because of the silence from humiliated students he had hurt. It was an open secret with all the kids, but no-one did anything until the courageous young man who was assaulted on the class trip spoke out.
I urge you to speak up, get the police involved and get your parents to do something to support you here. If I found out that one of my kids had been sexually assaulted in any way, verbal or physical, I wouldn't rest until they were behind bars.

Please be open to the love and support of your friends at the barn, your family and the healing power of your horses. I agree that it would be beneficial to find a compassionate, good therapist who can help you work through the ordeal you have been through. Wishing you all the best in the future. You are a lovely writer, so please consider journaling or writing about your ordeal...it helps to purge the inner demons.

MunchingonHay
Mar. 31, 2013, 05:48 PM
I agree with all of the above posters but wanted to add my "pat on the back" for standing up for yourself. You did a GREAT, BRAVE thing and you should NEVER have been put in a situation where you have to worry about things like this.

KUDOS to you for being a voice for the voiceless, for I am sure he has done this before. Hopefully there will be an investigation and other people will follow suit. DO NOT LET THIS DROP. Make sure the school does RIGHT by YOU.

hALTERplate
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:41 PM
Thanks again, everyone. It is interesting to hear that I am not bound to stay quiet unless it has been ordered by a judge, that is very valuable information.
No, it has not been taken to court. The case would be difficult to argue as none of the abuse was physical and he always made sure he got me alone (of course) so it is my word against his... although may people have noticed the dramatic shift in my behaviour this week (now that I am out of the situation). I guess that is proof. Also, how/why he managed to gain leverage over me makes his intent fairly obvious when you examine it. (I am a strong student, and my grade suddenly plummeted. To get to uni, I have to pass all my classes, but he was failing me, and never produced the actual point total leading to my failing grade when I asked. He told me I needed to go to tutoring to raise my grade so I could get to university, and yes, you guessed, I was frequently alone with him at tutoring with no one in the same building. This is when he'd do all his slimy talking. All the while there was this undercurrent of me needing to do something extra to get the grade I earned.)
Also, he managed to do some self-incriminating when he was interviewed, although at the same time he revealed that he still wanted to "continue our relationship." This is what worries me. (He managed to find out a scary amount of info about my private life.) Not sure why he is still teaching, obviously he's displaying predatory tendencies and doesn't see anything wrong with actions that fall into pedophile territory.
What is interesting is that none of the people in my class have asked me why I no longer attend. I'd like to read something into that, but then again, I'm not quite sure what that says.
Again, all the support is just amazing, it really helps to hear that I am not wrong to speak up. Every day gets easier.
I ride/work at a show barn, and gearing up for the season and prepping for new imports has helped me stay busy and keep the shadows away. I have also done a little journaling and have found it to be very cathartic. So, yes, lots of your suggestions are helping! Happy Easter, everyone.

SaddleFitterVA
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:16 PM
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/04/01/130401fa_fact_fisher?currentPage=1

read this article, it is about schools sweeping things under rugs...for decades. If nothing else it does a decent job of explaining how abusers set up the situation to enable their mental control of the victim.

Kestrel
Apr. 1, 2013, 02:42 AM
If the school is still allowing him to be on campus, it's time for at the very least, a letter to the entire school board with a cc to your local newspaper and/or tv station. The police may involve themselves without you actually having to file a complaint. OP, stay strong. You were right to speak out, and probably have helped students yet to encounter this creep because he will have to think twice. Hold your head up - you have our support 24/7.