Friday, March 11, 2011

TRUE COLORS -- SAFETY

In perusing the TC conference material  I was/am struck by several things.  (Btw, sometimes it takes the pdf file a while to download. . the connection is not broken. ;-) )  I was especially amazed at the broad spectrum and variety of workshops and presentations.

I am impressed with the clarity of their statements and positions.  They lay it right out, simple and clear.  This one #3 impresses me and I learned something from it.


3) Safety
 << There will be NO alcohol, illegal drugs and sexual contact of any kind at the conference or conference activities including the dance and the drag show.
<< TC believes that sexual contact between adults and youth is never appropriate or acceptable, regardless of the conditions or circumstances.3) Safety
 There will be NO alcohol, illegal drugs and sexual contact of any kind at the conference or conference activities including the dance and the drag show.
 TC believes that sexual contact between adults and youth is never appropriate or acceptable, regardless of the conditions or circumstances. In addition to the relative age of individuals, we consider an imbalance of power and authority to be an important factor in the determination of our conduct. Sexual contact is not appropriate or acceptable if one person, regardless of age, has or is perceived to have significantly more power or authority than the other person.
By attending the True Colors conference, all participants agree to abide by these values and policies. Any person(s) who violate them will be asked to leave the conference and may be prosecuted to the fullest extent allowed by law.


This statement clarified for me the question of "power and authority" vis a vis sexual partners.  I have not seen it clarified so me so well previously.  At the university this is one of the issues in the professional code of conduct by which faculty members are bound and held strictly accountable about.  This "sexual connection" issue is strictly enforced.  This is drilled into us regarding professional conduct in therapy, classroom.

In our department we have the opportunity to participate/be members of an ongoing working/group therapy session. Our group of 7 has been working together into our third year. There are 6 grad students and our prof/mentor. Six of us are gay in sexual orientation, including our mentor.  One grad student is straight.  He asked to be a working member of our group.  Each of us had to be in agreement to allow him to part of the "gay group".  ;-)  He wanted to be with us so as to learn first hand and understand better this whole important issue of homosexuality.  It has worked very well for us gay guys and likewise for me.  We have so much we share in common and it helps us understand better the "straight side of creation".  We each know a tremendous amount about one another.  Trust is a very important part of this learning experience.  

Each term we are asked to sign the professional code of conduct  guiding all the faculty and staff.  To this we have written and added another part:  our commitments to one another to honor and respect the privacy and confidentiality we share and an common sense agreement "not to hit on one another".  hahahaaa.  When we were adding this it was thought this wasn't necessary, to spell it out, "everybody just understands this", etc.  In the end we all thought and still do think it is a very good idea.    Yepper. ;-)

This issue  became important to me and, as I said, I had not before seen this state so clearly.  << In addition to the relative age of individuals, we consider an imbalance of power and authority to be an important factor in the determination of our conduct. Sexual contact is not appropriate or acceptable if one person, regardless of age, has or is perceived to have significantly more power or authority than the other person.>>

I am in my second year working as a teaching assistant with our mentor.  Last year I taught one  section of Intro Psych; this year
I am working with two sections.  The above quoted section applies to professional ethical conduct for faculty - profs and teachers on various levels. . .. teacher-student relationships.  The question of power and authority, real and/or perceived, is well enunciated and
I guess I hadn't thought it through entirely. . .even tho' I fully complied.

Last year there was a difficult situation of being "hit on" repeatedly, by one of my male students.  I am a year or two older than most of the class members.  This Freshman was a real "fresh man" - direct and forward, aggressive in his subtle and not so subtle ways.  Often enough "Hey. ..c'mon man, we're the same age. . .who's gonna  know. . sure as hell I'm not gonna tell anyone". . . My reply was the usual "we have a code of ethics which  I have to observe. . ."

Same age, more or less, etc. . but. . .the question of power and authority over him  was one I didn't entirely see. . .Not that I was going to violate it. . ..I'm not dumb.  I don't want to be kicked out of school, be asked to leave, and also forfeit the sizable grant I was awarded for grad school at college graduation.  As a teacher. teaching assistant I do have that "power and authority" which defintely makes us not equals regardless of age. . . And I have committed myself for the rest of my life to this code of ethics as teacher - students, therapist - client, etc.  And that is sacred in my mind and heart.  And I better grasp this not only intellectually but also emotionally and spiritually.

Keeping a Blog helps me learn a great deal from you and contributions here at  Justin Dunes.
     Thanks. .. .  
         justin 

8 comments:

Gary Kelly said...

TC believes that sexual contact between adults and youth is never appropriate or acceptable, regardless of the conditions or circumstances. In addition to the relative age of individuals, we consider an imbalance of power and authority to be an important factor in the determination of our conduct. Sexual contact is not appropriate or acceptable if one person, regardless of age, has or is perceived to have significantly more power or authority than the other person.

Yes, that struck me as well, and it explains why for example pedophiles are so reviled by normal society.

Actually, it vindicates my belief that all the best relationships - family, friends, teachers, mentors, pets, etc - are those that do not involve sex.

J said...

I assumed you set this kid "straight". No cute trick is worth losing your license for, much less going to jail. his was also an open invitation for blackmail.
Why in the hell didn't the Vatican issue such an admonition to priests at least a hundred years ago? It sure tries to micromanage the lives of the faithful, so you have to wonder why this subject was overlooked.

Coop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JustinO'Shea said...

COOPsta, that is a rather loose statement, one that has been alleged but not proven. Also, articles in the GLOBE are not necessarilly true or provable.. .esp on statistics.

One of our professors has stated that from his counseling experiences, he has found in the cases of older-younger sex accusations, 9 out of 10 times the younger has been the aggressive seducer.

My experience is limited but I do remember when I was a senior in high school I overheard the conversation between 3 students how they were going to sexually seduce their coach. . .they were pretty sure they'd make it with him. . . .they were planning when and where. . .

No, I didn't hang around to watch! hahahaaaaa

Coop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JustinO'Shea said...

COOPS. . .as it stands, the first statemenr is the 'loose' one. ;-)
Why?
Because The Church never CHOSE to protect pedophiles. That is far too broad and therefore not true because not accurate. Sorry.

Much damage has been done by media and others in making that kind of statement. The flat statement "The Church CHOSE. ." is not a true statement.

Coop said...

Justin's example points out that it can go both ways. Teachers can force themselves on students and Students can hit on teachers.

GoodRock said...

I understand that "imbalance of power and authority", but I also know there are a lot of healthy relationships that did in fact begin in just such a situation, primarily between employer-employee and teacher-student.

I don't want to make an argument against any regulations, but is a blanket, rigid policy the only option when dealing with adults?