Female Sexual Predators Are Treated With Double Standards—Here’s How | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Sex crimes against children by public school teachers are on the rise, with one surprising caveat: Many are being committed by female teachers. Sex crimes in schools are shockingly common, with researchers estimating that 10% of K-12 students will experience sexual misconduct by a school employee by the time they graduate from high school. Last year alone, nearly 350 public school educators were arrested for child sex-related crimes, an epidemic affecting nearly every state in the country. Female predators might make up only 10% of sex offenders, but they’re far more active in the school system, accounting for almost a third of crimes against students, and that number is on the rise.

In isolation, the sex abuse of minors is something just about everyone feels comfortable universally condemning. But when the perpetrator is a female, it’s far more common for the grooming of minors to be excused, and many female sexual predators even end up fetishized by the public. Is there really anything distinct about the abuse of minors when it’s done by women? And does the public have a major blind spot when it comes to treating female sexual predators with double standards?

The Smartphone Effect

One of the driving forces behind the rise of sex crimes by teachers is students’ access to smartphones. While experts say that phones make all children more vulnerable than ever to predatory grooming, the combination of in-school contact and out-of-school access makes the teacher-student relationship uniquely dangerous. Decades ago, teachers would have needed to be much more creative to get access to students outside classroom hours, but now their access to students doesn’t end with the school day. Some teachers specifically seek out students who are struggling emotionally or academically, asking them to stay after classes for homework help or even more personal conversations. One Utah teacher began grooming a student who he claimed was suicidal, meeting her in after-school help periods before moving to exchange sexually explicit messages with her. Other victims as young as 13 reported being offered shopping trips alongside sexually explicit exchanges on Facebook Messenger. 

Many teachers rely on messaging apps to contact students outside school hours. In many cases, this involves the use of things like Snapchat, as in the case of one teacher who used the app to send 13-year-old students topless photos and explicit messages, making them promise not to tell parents about the exchanges. Other teachers get even more creative. Olivia Ortz, a music teacher in Pennsylvania, was hired to replace a teacher ousted for institutional sexual assault. Following in his footsteps, she similarly groomed an underage student, hiding their messages by chatting over Spotify, an app many parents don’t even realize has a messaging feature. Ortz used her relationship with the minor to coax her from emotional grooming to sexual abuse, continuing to communicate with the student even after police began to intervene.

Many teachers have begun making online pornography, citing their low pay as justification and claiming it’s none of the school’s business what they do in their free time.

Smartphones also pose risks beyond direct student contact. Many teachers have begun making online pornography, citing their low pay as justification, despite average payouts on sites like OnlyFans hardly being enough to help with a grocery bill. Some teachers defend their decision, saying it’s none of the school’s business what they do in their free time. “The school has no right to tell me what I can and cannot do once I come home at night,” one teacher said after losing her job for making porn. Still, it’s tough to argue that teachers can remain professional once their students have seen that kind of content, which in her case was posted directly to Twitter, though she claimed that “students were never meant to see this.” 

Other teachers have been even more reckless, with one pair filming content in their classrooms that students were eventually found air dropping to one another in the hallways. The teachers lost their jobs and were banned from OnlyFans, which also refunded their subscribers, reversing their windfall. Still, they made it big in the long run by turning to other platforms, and ended up publicly celebrating in the end, saying, “We were able to pay off two big credit cards this morning that we’ve been drowning under for almost a year. … I never thought this day would come. [I’m] incredibly thankful for all my subs on Fansly and Fanvue who made this dream come true.”

Fetishization and “Sweetheart Deals”

One of the most notable differences between female and male sexual predators getting caught is what happens afterward. Both the media and criminal justice system seem poised to treat sex crimes by women as less deserving of severe punishment. Research shows that women receive lighter sentences and fewer months probation than male counterparts when it comes to sex crimes against students. Some of this may be due to the nature of the crime, since women are less likely to have multiple victims and tend to have narrower age gaps with their victims, but the gap in sentencing reveals female privilege when it comes to these “sweetheart deals.” Martin Horn, director of the New York State Sentencing Commission and a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says of the disparity, “There’s a general societal disposition that does continue to treat women as the gentler sex, so typically the threshold for sending women to prison is higher.”

While much of the media tends to totally ignore things like human trafficking, many outlets actually lean into the controversy. It’s not uncommon for crowds to call for the death penalty for male convicts while their female counterparts are fetishized. News articles showing female teachers often receive comments like “lucky kid” and “best teacher in the world.” Barstool Sports even publishes an annual “Sex Scandal Teacher Starting Lineup,” ranking predatory female teachers based on their attractiveness and the unique nature of their crimes. It goes without saying that a similar list for men would never fly.

Some argue that physical power dynamics mean that it’s more likely that offenses by female teachers are “consensual,” but the power differential between teacher and student still exists.

There’s More to Morals Than Consent

Part of the reason it’s harder to recognize female predators as, well, predators is because they often don’t operate the same way men do. While men are more likely to use physical force against victims, female predators are much more likely to spend time grooming minors using emotional tactics, oftentimes appearing to blur the lines between consent and taboo. Much of this instinct comes from how deeply the public has internalized consent as the end-all, be-all of sexual morality. The progressive idea that any sex between consenting parties is fine means that for two people above the age of consent, as some high school students are, it gets harder and harder to see moral wrongs arising from other situational or relational dynamics, especially when there’s no clear physical power over a student.

Never mind the fact that even for hormonal teen boys who may be enthusiastic in the moment, there can still be far-reaching effects on mental health. One Michigan student was groomed by his Spanish teacher through two-hour phone calls and love letters, eventually enlisting his help in covering the classroom windows with black construction paper to obscure the abuse from view. According to the student, the pair had sex over 100 times, something that was only revealed when he tried to drop her class to get away from her. His mental health also spiraled out of control. “My life felt like it was spinning out of control,” he recalled. “I found control in unhealthy practices, self-harming, substance abuse. Things that don’t help. anything but felt like at least I could control that aspect of my life at the time [sic].” The news article covering his story includes a flattering, smiling photo of the teacher, making sure to note that she was “young, popular and attractive.”

Closing Thoughts

Female sexual predators have a whole lot of privilege. They receive lighter sentences and softer treatment by the media and the public alike. But should they? Some argue that physical power dynamics mean that it is more likely that offenses by female teachers are “consensual,” but the power differential between teacher and student still exists, not to mention that the victims are still children. If female children can’t consent, why do we argue male children can? And since when is a violation of consent the only moral ill?

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