Why We Don’t Call It Rape When a Woman is the Perpetrator

On the day I wrote this story, the headline of the number one story on the Washington Post website was this: “Texas teacher who had sex almost daily with 13-year-old student gets 10 years in prison.” Despite the fact that the offense was technically rape, which is why the teacher, Alexandria Vera, is now spending a decade in prison for the crime, why did the Post choose to word its headline in this way? Why not say “Texas teacher who raped 13-year-old student daily gets 10 years in prison?” It’s likely thanks to some reverse sexism: when a male adult teacher has a sexual relationship with a student it’s rape; when a female teacher does the same, it’s considered sex.

Over at the Daily Caller, a more conservative news outlet, the phrase “teacher sex” is a dedicated and popular tag. The same story about this Texan teacher has been covered several times on the site, and always in the same manner. Eric Owens, the education editor, wrote of the case (emphasis mine), “Prosecutors say Vera and the unidentified, 13-year-old student began their courtship with some flirting, a bit of texting and the requisite exchange of digits last year during summer school in 2015.” Just in case readers walked away unclear about how Owens and/or the editors of the Daily Caller feel about such a case, the URL tag on the story is a dead giveaway: “twentysomething-teacher-pleads-guilty-for-traumatizing-teen-with-a-whole-bunch-of-sex/” Other stories on the site, also authored by Owens, cast the same scenario in a joking light. Of one case involving a male student suing his abuser, Owens writes, “Sex romps between [teacher Michelle] Yeh and the student occurred at school, in the teen’s home while his mother was gone and at ‘other locations in the community.” These romps, according to the case, occurred after “the teacher plied him with alcohol, marijuana and Xanax.”

What if the offending teacher is male, and the victim is as well? It appears language like “romp” and “courtship” used to describe the crimes no longer seems appropriate. Of incidents involving Former Speaker Dennis Hastert, the title “child molester” suddenly gains a great deal more use.

In an article on Psychology Today, former police officer Steve Albrecht writes,

“When it comes to sexual behavior with a male student, do female teachers use the same techniques of gradualism, grooming, flirting, and targeting as their male counterparts? Of course. Do female teachers who want sex seek out their targets specifically, looking for vulnerabilities, poor or missing family relationships, early sexual interest, and early physical development via male puberty? Certainly.

Gender is not the issue and same-sex sexual orientation is not the issue; bad boundaries, harmful behavior, unethical conduct, and illegal sex acts with minors are the issues. The double standard as to how we perceive and prosecute these cases needs to stop.”

The case of Alexandria Vera, the Texas teacher subject to the ten-year sentence, made the news in part because of the peculiarities of her case (she became pregnant by the student and called herself his girlfriend). Rarely do teachers, especially female teachers, receive a sentence as harsh as Vera’s. During sentencing the judge explained his reasoning for assigning a decade in prison, instead of the probation Vera was hoping for. As CBS reported, “State District Judge Michael McSpadden said his sentence was intended to send a message and make an example of her because he’s aware of too many similar cases.”

A harsh sentence is one way to send a message to female teachers that preying on male students is a crime, not an affair. We have laws about statutory rape because we understand the science behind developing brains: a thirteen-year old is unable to consent to sex, especially with an adult authority figure, because he or she doesn’t yet have the maturity to do so, regardless of the gender of the victim or the perpetrator.

But the media could also do its job and stop promoting a double standard when it comes to reporting such rape cases. Doing so would make it clear to students, teachers, and parents that sex between teachers and young teens aren’t “romps” but are acts of sexual abuse. While the Washington Post and the Daily Caller sit on opposite sides of an ideological spectrum, they both owe it to their readers, not to mention the victims of these crimes, to treat them with the seriousness they deserve.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

newsletter-signup
  • nmp

    its not rape. the kid is not crying himself to sleep. he was happy about it.

    sorry human nature doesn’t fit the narrative you want it to. this case is a travesty. someone is trying to make some kind of a tiresome point.

    • mary kile

      How do you know? The child was ONLY 13 years old, and he was damned rape, no question or buts about it. I have sons, God protect them. If anything like this had happened to them I would have been devastated. My family would have been devastated. And you can be sure that this child’s life has been devastated.

    • Flicker

      And if it’s a 13-year-old girl, who is infatuated with her smart and kind and witty teacher, it’s okay, too, right? Brains and habits are still forming in both boys and girls at that age. Just because you want something at that age doesn’t mean it’s good for you or that you understand it or its ramifictions.

    • JLPandin

      You have no idea how he feels about it. You are just making an assumption and treating it as fact.

    • John Hubert

      Obviously nmp, Jettboy and Fromafar are still tossing the salad with their adolescent fantasies because they are unable to form meaningful relationships with real women.

  • coilette

    We don’t call it rape when a woman is the perpetrator and a male the victim because rape, by definition, is penile-vaginal penetration. Females do not have the former, and males do not have the latter.

    It is true that some states have corrupted this definition from common law that is hundreds of years old with their own statutory definitions, but that does not change that properly understood, the elements of rape are penetration of a victim’s vagina, however slight, by the penis of the perpetrator.

    • Chance Boudreaux

      Not true, if someone inserts a broom handle, body part, or anything into an orifice of someone else in a sexual manner it is indeed rape if not consensual.

      • David Majors

        But that’s exactly what she didn’t do. She didn’t penetrate him. He penetrated her.
        It’s certainly sexual assault on a minor as he isn’t old enough to give consent. So it’s not like I think the sentence was unjust or anything. I simply don’t call it “rape” because it wasn’t.

        • John Hubert

          It includes “made to penetrate”, which is exactly what she, a person in power, did to the adolescent boy.

    • The definition is changing to include unwanted envelopment, and rightfully so.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Defining “rape!” exclusively by penetration and never by engulfment is sexist by definition.

      Don’t be a sexist pig.

      • entonces_99

        Those are legal rules, not definitions. For example, “suffrage” means “right to vote.” It doesn’t mean “right of males to vote”; that’s why you had to put the work “male” in front of it.

        And, yes, in case you’re asking, “marriage” means a union of man and woman. It’s only by virtue of a legal fiction that that term is used for unions of two men or two women.

        • Micha_Elyi

          They’re definitions. I’m confident you aren’t bewildered by the concept of prison rape. Sometimes they’re also legal rules maintained by hypocrites.

    • John Hubert

      Only the FBI defines it as male penetration of a female. State laws vary based on their level of humanity. In Texas, it’s rape regardless of gender of the perpetrator.

  • Chance Boudreaux

    It’s almost like women have no agency or responsibility for their actions.

    • David Majors

      She’s getting 10 years. Sounds to me like she was held responsible.

      • JLW III

        The exception that proves the rule.

        • Micha_Elyi

          Yup, else Chance B. wouldn’t have written “almost”.

    • John Hubert

      Except for the word “almost”.

  • Flicker

    Yes, the Daily Caller probably gets half its ad revenue from clicks to semi-nude bikini sites. I guess it’s the “right wing’s” homage to tabloid trash. I stopped going to it years ago; and frankly, I can’t trust the editors and writers either.

  • David Majors

    “Why not say “Texas teacher who raped 13-year-old student daily gets 10 years in prison?”
    Because she didn’t rape him?
    1. The woman does not have a penis and therefore can not physically rape anyone in that she couldn’t penetrate him. Please don’t give me the “broom” or other tool argument. I fully recognize the difference but also expect you to.
    2. More a case of sexual assault on a minor. I recognize that she made the 13 year old boy’s daydreams come true but under the law a minor is presumed to lack the maturity to give consent.

    • Flicker

      So would you approve of your son having a nice fling with his male science teacher at 13? A little bit NAMBLA.

      • David Majors

        Oh for christ’s sake- get a life.
        The question was why it isn’t called rape.

        • BillPrep

          and your answers were crap. flicker tries to point that out to you. rape =/= penetration? if rape=penetration, would you be ok with your 13yo boy giving it to his male science teacher? how far does your analogy go?

    • Micha_Elyi

      Everyone who defines “rape!” as penetration but omits engulfment is a sexist by definition.

      Don’t be a sexist pig.

  • Stoic Patriot

    Why don’t we call it rape? Because South Park accurately captures societal sentiments:

    • MarkinGermany

      Yep, if truth be told, when I was in Jr. High, there was one female teacher I prayed would take me to the back of the dug out and rape me. Prayed Hard! Nothin!

      • There are probably girls fantasizing about some hot male teacher, too. But the adult is supposed to be the adult.

  • claymore cluepile

    its more evidence that women still enjoy a culturally protected sexually advantaged safe space in the wider society……its the same thing with pink pussyhats, they are considered appropriate and even cute because they meme female genitalia, a similar gathering of men wearing beach ball sized scroti and phalli clothing based memes in public would labelled rude, gauche, disgusting, threatening, and sexually violent. Same with award shows…a group of men wearing tuxedos accompanied by women with essentially ribbons over their nipples and little else, and decolletage from areola to areola and from chin to pubes are fawned over and cheered by paparrazzi and sycophants….in elite hollywood letters are more covered by postage stamps than are the most admired female entertainers by clothing. These are often the same women that go to political meetings as leaders or speakers and extoll killing their own pregnancies as a virtue, and describe males with sailor-blushing depravity, obscenity, incestity and seemingly endless pointless unfocused anger.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Men wouldn’t have to wear oversized anything, just wearing a codpiece would get a rise out of the female population. Every one of them from the Mrs. Grundys to the feminists would be outraged, Outraged, OUTRAGED!

  • Captain Mann

    It’s not rape; it’s sexual deviancy.

    • m a

      It is rape, it is statutory rape.

    • John Hubert

      It is rape, rape is defined by the law.

  • Mark Hamilton

    It actually is called rape. That’s what the teacher in your column was convicted of and why she is in jail for 10 years.

    As for society, can’t speak for women, but most men just don’t take the idea of woman on man rape very seriously. Many of us had our teacher fantasies as young pubescent males. The crazy thing is that these teacher stories usually have a somewhat attractive and fit teacher preying about the young kids. If they were obese fat old women doing it, the men of American might take this problem a bit more seriously.

    • Dragblacker

      Well then the issue is these men who haven’t grown out of their adolescent fantasies and looked at reality. You’re not kids anymore. Grow up and clean house.

      • Mark Hamilton

        Sorry, but I don’t care that hot teachers are banging male students. You can’t make me care either. When they are caught, I support they be treated equally under the law. Other than that, I’m thinking these poor male students are going to be just fine. There are a lot more serious issues with our high schools than a fake epidemic of female teachers preying on our young boys.

        • Dragblacker

          Enjoy the decline, then.

          • Mark Hamilton

            The decline? I think you might be reading too much into societal attitudes towards rapey female teachers. But if you want to believe we have a crisis on our hands, feel free to hector the rest of us without ceasing. That ought to solve the problem.

          • John Hubert

            Check your knuckles, Mark, they’re bleeding from dragging the ground so much. Try walking upright like a human.

          • Mark Hamilton

            Check your knees, they are all skinned up from you know what. Try not being a pathetic beta male POS.

  • Moshe Ben Avram

    Rape is rape no matter who does it, because rape is nothing but the use of power over someone who can’t defend themselves against it.

    • John Hubert

      Exactly. Rape is about power and control, which is EXACTLY why these older women predate on adolescent boys.

  • It’s wrong and it’s a crime, but it isn’t rape. The double standard is Nature’s double standard.

    • Jeffrey Schroeder

      Nailed it ! Start with why and what’s true and then attempt to understand the level of malice….
      There are no elderly Asian women in the NBA…must be racist, sexist ageist…or maybe they are more likely to be short (a disadvantage), less athletic (female’s are- another disadvantage) and old (slower reflexes, less athletic)….Ahhhh truth.

      So rare when one eschews heuristic simplistic “Knowledge” and performs 3 minutes of objective thinking….

      • What does the NBA have to do with a woman who rapes a teenage boy (or rapes a man, for that matter)?

        • Bwayne

          Reading comprehension. Its great if you have it.

          • I have it, which is how I know it’s an inapt comparison. If someone can’t hack it in the NBA, that’s just how it goes, but any huma n being can be a victim of rape.

    • It’s rape, regardless of gender.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Anyone who defines “rape!” exclusively by penetration and never by engulfment is a sexist by definition.

      Don’t be a sexist pig.

    • John Hubert

      Mark, first, it IS rape; second, you’re a moron.

  • If I have a son someday, and he’s raped by a teacher, she should pray that the police find her before I do.

  • Dragblacker

    The dirty little secret is that these people don’t take women seriously despite all the fanfare about equality and rights and “women can be just like men”. A female assaulting a male is seen as a joke and, for some, is sexually arousing. (“Aw isn’t that cute? How feisty.”) The other way around offends their Victorian sensibilities despite how they hate everything pre-1960.

    • Micha_Elyi

      The dirty little secret is the “female = victim” formula so many people refuse to give up, no matter what the facts are.

      It’s not the female perp who isn’t being taken seriously, it’s the boy the female perp preyed upon. He’s considered disposable, she’s considered too important to imprison.

      • Daniel Freeman

        Duluth model. Look it up.

  • DSmith2

    Well, because the word rape has traditionally meant unwanted penetration; that is, unwanted by the penetratee. But, since we now want to be able to cry RAPE! for all sorts of things that aren’t that, a seeming double standard is set up. But that’s due to this stupid word-smithing. Let’s get real: the young men (“boys” refers to males before puberty, another word-smithing that has been detrimental) who received the attentions of these teachers were, in almost every case, thrilled. I’m not saying that the experience is good for them, even though thrilling. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be illegal. I’m saying stop playing word-games and engaging in outrage escalation. That’s what the left does. See clearly, speak clearly, and stick to the truth. If we don’t have that, we have nothing.

    • m a

      Since we’re talking statutory rape in this case, can’t you say the same thing about girls being thrilled about gaining the attention of older men, being able to manipulate and excite them, to wield that kind of sexual power? The same ‘thrill’ of participating in taboo behavior?

      • DSmith2

        For the most part I don’t believe in statutory rape, certainly not if the ages are relatively close. It may be some sort of misconduct, but it’s not rape. Until relatively recently in human history, puberty or not long thereafter was considered suitable age for marriage. We could argue about what the age of consent should be, but the notion that they are “girls” and “boys” when mid-teens is, I think, ludicrous. They’re young adults, and that is NOT the same thing as a child. I realize that for saying so I am now liable to be burned at the stake, like that precocious old dame Joan of Arc.

        • m a

          Fresh out of matches, and I don’t have a lighter either so you’re safe from me.
          You didn’t answer whether you think the same ‘thrill’ applies to young women as young men.
          Aside from that, I think in the past it was easier for young men/women to make enough income to establish a household and raise their children. There was also the issue of the vast majority of women being stay-at-home moms given the workload in taking care of a house was far more onerous. No microwaves, fridges, vacuums, washing machines etc.
          Nowadays, you have the issue of a young man being taken advantage of by an older women still bearing full responsibility for child support if there’s a pregnancy/child. I don’t think young men in high school are prepared for that, or truly appreciate the risk and impact that momentary thrill can have long-term.
          Does society have an interest in discouraging women from putting them in that position? A kid having to get a job straight out of high school is going to be at a disadvantage for the rest if his life.

        • Micha_Elyi

          But elsewhere you said “traditionally”!

          Better get your story straight, DSmith2.

        • Dee Bee

          Until recently in history we were also walking on all fours. History seems to have left you behind

          • DSmith2

            That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

        • But, this case doesn’t apply. The teacher was significantly older, not a near-peer.

        • Duwayne Manigault

          It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in statutory rape, the fact is that the law EXISTS!!! And you’are not believing in it
          doesn’t invalidate it! It’s the law dude!!!
          It’s almost like you’re giving yourself a permissive free pass
          in your head (because that’s where this exists) for when YOU break the law. You are scary.

          • DSmith2

            You, coming in with this fantasy rant 4 months after the fact, is what is scary. Get help. Dude.

          • Duwayne Manigault

            You replying to it instead of STFU Is even scarier, follow your own advice get help you relativist moralist you.

    • Micha_Elyi

      All definitions of “rape!” that depend on penetration and ignore engulfment are, by definition, sexist.

  • MC227

    The lefty formula that explains their mentally unstable behavior and makes absolutely no sense.
    Black=good, white=bad, Muslim=good, Christian=bad, female=good, male=bad, homo=good, hetero=bad, unemployed welfare recipient=good, hard working white guy=bad.
    When seeing this formula played out in newspapers, TV news, radio, Hollywood, commercials, pro sports, college sports etc. it is everywhere. All lies all the time.

  • theophany

    We don’t call it rape for the same reason we don’t call male infant circumcision “genital mutilation”.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Feminists call that “equality”. The ants must defend their Females Always Have It Worse mound and immediately rebuild it at all costs whenever cruel facts knock it down.

    • Wrong. Male alteration of the genitals is for two reasons:
      – Specific commandment of God – Jews have been doing this for thousands of years. It is NOT meant to diminish pleasure, but to signify membership in the tribe.
      – Hygenic. It is a LOT easier to keep the male genitalia clean and disease-free after the procedure.

      Female alteration is STRICTLY for the purposes of reducing pleasure. The means are:
      – barbaric
      – unsterile
      – unjustified by ANY science

      • Micha_Elyi

        You’re wrong again. And again. And again….

        There’s so much you think you know that just ain’t so.

        As I said earlier, you ants must rebuild your Females Always Have It Worse mound whenever cruel facts knock it down.

        First, the male genital mutilation that Jews practice does “diminish pleasure”. Second, how do Jewesses “signify membership in the tribe”? Oops there go both of your theories. Maybe you should have kept silent after invoking your “Specific commandment of God”. Also, the male genital mutilation practices of Jews can also be characterized as “barbaric, unsterile, and unjustified by ANY science”–even though what Jews traditionally practice on their men and boys is not the only male genital mutilation practice there is and barbaric though it is, not the most horrifically barbaric.

        Your grade: F.

        • John Hubert

          Sorry, but it is YOU who is wrong and your grade is a lifetime of ignorance.

      • John Hubert

        You’ll never convince the wannabe victim queers that male circumcision isn’t a direct assault on their genitals. Straight men who are aware of the risk to themselves and their female partners of not being circumcised do NOT complain of having been circumcised and, like kids today who are receiving the HPV inoculation, are thankful that their parents made the decision despite the additional cost. Only those born in poor and/or medically backwards communities are uncircumcised.