This article was written by a 26-year-old from a small town in the North West of Melbourne who wishes to remain anonymous. She is finally re-attempting tertiary studies after dropping out due to the circumstances mentioned in the article. She also currently finds herself happy in a same-sex relationship, after years of therapy and hard work, and working with children with special needs.
This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
Year 12 is hard enough for Australian students, without the extra intensity of mental health problems. I don’t know why or where my anxiety and depression came from, but I was finding it more and more difficult to stay in class and concentrate.
My friend was the first to notice the marks of self harm on my arms and legs, despite my best efforts to hide them. She did the right thing, what anyone in her position would do as a 17-year-old at school with concern - she went to a trusted teacher.
He and his wife had been teaching at the school for years, since my parents had attended. He also happened to be my English teacher. Both he and his wife were well known for being the best of the best. I looked up to him with true infatuation and respect, like a father or a favourite sports coach.
When he came to me with my friend’s concern, he was respectful, solemn, and seemed to exhibit genuine care for me. Little did I know he had ulterior motives.
I began to notice something was ‘off’ when he confessed to me that the idea of helping me through my troubles had ‘saved’ him from the brink of despair. He began keeping me back after classes, insisting I keep my books out to ensure prying eyes didn’t ask too many questions. You know, for my privacy.
Watch: Women and violence, the hidden numbers. Post continues after video.
Then the emails started to get stranger, turning into poems of love and desire. Our relationship, to him, was a story about young forbidden love.
I remained confused, yet optimistic, assuring myself that he had merely meant to flatter me. The volume of the emails increased, always checking in on how I was, sometimes at 3am on a school night. I was overwhelmed, I had never had someone ‘care’ about me in that way before.
Then it became even stranger.
He invited me away with him on a school day. My curiosity and incessant need to do what he told me had peaked, yet a gut feeling told me this was a bad idea. He must have sensed my worry. He told me that if I ever thought of him as ‘yucky’ or ‘gross’, it would most certainly send him back to the dark place.