I am working on a story in which a 32 year old female teacher has an affair with a 15 year old male pupil. The story is not actually about them but their liaison forms part of the the background to the story. The sex I describe does not involve either of them so I hope I’m not breaching any editorial guidelines. This part of the story is based on real events from forty years ago. It is not an easy story to write. If I do manage to finish it it will be tragic erotica if there is such a thing. The affair ended badly for both sides but neither of them truly regretted it.
It was nearly forty years ago that a fifteen year old English boy went to France on an exchange. He stayed with a family in their rambling farmhouse in Brittany. During his four week stay friends of their family came to visit. One of these families came for two weeks and he got to know them well, particularly a lady of forty and mother of four who I shall call Fabienne. One hot July day she drove him to the beach in the family Volvo. It was stiflingly hot, they did not speak, he began to perspire with the tension and the expectation. She pulled down a lane just short of the beach. He froze. Fabienne quickly took the initiative, first placing her hand on his knee before opening her blouse and placing his hand on her breast. He suddenly relaxed and allowed himself to be led into manhood by this experienced woman. He has never forgotten the experience. Neither does he regret it.
Now you might say that Fabienne was a predatory woman collecting a trophy, that her behaviour was cynical. Maybe it was. The boy, however, was a willing participant. He wanted this to happen, sensed it might happen, but had neither the experience nor the courage to make the first move. He was, however, smart enough to put himself in a position where Fabienne could. What happened was not illegal – the age of consent in France is 15 as it is in most European countries. In Spain it’s as low as 13!
For Jeremy Forrest to have a sexual relationship with a 15 year old would, in most of Europe, only have been a criminal offence, if at all, by virtue of his being the girl’s teacher. The penalty would,in any event, have been rather less than the sentence he received today. In many countries it would have been nothing more than a disciplinary offence at work probably earning him the sack.
I am not condoning what he did but we need to be clear that he is not a paedophile as the tabloid press are saying. People of different ages do fall in love. As a teacher Forrest should not have put himself into the position he did, should have kept a professional distance. Yet these things are so easy to say just as they were forty years ago. In 1973 the public was less quick to condemn, to judge. The teacher lost her job but didn’t get 5 and a half years and a media trashing. And this in the week when Stuart Hall got away with 15 months for more and graver offences.. ,