Jeremy Forest case - I am gobsmacked!

(43 Posts)
Repeatedlydoingthetwist Sun 23-Jun-13 09:56:57

I've just been reading about some of the family opinions on the case (not linking as it's the DM), and the latest seems to be that the victim's father has said that he'll walk his daughter down the aisle if and when they wed?!! WTAF?!

I know that some people are of the opinion that she knew her own mind and that it's some kind of Romeo and Juliet type affair (I should express now that I am NOT in this camp) but realistically the fact remains that however much she thought she was in love with him she was underage and he was her teacher! He broke the law and abused a position of trust. I can't help but think that by saying this her father will in her mind be endorsing their 'relationship' and will therefore be doing more damage.

My other thought was that I wonder how different the reaction would have been if Forest was considerably older, or indeed a woman? I suspect that the reaction would be vastly different.

logicalRobbie Tue 09-Jul-13 10:01:47

I was talking to my partner about this who simply asked How I'd feel if it was our son who'd had a relationship with a teacher and I honestly don't know how I'd feel unless it was a clear cut case that he'd been groomed and/or abused.

My concern is this has been pretty much a trial by media and none of us save those in the know, really have all the facts. In fact, the only facts we really have is the spin coming from xenophobic gutter press like DM who seem to have it in for the likes of Jeremy and anyone else they think they can label as a paedophile.

Jeremy did not groom this girl and she has made that totally clear, in fact she's done her best to tell the media that she groomed him. So why won't we believe her and dismiss her as a child and this is just infatuation? How can we know what is really in their minds? Only they can truly know that.

What he did was wrong, as the adult, we expect them (both) to have obeyed the law and waited before entering a sexual relationship but that is easier said than done.

In all this, we have forgotten what it means to be human and let ourselves be swayed by the law and the media.

Has anyone seen the film with Jeremy Irons, Lolita? I've seen this film and found it rather uncomfortable watching. Also of note was a similar story a while back in Waterloo Road. It's not all Black & White folks.

I really feel for secondary teachers facing similar issues, seems we are no longer allowed to be human.

Welcome to Xenophobic UK

PS, If I'm wrong and Jeremy really is a predator, then he's got off lightly

lljkk Fri 05-Jul-13 07:36:04

That's what's bothering me too, Carol. There's been a lot of trial by media here.

CarolH78 Wed 03-Jul-13 11:07:43

No, it wasn't according to the prosecution case, it was according to a couple of girls who sold their "stories" to the Daily Mail. The stories mostly consisted of "omg he tried to groom me by sending me a birthday card!".

What the prosecution claimed was that because his wife "looked quite young", that was therefore proof that he had a thing for young girls. In spite of the fact that his wife is actually 2 years older than him, and looks like she's in her 20s (as does the "girl with no name").

AndHarry Tue 02-Jul-13 21:28:27

Yes, according to the prosecution case.

Patchouli Tue 02-Jul-13 21:03:21

Had he?
Previously targeted other girls, I mean.

currentbuns Tue 02-Jul-13 19:43:38

He is incredibly creepy. I find him quite repulsive physically, too, especially given that gormless crooked mouth. <shallow>
I think the fact that he had previously targeted other teenaged students in a similar way suggests that this is simply a man with a thing for pubescent girls, rather than the true-love-ne'er-did-run-smooth that some would have it.
The volume of apologists on the comments pages has definitely surprised me.

AndHarry Tue 02-Jul-13 09:57:28

I think it's less about age and more about the position of trust that he abused. Teenage girls are in the middle of finding their own identity, pushing boundaries, setting likes and dislikes, practising being an adult. Authority figures are often going to be attractive to them and they will get crushes on and flirt with their teachers. They might even pursue a teacher to the point that it becomes a problem. That's not 'grooming' the teacher, that's just being a teenage girl. A person who chooses to become a teacher puts themselves in a position where they are open to these kind of advances and they need to have the maturity and integrity to be able to deal with them appropriately i.e. with respect, gravity, kindness and professionalism. Teachers must go into their profession having already decided that they will 'walk away' if they ever find themselves becoming entangled but there are so many escape routes before they reach that point. If they set and enforce good boundaries then I think it is highly unlikely that they will ever 'fall' for one of their pupils. No 14 year old girl is 'irresistible' and if a teacher does start developing feelings for a pupil then they need to seek support from their SMT.

Jeremy Forrest acted in a completely irresponsible, immature, creepy way and severely abused the position of trust that he accepted when he became a teacher. The girl is in no way to blame because the adults around her should have kept her safe while she was doing normal teenage girl things. IMO his sentence is entirely appropriate and I hope it is long enough to allow her to finish her education and grow up and away from him. That is the law protecting her when all other authorities have failed.

flippinada Mon 01-Jul-13 15:48:40

"When I met my (now) husband, we were both married to other people. We "should" both have walked away. Instead we both deliberately created excuses to see each other and engineered situations in which we would be alone together. We both knew that we were falling for each other (even before anything happened) and we both knew that if we continued down that path it would cause a lot of upset and heartache for various people, especially our respective children. We couldn't help it. When your emotions are involved, it's not always so easy to just walk away."

Actually, having just read this it's not surprising that you're so keen to excuse him, because it makes your own behaviour seem more palatable in comparison.

flippinada Mon 01-Jul-13 15:44:53

Look - he was a teacher. He was in a position of trust. If he couldn't control himself around teenage girls, a lot of whom are physically attractive and flirtatious (as is natural), then he shouldn't have being doing the job. It really is that simple.

And as for not being able to help it, do me a favour! He ignored the warnings from his colleagues, told barefaced lied to the girls mother(who is being unfairly vilified) and deceived his wife (that he had recently married) over a sustained period of time.

So, not only did he have ample opportunity to put a stop to the relationship, he carried out a sustained deception, lying to many people over a period of months so he could carry it on.

I also wonder if you've read the reports about the girl being vulnerable - she had previously self harmed and had an eating disorder.

And by the way, if he was so 'in love', why did he put the girl through the stressful ordeal of giving evidence in court? Why didn't he put his hands up and say yes, I did it, I'm sorry - especially as he'd likely have got a shorter sentence and thus been out quicker?

CarolH78 Mon 01-Jul-13 14:05:50

I didn't say it was the same thing - there's no comparison at all in fact. I was just trying to illustrate that walking away from something, even when you know it's wrong and stupid, is not always as easy as some people seem to think.

Everyone is saying "he should just have waited" or "he should just have ignored his feelings and hers". Well, yes, of course he should. But we've all had situations where we SHOULD do - or not do - something, but couldn't manage to control ourselves regardless of the consequences to ourselves and others.

No, that doesn't excuse it. Yes, his actions were completely unacceptable. But that doesn't necessarily make him some evil abuser.

And while my own life bears no resemblance to this case, this couple had a somewhat similar beginning (minus the international incident etc): http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-i-was-groomed-by-my-beloved-husband-8670089.html

flippinada Mon 01-Jul-13 13:41:46

"When I met my (now) husband, we were both married to other people. We "should" both have walked away. Instead we both deliberately created excuses to see each other and engineered situations in which we would be alone together"

But you were both adults, yes? In which case it's not the same thing at all.

skintandfedup Mon 01-Jul-13 13:40:40

I don't think their ages or the age gap is what matters here. It's the fact that he was in a position of trust and was supposed to protect his pupils not runaway and have a whirlwind romance with one of them.
My Gran married when she was 15 & my grandpa 24. They stayed married for 67 years.
I think saying it's child abduction and rape is ott.

CarolH78 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:37:40

And it's funny you say that about her changing her story, because I had the exact opposite reaction to that. If he were the manipulative predator he's being made out (in some quarters), he would have made sure they settled on a story in advance, that they would both stick to in the event of being caught, which they knew was a distinct possibility.

She didn't change her account of their relationship, but she did change her account of the decision to run away, i.e. saying she threatened to kill herself. Yes, I'm sure that was a lie, clearly to back up his defence of "keeping her from harm", but I can imagine myself doing exactly the same thing in her position. It doesn't sound like she was "influenced" to lie, more that she wanted to say whatever would give him the best chance of acquittal, but without having any access to her own legal advice she had to wait until this "third party", whoever it was, let her know what his defence was going to say and how best to back it up. Plenty of people lie on the witness stand to try and save people they love from jail - they're not all being manipulated.

CarolH78 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:31:21

Absolutely not, I never said we should hang the laws - I said that I agree he should have been locked up, although I think the sentence is extremely harsh (which was probably done deliberately because the case is so high-profile and they want to make an example, especially in the wake of Jimmy Saville et al).

What I'm saying is that although his actions were - quite rightly - against the law, based on the accounts of their relationship given by themselves and others around them, I don't believe he deserves to be labelled a sexual predator (much less a paedophile), nor do I believe their relationship was manipulative or abusive. I was also trying to illustrate that it's not always easy to overrule your emotions. That doesn't excuse it or make it right, I just mean it's not as straightforward as some are saying to "just walk away".

JakeBullet Mon 01-Jul-13 12:43:52

So are we saying then that we should just hang the laws and let there be a free for all in schools?

He might have been vulnerable, she most certainly was vulnerable . She was underage and by definition the more vulnerable of the two. He is responsible and is being held so for his own actions.

If this "love" they are professing is genuine and they co to he to be in a relationship once he is out and she is the correct age then good luck to them.

I remain very suspicious that the story she gave the court changed from her original statements to match his! hmm. That tells me he is manipulative and she is vulnerable enough to be manipulated.

CarolH78 Mon 01-Jul-13 12:36:41

"Fact is that this girl was vulnerable, he was a teacher and he SHOULD have been the bigger person no matter what his feelings towards her. He should absolutely have shown restraint and he didn't which is why he has rightly been locked up."

It sounds to me like they were both vulnerable and each saw an echo of their own vulnerabilities in the other, which brought them closer. Yes, absolutely he SHOULD have shown restraint no matter what his feelings. And yes, absolutely he SHOULD have been locked up - but 5 1/2 years? Some rapists get less ffs.

When I met my (now) husband, we were both married to other people. We "should" both have walked away. Instead we both deliberately created excuses to see each other and engineered situations in which we would be alone together. We both knew that we were falling for each other (even before anything happened) and we both knew that if we continued down that path it would cause a lot of upset and heartache for various people, especially our respective children. We couldn't help it. When your emotions are involved, it's not always so easy to just walk away.

There was a letter in the Independent a few days after Forrest's sentencing from a woman who has been happily married for more than 20 years. She and her husband fell in love when he was 30 and she was 15. It does happen.

JakeBullet Mon 01-Jul-13 07:13:02

ragged, that would be fine as she would no longer be

Underage
A school girl
Vulnerable
Etc etc

Fact is that in this case he didn't wait until she was of the right age. I think this says a great deal about him..

I doubt they will reach 30 years of marriage with grandchildren. More likely is that she will grow up and away from him.

ragged Mon 01-Jul-13 07:08:27

I wonder what people will think in 35 years when they are 30 yrs married with grandchildren of their own.

JakeBullet Mon 01-Jul-13 06:55:15

My dear mother said yesterday "that little bitch says she groomed him". shock. Now if you knew my mother as well as I do you would be as shocked as I was. My Mum is the most giving and open hearted person....but she had read th headlines in a newspaper.

I pointed out that of this was one of her grandchildren she would feel very different. She had to concede that she would not be happy with the teacher if it was one of her grandchildren.

Fact is that this girl was vulnerable, he was a teacher and he SHOULD have been the bigger person no matter what his feelings towards her. He should absolutely have shown restraint and he didn't which is why he has rightly been locked up.

I am a bit hmm about the sentence when others are getting far less for sexual crimes against younger children though.

If he comes out and stays with her legally then good luck to them. Far more likely though is that she will grow up and out grow him. Then he has no career, all thrown away because he couldn't keep it in his pants when he should have done,

wannabeawallaby Mon 01-Jul-13 00:52:17

Sounds like she has a very disfunctional family, poor girl. I read she had visitation rights but then read the other day this had been refused. So who knows. In cases like this the details are so hazy because of reporting restrictions.

CoalDustWoman Mon 01-Jul-13 00:49:36

Even if love trumped all (which it doesn't), it should never have got to that stage. He should have ensured that appropriate boundaries were kept and sufficient distance maintained.

That neither of them knew what was appropriate is no surprise, given what nonsense their families have come out with. He had the far bigger (and statutory) responsibility and that what he has been locked up for. And rightly so.

CarolH78 Mon 01-Jul-13 00:38:58

My first instinct would be to be horrified if that were my 14 yo, but I'm prepared to admit that part of the reason is that I still see her as she was when she was 10. The truth is she's not a child anymore, she's a young woman and in actual fact she's a lot more mature than my 17 yo son. We all like to freeze our family in roles with which we're comfortable.

I honestly hope that if this had happened to my daughter I would try my hardest not to fly off the handle and to find out what was actually going on before just assuming the worst. I think the mother of this girl has behaved appallingly and I'm not surprised she had all kinds of issues (long before the teacher came on the scene).

At first when these two ran away, I took no real interest besides being glad they found her and brought her back ok. But since the trial and everything I've read a lot of the coverage, and I have to say I don't think this is the manipulative or abusive relationship it's being portrayed as. They do seem to genuinely love each other.

Most girls (or boys) don't fall in real love at that age, but to say it never happens is simply untrue - there are a minority of cases where it does happen, and I wouldn't be surprised if these two end up having a happy marriage one day.

JakeBullet Sun 30-Jun-13 23:01:30

lakia, if you had a 15 year old DD who had a crush on a teacher would you be happy for him to take advantage of that?

Honestly would you?

honey86 Sun 30-Jun-13 22:50:32

tbh i might sound harsh here, but i feel like castrating the teacher and sucker slapping the girl. if they marry, you wait til a decade down the line (if it makes it that far), he will be looking for his next naive schoolgirl. shes fresh out of school hasnt got a clue about what love and marriage entails, all it is is 'running away with her new bf' like a fairy tail. he is a disgusting excuse of whats meant to be a man.
i dont feel sorry for either of them, doing this to their families.
and theres his wife... having to wake up every day to this, to see them with their vomit-inducing declarations of 'love', in her face, its insulting. neither of them show genuine remorse at the hurt they are causing. yes shes a 'minor' but that doesnt justify it, as much as hes abusing his authority, she had a crush on him n knew what she was doing. theyre both living in lala land. the whole thing is sick and makes my blood boil angry

kissitbetter Sun 30-Jun-13 16:41:22

I have been stunned by how many apologists there are for Forrest. They are turning up in droves on the comments section of the Guardian for example. Very sad that an awful lot of people cannot see a situation can be abusive if the victim says they consent.

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