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  1. #451
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    On the face of it, it doesn't seem like there's anything truly 'untoward' happening. He's simply a charming older man who talks the knickers off of younger women. Whatever you think of that, if he doesn't wield any power - real or imagined - then women (of course) need to be assumed to have agency to make their own decisions.

  2. #452

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    I can offer no advice on this but it does appear to be drifting to the dirty old man side which makes me wonder if there's not something in it. I'm sure he has power, even if it is perceived rather than real.

    When I first worked in Turkey there were lots of rumours flying around about the directors of studies at three of the branches of the language school I worked at, all were single foreign men in their late 50s. There were also rumours about the owner and his right hand man, again single men.

    I thought at the time it was malicious gossip or just gossip but many years later one of them was convicted in the UK of child abuse. He had been working in Cairo for the BC and was apparently removed from the country to avoid a scandal after similar rumours appeared.

    I'm not saying that your man has done anything wrong but there have been a number of high profile cases of ELT teachers who've been convicted of child abuse and have used their position to do so. Often, but not always, using their job as cover to move abroad and teach where child rights are not as strong and where a white western man is able to get away with this kind of abuse due to his position of power.

  3. #453
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    Back when I has skin in the TEFL game, sleeping with students seemed fairly widespread (these were adult learners). Only went there once, got a horrorshow 7 year relationship for my troubles. Serving me right.

    Teachers definitely have a weird power over their students, in terms of young teacher and TEFL “face” liaisons, there still seems some assymetry of power. Enough that it would be sensible for a man of a certain age to keep his dick in his pants.
    Last edited by Lang Spoon; 24-01-2018 at 22:59. Reason: Has/had is a deliberate mistake, honest.

  4. #454

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lang Spoon View Post
    Back when I has skin in the TEFL game, sleeping with students seemed fairly widespread (these were adult learners). Only went there once, got a horrorshow 7 year relationship for my troubles. Serving me right.

    Teachers definitely have a weird power over their students, in terms of young teacher and TEFL “face” liaisons, there still seems some assymetry of power. Enough that it would be sensible for a man of a certain age to keep his dick in his pants.
    This is pretty much my experience too. There's a massive power imbalance exploited by teachers, much of it unconsciously.

  5. #455
    Amor de Cosmos's Avatar
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    I concur. In many ways I'm glad I came to teaching relatively late in life when I had the maturity to deal with said power imbalance.

  6. #456
    Felicity, I guess so's Avatar
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    The teacher-student intimate relationship is now fairly widely treated as unacceptable, UCU has policy against and most colleges and unis in UK would have ‘to be avoided’ policies and discipline anyone not declaring such a relationship.
    Ad hoc’s case is not that tho, unless we ascribe a power imbalance to ‘being a well known speaker’ (maybe we could).
    Ms Felicity used to be a money advice worker and the tales of off-duty flings at their conferences etc were near legendary. So it’s not exactly uncommon ‘awayday’ behaviour, with drink taken and the nostalgia disco fired up.

  7. #457
    Quote Originally Posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post
    I can offer no advice on this but it does appear to be drifting to the dirty old man side which makes me wonder if there's not something in it. I'm sure he has power, even if it is perceived rather than real.
    I'm not a great fan of the "dirty old man" trope, with its image of lecherous men in trenchcoats salivating at young women at bars and on beaches. Why should people of legal age not have inter-generational sex? Isnkt it ageist to attach a stigma to that?

    I also can't see how "perceived" power is a factor, unless he pretends to have the power to exercise authority or influence in exchange for sex. If he is attractive to others because he is quite well-known in his field, or handsome, or eloquent, or charming, he is not really abusing power.

    The case ad hoc describes seems to be one where there are elements of bandwagon-hopping and outrage machine involved, and perhaps a bit of over-scrupulousness. Maybe also a bit of old-fashioned jealousy at a guy who has a sex life some might envy?

    Unless somebody comes forward and explains how the man somehow deprived women of their agency, the case may have the feel of a witchhhunt, or more likely of crying wolf. There's a danger that the unfounded claims of abuse will undermine allegations of genuine cases of abuse, giving rise to a relativism which will serve the abusers.

    At the same time, if some men are going to be collateral damage in the struggle to root out sexist abuses and bring down patriarchy, then that must be so.

  8. #458
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    Quote Originally Posted by jameswba View Post
    I sympathise with this dilemma. Otherwise, can't offer anything other than the observation that the fact that this man 'doesn't wield any power ..... and cannot either offer work to anyone, nor can he deny work to anyone' may not be remotely relevant to the question of whether or not he is guilty of sexual harassment or worse.
    As my research and looking into this subject in depth as a result of this has shown me. Power does not have to be a factor (though it often is)

    Quote Originally Posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post
    I'm not saying that your man has done anything wrong but there have been a number of high profile cases of ELT teachers who've been convicted of child abuse and have used their position to do so. Often, but not always, using their job as cover to move abroad and teach where child rights are not as strong and where a white western man is able to get away with this kind of abuse due to his position of power.
    Want to make it clear that there is no suggestion of anything f that nature at all here. Absolutely not. This is about consenting adults.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antepli Ejderha View Post
    This is pretty much my experience too. There's a massive power imbalance exploited by teachers, much of it unconsciously.
    Yes, I think this is very true. And younger teachers in my experience are quite susceptible to using this - very often unconsciously as you say

    Quote Originally Posted by Felicity, I guess so View Post
    The teacher-student intimate relationship is now fairly widely treated as unacceptable, UCU has policy against and most colleges and unis in UK would have ‘to be avoided’ policies and discipline anyone not declaring such a relationship.
    Ad hoc’s case is not that tho, unless we ascribe a power imbalance to ‘being a well known speaker’ (maybe we could).
    Yes, to the first Every university or institution of HE that I've been involved with in any way has had policies - in some cases going as far as to outright forbid such relationships. I remember once being asked why, and someone in the same conversation made it very clear (with great strength of argument) that whether or not it is two adults, the power dynamic of the teacher student/professor student relationship is such that it needs to be avoided - and if that means making it policy then so be it.

    And yes, I am beginning to think that his status is a factor - it doesn't confer any direct power but for many of the women involved his celebrity is I am sure a factor. The women in question tend to be youngish, non-native speakers who may be attending their first conference, and I am quite sure his fame and status is a big factor. He doesn't end up with women who know him (and his reputation)

    Quote Originally Posted by G-Man View Post
    The case ad hoc describes seems to be one where there are elements of bandwagon-hopping and outrage machine involved, and perhaps a bit of over-scrupulousness. Maybe also a bit of old-fashioned jealousy at a guy who has a sex life some might envy?
    I'm very reluctant to go down that road. His principal accusers at this time are women, not jealous men. I think there are problems with the focus being on this because I think there are worse problems in ELT than this bloke's philandering, but if this is the starting point that actually gets some of the bigger problems out then I guess, as you say later, it might have served a purpose.

    Unless somebody comes forward and explains how the man somehow deprived women of their agency, the case may have the feel of a witchhhunt, or more likely of crying wolf. There's a danger that the unfounded claims of abuse will undermine allegations of genuine cases of abuse, giving rise to a relativism which will serve the abusers.
    Yes the relativisim is what wories me a bit. Yesterday, after I wrote this, he was called in a facebook post (or referred to anyway, no names have yet been used) as the "Harvey Weinstein of ELT", which really sickened me a bit. Weinsten coerced and forced women to have sex with him. This bloke leverages his celebrity (possibly) to pursue consensual sex.

  9. #459
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    Anyway, yesterday I did write a long email to the woman who has started this, outlining my slight disquiet, and concerns that this is going down the wrong path. She sort of allayed those fears slightly, though not entirely. She's made a website for people to submit stories of any sort of sexual abuse or bullying (of any sort), and I think she;s getting overwhelmed a bit sifting through some terrible stories and removing any possible identifiers from them for publication (and she is getting a lot about this bloke it seems). But the stories being posted are mostly about other incidents & other people. Including one absolutely appalling and shocking one from Brazil that I had to read 3 times to get my head around

  10. #460

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    The women in question tend to be youngish, non-native speakers
    This is no surprise at all and after I'd posted I was sure this would come up.

  11. #461

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    Quote Originally Posted by ad hoc View Post
    Anyway, yesterday I did write a long email to the woman who has started this, outlining my slight disquiet, and concerns that this is going down the wrong path. She sort of allayed those fears slightly, though not entirely. She's made a website for people to submit stories of any sort of sexual abuse or bullying (of any sort), and I think she;s getting overwhelmed a bit sifting through some terrible stories and removing any possible identifiers from them for publication (and she is getting a lot about this bloke it seems). But the stories being posted are mostly about other incidents & other people. Including one absolutely appalling and shocking one from Brazil that I had to read 3 times to get my head around
    Even if he's done nothing wrong but perhaps slightly unethical then the other stories getting heard might now turn this into a positive if it helps others and prevents other vulnerable people being exploited.

  12. #462
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-Man View Post
    I'm not a great fan of the "dirty old man" trope, with its image of lecherous men in trenchcoats salivating at young women at bars and on beaches. Why should people of legal age not have inter-generational sex? Isnkt it ageist to attach a stigma to that?
    Relationships where one partner is much younger than the other (especially if under 25 or so) tend to have an inherent power imbalance due to the different levels of maturity and experience, and more often than not the relative social status of the two partners. They're not automatically icky or anything, but consistently seeking out easily impressed partners much younger than oneself doesn't suggest a particularly healthy outlook.

    From ad hoc's description it doesn't sound like this man is doing anything abusive and the Weinstein comparisons seem completely out of line; all the same, if it was my workplace I would be steering well clear of someone like that, because he sounds like a bit of a dick who uses his status to get women into bed, and I wouldn't expect him to treat women as equals in a professional context either even if unconsciously.
    Last edited by Fussbudget; 25-01-2018 at 21:41.

  13. #463
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    I really don't want to be 'that' guy, but

    At the same time, if some men are going to be collateral damage in the struggle to root out sexist abuses and bring down patriarchy, then that must be so.
    cannot be the standard to which all of the necessary attention, should be ... yeah, that one.

    Sorry G. It took me a while to answer, but with one remark, you are... leaving the door open.

    I have an ex, who was hounded for 'this type of thing', and he was only let loose, when I was brought as a witness.

  14. #464
    Yeah, sure, obviously there are cases of injustice which are unfair and horrible. What I meant is that given the choice between fighting abuse and patriarchy, or not fighting abuse and patriarchy because there will be cases of unfairness affecting innocent parties, then the former is the better option.

  15. #465
    At a conference the women in question would have a pretty high standard of English surely? Hardly likely to be pre-int's.

  16. #466
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    Oh absolutely, they will be English teachers.

    But there is privilege in "native speakerism" in TEFL as well as the usual white, male, straight etc privileges.

  17. #467
    Sure that privilege exists, but to the extent that it would cause the women in question to suddenly suspend any sense of judgement as to who they might sleep with? I think that is in itself a problematic assumption.

  18. #468
    I should add I'm not accusing you of making that assumption, but it seems to be an assumption that has been made by some. It was certainly made by a lot of people when I was teaching in China, you'd hear stuff along the lines of 'these guys are taking advantage of these naive Chinese girls' which was pretty patronising, and contained some fairly dodgy thought processes in my view.
    Last edited by ooh aah; 26-01-2018 at 13:37.

  19. #469
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    I agree with you. No I'm not suggesting that at all and hope it doesn't read that way.

  20. #470
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