I've tried to keep the focus of this blog on Canadian matters, but I want to make a slight diversion to include this article, since I feel the issue is one that affects us, and that we must be more cognizant of before it becomes our downfall; Canada may be considered a pathetic character by the rest of the world, but in our fight for greater relevancy we must guard against become a tragic figure. We shall not be Icarus.
To set the back-story; it is a huge industry to send Westerners overseas to teach English, since speaking English is considered a valuable asset in many countries. Just this fact alone should make us aware of the opportunity for exploitation. Many Americans consider people who do not speak English to be less intelligent, which is a failing on their part, fosters the notion that it is "right" that people should speak English, and if they do not then it is "their problem". From this precarious imbalance comes the following situation; a young girl in the Ukraine was attending an English language class taught by an American lawyer. From early transcripts of their discussions, she appeared to have a rough friendship with her teacher, reminiscent of the usual sort of teacher-student relationships that are common everywhere. During these he made statements (language warning) about his students and the Ukraine such as:
"This place is so monumentally fucked up it deserves whatever bad things ever happens to it"
“why are all you ukrainians so fucking stupid. and what was the bullshit about not taking the test, i give a fuck if your dumb ukrainian ass takes my test, i don't give a fuck about all of you (…) in fact, fuck you.”
“one more thing you dumb bitch, you and her, are out of my class on thursday, you do not set foot in my company again or i will personally call the cops for you trespassing.”
She complained about his behavior, but graduated and, like survivors should, moved on. However, he was her neighbor, so she could not simply evict him from her life. At the beginning of October, on the 9th, just before noon, she was returning home with groceries when he was returning home from his jog and he beganto berate her for being Ukrainian, then began to hit her, threw her to the ground, and spit on her. An elderly lady nearby yelled at him to stop but he told her to "shut up stupid cunt", and tried to drag her inside his home, repeating "ugly things of sexual kind". At this point it becomes a bit confused, her English is not perfect, but he left her outside and she went to report to the police, who asked her why "he only pushed you, why did you call police"? and various other admonishments. They told her that the man would sue her since she was leading him on to get American citizenship. After three days she signed a paper saying she "refuse from claims" and left to rebuild her dignity.
She wonders on her website "Why do we tolerate foreigners, who insult our land, our nation, our history, our gains?" and "why do we keep bowing to everything western?". That we could allow this travesty to continue is unforgivable.
In a handout by Compass magazine in March 2009, the teacher states that he likes working in Kyiv because "the girls are beautiful" . In that same handout there is this joke:
A wise schoolteacher sends this
note to all parents on the first day of
school: "If you promise not to believe
everything your child says that
happens at school, I'll promise not to
believe everything he says that
happens at home."
What kind of an environment are we encouraging here?
I have no proof. I have no police reports. I have no information other than what has been provided by the student. Why? Because there appears to have been no investigation, no due process, no international outrage that an American could abuse his position as teacher so grossly as to threaten her with a lawsuit if she reports a crime that over in western society, we would be disgusted by. Why is this being buried? Because he is expensive. It would cost too much to train and bring another one over. Her dignity and safety is worth less than the cost of another English teacher.
Can you recognize the pattern of his behavior? He was angry and ill-mannered online, then apologized; he attacked her and tried to drag her inside his house, then phoned her and apologized. This, for anyone not familiar, is the cycle of abuse. Abuse, then what's called a honeymoon phase, when everything seems better. But the abuse will escalate and if we do not address this issue now, the next news report will be more severe. Abusers almost never stop on their own.
What if she's lying?
There's always that possibility. We should not allow ourselves to believe the victim in every circumstance since it will be eagerly exploited, such as the case in my own town of Morinville where a teacher was accused of sexually touching some students, who was cleared of all charges, and it is widely believed they made up the stories. I feel these incidents should carry heavy sentences for the liars. But we will not know if she is lying or not until an official investigation can be held, and it looks as though there will not be one, which does not look good. However, she also does not divulge her name, which does not look good either.
One thing is for sure; this needs to be looked into. And given that a month has passed already, this needs to be looked into as soon as possible, as the evidence disappears day by day.