Category Archives: Trauma, PTSD, hope, Loss

Hot for Teacher…

If your an adolescent or a young man under the age of 16, there may be a hot teacher at a school near you and if she hits on you, chances are she’s serious. And these women most of them are quite attractive. I mean like some are hot. What’s up with that?
Almost weekly in the paper and/or online news I am reading about another adult female professional teacher who had sex, with teens or a teen at the school where they work.
In a the closet, in a car, In the parking lot, near a bar at her house, at the beach, in the classroom or where she’s going to teach.

Brianne Altice, 34, was arrested in October 2013 after one of her former students approached Utah police and told them that he had a sexual relationship with the English teacher beginning when he was 15 years old. He was able to describe tattoos on the teacher’s body, and told police that they had sex at least seven times, including once in a public park.

Summer Michelle Hansen, 31, was charged in August 2014 with sex crimes involving 5 students at the California high school where she taught special education. Hansen allegedly sent sexually suggestive texts to at least one student, who claimed she had sex with him as a “prize” for doing well in a baseball game.

Diana Leigh Farnell
Diana Leigh Farnell, 28, turned herself in to North Carolina police on Sept. 12 following accusations that she’d had sex with one student at the high school where she taught English.
One student told WCCB that he noticed flirting between Farnell and certain student in his English class

Rachelle Gendron
Rachelle Gendron, 27, was charged with five counts of rape stemming from her alleged affair with a
14-year-old student. The former sexual education teacher allegedly sent the boy photos of herself in “various stages of undress, with breasts and genitals exposed,” according to an indictment.

And of course the most publicized:
Debra Lafave
Plead Guilty Former middle school teacher Debra Lafave found guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Lafave, now 31, whose sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old middle school student made tabloid headlines, avoided prison as part of a plea agreement. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara/FILE)
* all sources Huff Post

Recent psychological discussions in
my community on this topic are circulating that these woman who commit this boundary crossing with young men seem to have very different motives then their male teacher perpetrators. Not that it makes their behavior any less psychologically damaging or inappropriate of course. Many of these woman were said to be “lonely” and were seeking to perhaps care for a male who seemed to have had a turbulent or difficult home life, and the emotional nurturing the teacher offered soon developed into the teacher wanting to feel sexually attracted, or wanted by, the adolescent. So she made a move. Clearly she’s not getting what she needs in her own world so she chooses vulnerable young men most, I’m sure, who have never had a sexual experience. Maybe she thinks that’s a gift she’s giving. It is of course just the opposite. It’s a shining albatross.
Here in the USA all teachers are warned from the time they get into their degree programs to the time they are hired that any physical or sexual relationships with students is prohibited and emotionally destructive to the student. And it is. Very.
Although many teens in our
culture often boast it as ” hot” if you get a hook up with an amazingly pretty teacher, it has lasting damaging effects on the student in more ways then I can begin say. Into adulthood.
I treated a man of 39 who told me his first sexual experience was with an older woman (he was 14 she was 28) who was his summer school teacher.
He carried so much shame and guilt for so many years and not only struggled socially with girls and woman after this, he stated that throughout his life with women he had severe trust and intimacy issues. And he never really did well relating to girls his own age. No shock there folks.
His first sexual experience was with an adult who used her power in her position as a teacher to seduce him for her own needs. This is not mutual or equal, at least not initially. These kids who brag about having sex with a smokin’ teacher are not as well received by their bro peers as you think. One kid videoed the teacher giving him oral sex in a school closet. He then showed his friends and one of them went home to tell his parents he was so effected by it.
Most kids know it’s just not ok. And most do tell. Although it can of course feel appealing as well.

The recent retired Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader who was married to a very wealthy CEO in Baltimore, MD tried to pay the family of the young man she seduced 10 Million dollars to keep the incident off the radar. The family looked out for their son and decided it was not in his emotional best interest to do so. She was just a mom who seemed to be oddly obsessed with her sons friend.
I guess throwing money at a problem doesn’t always make it go away. The now accused rapist Molly Shattuck, 47, once made history as the oldest woman to become an NFL cheerleader. On November 6, 2014 she was indicted in Delaware on nine counts, including two counts of third-degree rape, four counts of unlawful sexual contact and three counts of providing alcohol to minors. She brought underage boys to a beach house, gave them beer and blowjobs and her marriage was over in 3 weeks.
As I always say, everyone has an emotional breaking point. Talk to your kids about boundaries even when they are teens. The more mental health funding that gets cut, the more of this acting out we will see. I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts about this. In particular from other countries.

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How does it feel…REALLY?

To experience such intense private desperation inside that you want to end your life? To be such a tortured soul that not even a pin of light can be hoped for or any chance of ever getting out from under yourself. You become the source of your own darkness and despair. You blame yourself. A hostage to your sadness with no end in sight. How does it feel to be so profoundly depressed?
I suppose It would be like you finding out that you just WON 100 million dollars: OR that you just LOST everything you have. Your reaction would be exactly the same. Complete indifference to either scenario. That’s a glimpse into the sheer flatness of the way you feel and experience the world. Nothing matters anymore. Nothing.
Your compass is broken, you are so swallowed up by your own distorted thoughts and hopeless cognitions that your perception changes. Completely.
Those who suffer from depression try anything for relief. Robin Williams, and so many others famous or not, (who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, or another mood disorder on the spectrum) use alcohol or drugs to self medicate, and try to escape from this feeling. Robin Williams did this with cocaine and alcohol. Then of course a secondary problem of substance abuse or addiction emerges, then you end up with two problems. Depression and substance abuse or addiction. This is called being dually diagnosed, and requires care from those who are trained in both addiction and mental health. One feeds off the other. For those who have never really experienced what it’s like to hit an emotional wall it’s similar to a huge truck going 70 mph striking a piece of glass shattering it into pieces. Then you learn you have glue all those hundreds of shards and broken pieces back together with no tools or template, and your can’t see very well. It’s overwhelming, it can be just too much. In the wake of Robin Williams suicide, by asphyxiation (hanging) watching news coverage, hearing the reactions of fans, journalists and celebrity physicians, it makes me sad how often those who appear so happy and so put together on the outside, can be so very distressed. Depression comes from the INSIDE not the outside. It does not matter how wonderful or fortunate the individual appears to be. I always tell my clients who compare their insides to other people’s outsides that you never really know anyone’s private hell. Its not always the ones who look like crap, or don’t go to work, or have few outlets or friends. Mental illness crosses money lines, class lines, cultural lines, religious and spiritual lines, right wing, left wing, in the center. The homeless guy down the street, the well put together woman in the cubical next to yours at work, or the amazingly gifted and loved comedian and actor, Mr. Robin Williams.
Very often it is a person you never thought was troubled by life at all. Suffering happens deep inside and most often can’t been seen.
There is always hope. There is always a way out, there is a way to get beyond it. For some, they just couldn’t make it or see it.
Be compassionate to the angry bitchy woman who you interact with in the workplace, or your neighbor who can never move her head to make eye contact with you. You just don’t know the private pain people carry around everyday.
Being nice or reaching out with a kind word can make a difference in their life. Even if it’s just a moment. I have heard that those moments can change a persons day or even their faith in humanity. 

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Finding Me

A Decade of Darkness

So named, a recent book written by Michelle Knight. She is one of the three girls who were kidnapped and held hostage in Ohio for a decade by a maniacal and evil man. All three girls, now women, were rescued last year. Castro, the kidnapper, hung himself in his cell before his trial. He was psychiatrically evaluated prior to his suicide and was found to be fully competent to stand trial and not mentally ill. No surprise. 

 Michelle Knight narrated the book. It is an intensely detailed and horrifying story of her kidnapping and subsequent hostage experience. After reading her story, I felt compelled to write something in her honor. This disturbing narrative has taught me the true meaning of the phrase “triumph of the human spirit”. 

No matter how damaged we may feel inside, or when we are victimized and seemingly put through unbearable pain, we all have an immense capacity to live through seemingly impossible things, when love is a motivating factor.  

Reading this book, was difficult, and as someone who has vast experience with a range of clients and work environments, I don’t say that often. It puts life in perspective. It pushes one to examine the notion “why are we here” and moves our emotions way beyond our comfort zone. At the end it’s all about Love. Which is the core of everything that truly matters.

I offer my utmost respect and affection for Michelle Knight. She is a true survivor, not a victim, and for me, a teacher.