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Encyclopedia > Academic seduction

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Violence refers to acts of aggression and abuse which causes or intends to cause criminal injury or harm to persons, and (to a lesser extent) animals and property. ... Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to act by employing threat of harm (usually physical force, sometimes other forms of harm). ... Political power is a type of power held by a person or group in a society. ... Look up Persecution in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Physical abuse
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Domestic violence Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or harm. ... Torture is any act by which severe pain, whether physical or psychological, is intentionally inflicted on a person as a means of intimidation, deterrence, revenge, punishment, or information gathering. ... Child abuse is the physical or psychological maltreatment of a child by an adult often synonymous with the term child maltreatment or the term child abuse and neglect. ... Domestic violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate or harm the other. ...

Psychological abuse
Humiliation / Intimidation
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Stalking / Cyberstalking
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Coercive persuasion
Psychological abuse refers to the humiliation or intimidation of another person, but is also used to refer to the long-term effects of emotional shock. ... Humiliation is literally the act of being made humble, or reduced in standing or prestige. ... Intimidation is the act of making others do what one wants through fear. ... Mobbing is a modern term for systematic bullying, harassment, or psychological terror, especially in schools and workplaces, whereby one person is ganged up on and stigmatized by peers and/or superiors for reasons that are not genuinely or justifiably known to most of those who are mobbing the victim. ... A bully is an individual who tends to torment others, either through verbal harassment or physical assaults, or through more subtle methods of coercion. ... Hate speech is a controversial term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a group of people based on their race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. ... Meaning To control or operate upon (a person or group) by unfair means to ones own advantage. ... For other uses, see Stalking (disambiguation). ... Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone which may be a computer crime or harassment. ... Relational aggression is a term used to describe psychological (social/emotional) aggression between people in relationships. ... Parental Alienation is any behaviour by a parents, a childs mother or father, whether conscious or unconscious, that could create alienation in the relationship between a child and the other parent. ... A psychological punishment is a type of punishment that relies not or only in secondary order on the actual harm inflicted (such as corporal punishments or fines) but on psychological effects, mainly emotions, such as fear, shame and guilt. ... Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ... Shunning is the act of deliberately avoiding association with, and habitually keeping away from an individual or group. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Brainwashing. ...

Sexual abuse
Incest / Child sexual abuse
Rape / Sexual harassment
Academic sexual abuse This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Incest is sexual activity between close family members. ... Child sexual abuse is commonly defined in contemporary western culture as any sexual activity an adult performs on or with a minor. ... Sexual harassment is harassment of a sexual nature involving a range of behavior from mild transgressions and annoyances to serious abuses which can even involve forced sexual activity. ...

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By offender

Police brutality
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Severe corporal punishment
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Academic seduction is sometimes considered a type of sexual abuse, and refers to the phenomenon of teachers having sexual relations with their students. Some draw parallels with the phenomenas of incest, therapist abuse, or priest abuse.[citation needed] This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

One survey, conducted with psychology students, reports that 10% had sexual interactions with their educators; in turn, 13% of educators reported sexual interaction with their students [1]. In a survey of high school students, 14% reported that they had engaged in sexual intercourse with a teacher. (Wishnietsky, 1991) In a national survey conducted for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation in 2000 that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a public school employee between 1991 and 2000. And in a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 10 percent of U.S. public school students have been targeted with sexual attention by school employees. Indeed, sexual abuse by teachers has been described as 100 times more frequent than abuse by priests. [2]


Psychology and behaviors

The phenomena of sexual relations between students and teachers has been attributed to the psychological projection of status and authority on the teacher by the student, and the teacher's relishing the distorted aggrandisement. (Zalk, 1987) Moreover, teachers are in a postition of power and trust in relation to their students, which makes it easier to overcome resistance. (Finkelhor, 1984) Relationships between students and teachers can be often quite intimate and intense as they share common passions and interests. Students are dependant on their teachers' approval for academic success, opportunities, and later career success. They will talk about personal issues, such as problems at home, or with boyfriends/girlfriends. Such closeness and intimacy can blur the professional boundaries and lead people--both school employee and student alike--to step over the line. [3] One example of such a relationship is that of Mary Kay LeTourneau with her male art student, while Pamela Smart allegedly manipulated her student-lover into murdering her husband. Psychological projection (or projection bias) can be defined as unconsciously assuming that others have the same or similar thoughts, beliefs, values, or positions on any given subject as oneself. ... Mary Kay Letourneau on her release from jail, January 6, 1998. ... Pamela Ann (nèe Wojas) Smart (born August 16, 1967), is serving a life sentence in the U.S. state of New York for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering in New Hampshire. ...

Modi operandi

A common method for academic seduction has been coined, "The Mother-Father Figure" (aka "The Counselor-Helper.") The Mother-father Figure will try to create a mentor-like relationship with their target, all the while masking their sexual intentions with pretenses towards academic or personal attention. They can be particularly drawn to students who are troubled, or going through difficult periods in their lives. The Mother-father Figure will gather information about the student's interests and vulnerabilities, which will often involved learning about the student's knowledge and experiences with sex, and then tailor their line to the student's specific needs. The Mother-father Figure may act as a go-between in relationships that the student is having difficulty with--such as relationships with boyfriends or family members. These are forms of grooming, and in doing this, they can increase their stature with their target and earn their trust. Moreover, they will usually rationalize their predatory intentions by maintaining that it is a teacher's duty to "guide the student to maturity," even in terms of their sexuality and sexual experience. (Dzeich et al, 1990) For example, in her interview with detectives after her arrest for engaging in an 18-month affair with a teenage student she had been coaching, Jamie Lane Wallace admitted that the relationship was very much like that of a "mother/daughter." [4]

Another common approach is "The Confidant." This technique involves approaching the student as an equal or a friend. The teacher will share about their own life experiences and difficulties, and invite the student to share theirs. The teacher may invent stories to win admiration or sympathy. The student may feel valued and trusted, and will become an involuntary confidante. Dziech writes, “Without genuine mutual agreement, the relationship is moved into an intimate domain,” from which the subordinate may find it difficult to extricate themselves.

"The Opportunist" uses physical settings and circumstances, or infrequently occurring opportunities, to mask premeditated or intentional sexual behavior towards a student. This may involve inappropriate touching while ostensibly providing instruction (e.g. "guiding" the student through a movement exercise), or changing the environment in order to minimize inhibitory effects of the school(e.g field trips, conferences).

"The Intellectual Seducer" will use their skills and knowledge to impress a student, and as an avenue to seducing them. The teacher may use class content, assignments, or exercises to obtain information about a student's passions and interests--such as having students participate in "studies" that reveal personal information about themselves. This identifies areas of "vulnerability" or "accessibility," enabling the Intellectual Seducer to tailor their course lectures and discussions to the student’s particular passions and interests. This way, the student may feel they have a special connection with the teacher that they may want to "explore" further. The Intellectual Seducer may not have any direct contact with students, but may require them to participate in "studies" that reveal information about their sexual preferences, experiences, and habits, or may use their knowledge of books and movies to move a student into discussions of erotic topics.

“The Power Broker” uses "quid pro quo" to obtain sexual favors from students. The Power Broker trades on their ability to control grades, evaluations, credentials, recommendations, and jobs, and their intentions may be either direct or implied. Direct promises of rewards, or threats of punishments, exert enormous influence on students, and they feel equally victimized by promises and threats that are implied rather than stated openly. Because so much is as stake, the student is unlikely to make a complaint unless the harasser has been very open about their intentions. (Dzeich et al, 1990) Quid pro quo (Latin for something for something, many times understood by English speakers as what for what or tit for tat) is used to mean, in the English speaking world, a favour for a favour (in other linguistic contexts, such as Portuguese and French, it means a misunderstanding, a...

For some examples of these kinds of "techniques," see Naomi Wolf's article The Silent Treatment and SESAME survivors stories Naomi Wolf is a bestselling American writer. ...

Personality traits and attitudes

Zalk has described several personality dimensions, or "themes," evident in teachers who attempt to seduce students. Each dimension is comprised of two profiles, each representing the end of a “pole.” (These are not entirely mutually exclusive dimensions, and a harasser's placement into any is a matter of judgement.)

The Untouchable and The Risk-Taker: The Untouchable does not consider the consequences of his or her actions, believing themselves to be in control, free of any real risks, and beyond the ranks of censorship or reprimands. They may flaunt sexual liaisons with students, viewing this as a challenge to the system. For the most part, they are narcissistic and grandiose, viewing themselves as “untouchable,” much like the egocentric adolescent who does not believe the will ever “get caught” or who continually drives drunk. The Risk-Taker knows they are being “naughty” and their actions are a statement, and at the same time, the risk-taker fears punishment for the transgressions. They will vacillate between the “high” of breaking-the-rules and guilt at the immorality of their actions. The student will symbolize the transgression, and symbolize the harasser’s weakness. Because of this, the harasser will blame the victim, labeling them a “tempter” or “temptress” who has taken advantage. Indeed, the Risk-Taker will view themselves as being the victims, and not the other way around.

The Seducer-Demander and the Passive-Initiator: The Seducer-Demander is a “power player” who actively plots sexual encounters using his or her position to do so. A Demander has little more than contempt for their targets, and they broker favors for sex as their way of keeping people in their “proper place.” A Seducer also uses their position to facilitate sexual encounters but they have a need to be desired and loved, and the power of their position, and the effect it has on their targets, is part of this dynamic. The Passive-Initiator is the person who pays special attention to a student, is flirtatious and flattering, but who does not make the first overtly sexual overture. They will argue that, if the student is the one to initiate sexual contact, then the teacher is not guilty of any transgressions. However, it has been argued that an unequal power distribution in this kind of relationship makes the teachers concession to the overtures exploitation. That the subordinate "asked" is not an excuse for complying. The Passive-Initiator "draws the line between morality and immorality at who does the asking."

The Infatuated vs. The Sexual Conqueror: The Sexual Conqueror is the typical Don Juan (or Juanita) who seduces many people. They will remember little about each conquest, as they are only interested in numbers. In many cases, they will not even be able to match a name to a face. The Infatuated begins by developing a “crush” on a student which may evolve into stronger feelings. The primary attraction to the target is that they are student which makes the Infatuated feel stronger and more powerful then they would in a relationship with a peer. They want to be looked up to, and to be the center of the relationship. They want to be the teacher who “guides” the lover. In many cases, the Infatuated are very discontented with their own status within their departments or companies, and the relationship with the students is a panacea to this, and helps to bolster the Infatuated's self-esteem. (Zalk, 1990)


While sexual relationships are illegal with under-age students, this is not the case in higher education. Most colleges/universities do not ban teacher/student relationships so long as the student is not currently attending a class taught by the teacher. Such relationships might not be seen as harmful in and of themselves provided the instructor does not misuse any power.[citation needed]

However, in recent years, there has been controversy over such relationships, especially within the last decade and responses vary. More and more schools are adopting policies that forbid amorous relationships between students and teachers "in the instructional context" even when they are consenting. (Smithson, 1990) Dzeich et al writes, "Physical intimacy with students is not now and never has been acceptable behavior for academicians. It cannot be defended or explained away by evoking fantasies of devoted professors and sophisticated students being denied the right to 'true love.' Where power differentials exist, there can be no 'mutual consent.'" (Dzeich et al, 1990) In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, a dean at the University of Texas stated he'd like to crack down on consensual relationships between professors and students. "Wait until she graduates," he says he tells male professors. "We have a kind of sacred trust to the students," he explains. "They're coming here to get us to evaluate what their abilities are and what their future could be. These relationships poison the whole academic well." [5]


  • Dziech, Billie Wright, Weiner, Linda. The Lecherous Professor: Sexual Harassment on Campus. Chicago Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1990.
  • Finkelhor, David. Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory & Research. Free Press, 1984
  • Smithson, Isaiah. "Investigating gender, power, and pedagogy," in Smithson, Isaiah, and Gabriel, Susan eds. Gender in the Classroom: Power and Pedagogy. University of Illinois Press, 1990)
  • Wishnietsky, Dan H. "Reported and Unreported Teacher-Student Sexual Harassment." Journal of Education Research, 1991, Vol. 3
  • Zalk, Sue Rosenburg. "Men in the academy: a psychological profile of harassment." in Paludi, Michele A. ed. Ivory Power: Sexual Harassment On Campus. Albany, NY, State University of New York Press, 1987.

Academic seduction in media and literature

  • Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee, a novel about a South African literature professor whose career is ruined after he has an affair with a student.
  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar: a novel by Judith Rossner, and later a film starring Diane Keaton, based on the true story of a woman who has an affair with one of her professors as part of a long downward spiral that culminates in her brutal murder.
  • Oleanna, an American film and play by David Mamet, and starring William H. Macy and Debra Eisenstadt as a college professor and his student, respectively. The student claims that she is a victim of academic seduction and sexual harassment, the professor claims that the sexual contact never occurred. The film deals with the moral controversy of academic seduction as it never becomes clear which character is correct.
  • Pretty Persuasion: film starring Evan Rachel Wood and James Woods in which students turn the tables on a lecherous and bigoted teacher. A scathingly satirical film of sexual harassment and discrimination in schools, and attitudes towards females in media and society.

The History Man (1975) is a campus novel by British author Malcolm Bradbury set in 1972 in the fictional seaside town of Watermouth in the South of England. ... Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury (September 7, 1932 – November 27, 2000) was a British author and academic. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC, sometimes also known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, founded in 1922. ... Disgrace (1999) is a novel by J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature; the book itself won the Booker Prize in 1999, the year in which it was published. ... John Maxwell Coetzee John Maxwell Coetzee (pronounced kut-SAY-uh) (born 9 February 1940) is a South African/Australian author, having emigrated from South Africa in 2002, and having been granted Australian citizenship on 6 March 2006. ... Looking for Mr. ... Judith Rossner (March 31, 1935 - August 9, 2005) was an American novelist, best known for her 1975 novel Looking for Mr. ... Diane Keaton (born January 5, 1946) is an American film actress, director, and producer. ... Oleanna is a play by David Mamet about the power struggle between a university professor and one of his female students who accuses him of sexual harassment and, by doing so, spoils his chances of being accorded tenure. ... Publicity photo of William H. Macy William Hall Macy (born March 13, 1950) is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated American actor, teacher, and director, in theatre, film, and television. ... Pretty Persuasion is a 2005 comedy / drama / teen film directed by Marcos Siega and written by Skander Halim. ... Evan Rachel Wood at 2004 Golden Globe Awards. ... James Woods James Howard Woods (born April 18, 1947) is an Oscar-nominated American actor. ... The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a novel by Muriel Spark, first published in 1962. ... Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, DBE (born 28 December 1934), better known as Dame Maggie Smith, is a two-time Academy Award-winning English film, stage, and television actress. ...

See also

Sexual harassment is harassment of a sexual nature involving a range of behavior from mild transgressions and annoyances to serious abuses which can even involve forced sexual activity. ... Child sexual abuse is commonly defined in contemporary western culture as any sexual activity an adult performs on or with a minor. ... Incest is sexual activity between close family members. ... In the late 20th century, and early 21st, the Roman Catholic Church was confronted with a series of allegations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests (who are all male) and by members of the various religious orders (both male and female). ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Academic seduction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1975 words)
Academic seduction is sometimes considered a type of sexual abuse, and refers to the phenomenon of teachers having sexual relations with their students.
The student claims that she is a victim of academic seduction and sexual harassment, the professor claims that the sexual contact never occurred.
The film deals with the moral controversy of academic seduction as it never becomes clear which character is correct.
  More results at FactBites »



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