Kirk Douglas was "Raped" by His Teacher


Kuehl, Michael; Jul 06 2015
Type of WorkShort essay

Kirk Douglas fondly recalls an affair [*] with his teacher:

  • "I had been a ragamuffin kid of 15 coping with a neighborhood filled with gangs. Under my teacher's guidance, I became a different person. I'm eternally grateful. By today's standards, she would have gone to jail. I had no idea we were doing something wrong. Did she?"
  • [*] Ipce's note:
    See < >.

It's understandable why a young man of 15 wouldn't feel and think that something so exciting and natural and pleasurable was "wrong." And, obviously, he didn't think he was a "victim" of "rape" and CSA who was "traumatized," devastated, and "scarred for life." 

What of his teacher? It's likely she thought it was "wrong" in the sense of it being "inappropriate" and unprofessional. But perhaps she didn't even think that.

And I'm certain she didn't think it was wrong" in the sense of it being aberrant and unnatural or even egregiously immoral and transgressive. And, even more so, I'm sure she didn't think it was "wrong" in the sense that she was a "rapist" and "pedophile" and "child molester," and that her lover was a "victim" of "rape" and "child sexual abuse," "traumatized" and "scarred for life." 

And it's likely that she knew or feared that she was guilty of a "morals offense," however defined, but wasn't unduly worried since there was little chance of anyone knowing or suspecting they were having sex and telling school officials or calling the police.  

But today, almost surely, she'd be arrested, prosecuted,  convicted, and sentenced

  • to anywhere from 6-12 months in jail, if lucky, to 10-30 years in prison;
  • to years of punitive sex-offender treatment, both in prison and after her release,
  • intensive psychotherapy to "treat" her for and "cure" her of what precisely, heterosexuality?;
  • to years of quasi-totalitarian post-incarceration supervision,
  • restrictions on her freedoms and
  • intrusions into her private life that don't apply to violent recidivists who've never been convicted of a sexual offense; and
  • registration for life as a uniquely deviant and dangerous criminal, unlike myriads of brutes and savages convicted of murders and other violent and mala in se crimes but who've never been convicted of a sexual offense albeit most of them have surely raped or gang-raped men in jails and prisons and/or women and girls in the free world. 
  • And she'd be vilified as a "rapist" and "pedophile" and "child molester." And also a "sexual predator."

Now, apparently, Douglas knows their affair was "wrong."

  • But does he think it should have been a felony or even a misdemeanor?
  • What does he think of these draconian, Orwellian, irrational, gratuitous, inquisitorial penalties?
  • Does he think his teacher and similar women like Mary Letourneau and Debra Lafave and Abigail Simon and many others are "rapists" and "pedophiles" and "child molesters" who should be charged with felonies and sentenced to months in jail or years in prison and  subjected to the extra/post-incarceration penalties above?

It would be fascinating to hear his thoughts in an interview on national television.  

Ironically and paradoxically, in respect to love affairs and dalliances between young men under age 18 and adult females, above all teachers, the America of today and of the last 20-years is far more repressive, draconian, hysterical, irrational, delusional,  paranoid,  and inquisitorial than the America of Douglas's youth, the "bad old days" or "good old days," depending on one's values and politics and weltanschauung. 

Savor the irony, the poetic injustice, if you will: without her guidance, he might have ended up dead or buried in prison rather than going on  to become a rich and famous and legendary actor, one of the most feted and iconic of all the great movie stars of the post World-War II era.

  • Not only did she turn him into a "different person,"
  • not only did she enrich his life morally and artistically and intellectually,
  • not only did she give him the sex that he craved and enjoyed and fondly remembers,
  • she might have even saved his life. 

But if they had such an affair today or in the late 1990s, her life would be blighted, profoundly, tragically, hellishly, if not utterly destroyed. She would be branded with the "new-age" scarlet letter, figuratively, until she died. She would never be free again. Unlike her "victim," she'd be traumatized, devastated, and scarred for life.