Sex and St James Girls School

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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Sex and St James Girls School

Postby NYC » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:03 pm

The internally funded, independently chaired inquiry reports in point 5.10 ?For the avoidance of any possible doubt, I came across no evidence of any form of sexual abuse in any of the Schools.?

But sex abuse is one thing, sexual exploitation is another. Below is most of the text of a letter I sent to Mr. Townend, in the hopes that he would expand the scope of the inquiry from ?past discipline policy and its application? (Appendix 1 Terms of Reference) to current and recent allegations of a pattern of matchmaking by school administrators between recent girl?s school leavers and much older, long-term SES members. So while perhaps it is true that Townend did not ?come across evidence of?sexual abuse,? neither did he actively investigate allegations of sexual impropriety, which would have expanded the scope of the inquiry Terms of Reference he was given by Mr. Boddy and the St. James administrators.

Dear Mr. Townend,

I am an adult student at the School of Practical Philosophy in New York, a satellite of the School of Economic Science. I came to the school looking for a survey of Western philosophy, and found what I think of as an advaita Vedanta study group. Advaita Vedanta is the philosophy/religion which forms the basis of yoga as a spiritual practice. I teach and practice yoga, and was initially delighted to find what I thought of as a ?yoga Bible school,? a group dedicated to reading, discussing, and practicing advaita.

However, the dress code, which requires women to wear a long skirt to class after some unspecified point, worried me. I did a Google search for ?Leon Maclaren? and found the site, among others.

I want to emphasize that I have never myself attended St. James or St. Vedast, or been to a SES adult meeting. My own contact has been only with the New York adult school, starting in September of 2004. But since November 2004 I have been following the postings on the WATD site.

I?m very troubled by the idea that girls at St. James are currently ?encouraged? to marry men much older than themselves, and that this ?encouragement? is coercive. The school seems to have an unofficial policy to introduce sixth-form female students to men belonging to the SES, at special dinners, or on lightly supervised residential weekends. More than one recent St. James girl has written about dating relationships and subsequent marriages forming between teenage girls and their chaperones, tutors, and teachers. I hope that you will be able to investigate this.

Below is a brief index of relevant posts on the site. The SES has historically advocated a traditional service role for women, arranged marriages, and that a man should choose a wife two-thirds his own age. This sort of history seems relevant to me when evaluating whether the match-ups between young girls leaving SES-sponsored schools and decades-older SES men are exploitative. In this environment, I fear that St. James and the SES pushes some girls into marrying much older men, with little thought for the girl?s own desires.

I have no confidence that the St. James governors or Christine Betts will supply you with these posts. I hope you will be able to investigate the current St. James practice of ?grooming? further, either via private message with the posters below or through talking with current students in the fifth or sixth form.

The excerpt below is a cut & paste quote from ?SES Schools Action: Inquiry Update?

Harriet Somerville
?we were all led to believe we were prostitutes, there for mens pleasure, not our own and to serve and obey them.

Excerpts below taken from ?Just discovered this! From ex-pupil of Girls school? thread:

We KNOW the level of control the SES exerts over personal relationships- that potential couples in the SES seek guidance from their SES tutors?
There's a very serious allegation raised here which I feel is in danger of being buried: that the SES has subtle mechanisms in place to encourage girls who enter the Youth Group to be married to much older SES men.. their reward for many years of loyalty and service to the school. Even if only one girl a year goes down this route isn't that one too many?

Re: Grooming -yes- yuck! At 16 a dinner was organised with older men from the SES. I didnt get it immediatley even though there was an exact number of these weasels to match the girls, Someone asked why one man who we knew wasn't there and the answer as if it was obvious-'Hes married'. One girl got drunk and found herself in the back of a car ( consentually whilst very pissed) then I got asked out by this man in his 30's who was our chaperone in our school holiday in Italy.

Shout (Post subject: Reply to Shona Rose, on pg 5 of thread)
I did briefly encounter some of the girls at Old Boys/Girls events to ask them if they were told to marry an older man: 'Yes...take care of you', one said, bewildered, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. A different girl didn't seem to mind telling me about the sex on Foundation girl weekends, and another proudly defended it, even when it was between girls and men who were 'tutors'.

When I was in Foundation Group we were instructed that it was 'the natural law' to marry a woman 2/3 our age I think, or as the Freudian slip sometimes came out: 1/3. (maybe that was 3/4 and 1/4 -can't remember)

End excerpts
The following is a complete post from ?SEScaped? on the ?Gender Discrimination? thread:

Would like to add a few more colourful experiences on this topic that demonstrate how the ses stjames attitude towards women creates potentially vulnerable situations for its pupils.

When i was 15 I told my tutor at SES that there was an older man that I found attractive (happened to be the only man in the whole of SES who had ever taken time to be nice to me). I talked to my tutor in (what i believed at the time) was confidence - i wanted her advice and just to talk about it with someone (yes - i know it was foolish!). Within a week my father had been called in for a meeting with one of the top men in SES who had suggested to him that a meeting was set up in order to get me and the man I had mentioned together with a view to potential marriage. Luckily my father was completely horrified by the suggestion and point blank refused to take it any further. Here is an example of how a school girl crush could have turned into a lifetime nightmare.

Example 2 is a little different but in many ways more sinister and involves an older man (he was 33) outside the SES. When I was 17/18 an older brother of one of the teachers came to give us a talk. A few months after the talk I recieved a letter from him saying that he had noticed me during the talk and thought i was attractive and would like to take me out. For a start he should never have been able to access my address through the school just because his sister was a teacher. I agreed to go out with him for a meal - and we met up a few times subsequently - I did not find him at all attractive, he took me round to see his friends in order to show off that he had managed to get such a young girl, he also constantly tried to get me to have sex with him saying that many women had been very grateful to him for the experience!! Needless to say I was backing away very quickly at this point! What happened next is, I think, completely out of order. As we were coming to the end of our time at St J we had to have a leaving ball (the girls had to organise / pay for / cook for this event and then ask a man to go with them). I had not yet decided who to ask to the ball when I recieved a phone call from the same older man WHO I HAD NOT ASKED AND NEVER INTENDED TO ASK saying that of course he would go to the ball with me. My own form teacher had taken it upon herself (without consulting me) to invite him for me through his sister.

I have since heard rumours that I am not the only st j girl that this same man got involved with in this way - he told me that he found the mysterious, untouchable , innocent aspect of st James girls facsinating and attractive.

In actual fact this whole episode makes me laugh now - but that does not alter the fact that through the school I was put in a position that made it difficult for me to distance myself from this man.
The excerpts below can be found on the ?St James Girl?s school ? remembered? thread:

you have also highlighted the common practice at St James of isolating and humiliating girls by painting them as sexually precocious and therefore dangerous.

if something bad happens to you, you must have provoked it because you're female, therefore it is your responsibility not to let this happen and if something does happen then, because you're female and it is therefore your fault, you must apologise and be punished

because eventually it becomes habitual, you learn to punish yourself for your crime of getting people to be nasty to you

I always found the practice of encouraging teenage girls (who showed the correct SES attributes of course) to marry teachers twice their age, immediately on leaving school, particularly questionable. (exactly when did these relationships start - while they were still at school?).

Excerpt from page 32 of ?EXPERIENCES AT ST VEDAST (now St James) AND THE SES? [url]

I avoided a lot of the more worrying aspects of the school e.g. the Foundation group, encouragement of the older girls to marry very unsuitable men etc etc.

The SES/SOP has a history of arranging marriages between members, and of students asking tutors, level heads or heads of school for permission to marry. All of the below excerpts are from the ?SES schools worldwide? thread:

In most cases that I know of, it was the people [adult students] taking the initiative. Mostly the man, and then the lady got a 'suggestion from her tutor', although in the case I know best both persons turned to Van Oyen [former Dutch school head] and asked for a match.
But if at least one side did not have the initiative (e.g. the lady and the suggestion), it was clearly not easy to turn the suggestion down.

Note that the Dutch practice started quite a few years later than the one in London, and seems to have been less wide-spread. London was active already from the seventies as far as The Secret Cult writes, and of course Sir M was the only suitable matchmaker...

More on the marriage question ? I know that members of the School of Philosophy (SES?s antipodean franchise) had to seek permission to wed from the local head of the school, and possibly still do.

re grooming - Lots of girls have married SES men (including some teachers, youth group and senior men) who were older than them - I went to some of the weddings. It certainly wasn't disapproved of and I don't even remember any comments being made about it being inappropriate, they were very much along the line of 'isn't she lucky'. Not all the marriages have worked but that's hardly uncommon, just because you grow up and marry in SES doesn't mean you're immune to social trends and other pressures. Arranged marriages certainly happened and as far as I am aware were not successful, and I think I would be right in saying that at least two of the men involved in these moved on to even younger girls for their second marriages which have lasted far longer.

Free Thinker
As of when I left the NY school about 8 years ago, people were still asking permission from either the head or their tutors to marry. I know a wonderful, happily-married couple who didn't marry for a long time because the school said "No."
[url] ... 1&start=30[/url]

Also see ?No sexual abuse in SES/SOP?? a thread begun after the Townend report was published:

I am sorry to say that I heard many 'stories' about men in the SES offering lifts home to young women after large meetings, only for them to be molested in the back of the car on the way home.

I agree with James that it is the individual that is sick for him to attempt to physically force himself on a teenage girl, let alone that he is 'known' for it amongst the teenage girls.

To my knowledge, only one poster, ?T.S?, has described sexual humiliation as a disciplinary tactic, where a teacher used forced nudity as a form of punishment, at ?Just discovered this! From ex pupil at Girls school?

I went to St James girls school for 10years from 1981-91. As with so many others this was utter hell which still haunts me daily?

We were all 11 years old. Fooling around between class a group of girls had tried to pull up my skirt and by accident it had torn. My form teacher dicovered the tear and as a punishment made me stand infront of the class in my underwear. Having just entered puberty this was horridly humiliating. She then made all the other girls take off their dresses too. It was an age where you hadnt got your first bra yet but were no longer flat chested- I remember other's tears.. But most of all I remember the harrowing pleas of a new girl who had severe burns on her skin and had always been careful to never reveal them. She begged to not remove her dress but the teacher forced her too anyway.

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summary "Sex Before Marriage" thread

Postby NYC » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:39 pm

I've gone through the "Sex Before Marriage" thread and tried to pull out quotes from people who have direct experience of SES/St James teaching regarding this subject. The thread devolves into slanging matches in some early pages, but overall I found it a fascinating discussion of some extremely countercultural views about sex and marriage which are apparently part of a St James education.

There also seems to be a history of arranged marriages between adult members, as well as a history of match-making between the Foundation group girls and older SES members. The recent inquiry did not address matters outside of past discipline policy, and did not investigate the many accounts on this board of teachers, chaperones, and SES members having sexual relationships with teenagers in the girl's school.

At the very least, this history seems questionable to me. The present-day level of coerciveness may be lower than in the past, but how much matchmaking does the school do now?

"Guest" subsequently "Misty" started the thread with:

The SES belive that Sex before marriage is not right. discuss.

"Katy" posted Sun Mar 14, 2004
This topic is actually highly relevant for me at the moment, being 17 and brought up in St James (London branch of SES school). I need to get sorted about my opinion, at the moment I'm not entirely clear, but I can tell you what the school says about it. Apparently, when you first sleep with someone, the person you sleep with makes a mark on your 'antakarana' which is kinda like your soul I think. On a more practical level, they say that that is a highly significant and important person to you. THerefore it would make sense if the person was the person you were gonna spend the rest of your life with. On a physical level, sorry to be graphic, but the hymen has to be there for a reason, everything (except nipples on men!) has a point to it, and the hymen is a physical sign of the significance of having sex for the first time. Also having sex with the wrong people can muck you up emotionally, so its safest to sleep with someone you love (enough so they will never leave you). This all seems to make sense, but i don't see why it's wrong to sleep with someone who you r gonna marry anyway, like a fiancee, and also i dunno how i'm gonna cope about explaining to normal people my reasons for not sleeping around when i do not fully understand hem myself. Wud be great to know what u guys thinkx

Katy's teacher was speaking to a group of teenage girls.

And among everything she said, it is absolutely obvious that sex is absolutely important to one.

I don't think The imrpint on the 'antakarna' has anything to do with the incarnations, it is just a more shorter way of saying: The first person you have sex with will leave in imprint on your heart, it is better if you were married to that person, as you will always have them on your 'heart'.

"Adrasteia" Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:48 am
Post subject: Sex Education at St. James's a joke!
The course is called 'Love, Marriage and Sex'.
It consits of directions for choosing your spouse according to age and background...
"The man should be a quarter of his own age older than the girl"
...and such like.

There is one 'biology lesson' which is concerned with the genetalia, and that's it! ...

Take the spiritual aspects of what they say to mean: if you sleep with somone before you are married, ie. totally comitted it can really screw you up emotionally. 'The first cut is the deepest'. Can destabilise you. If your reaction is to try and seek comfort elsewhere, and that turns into sleeping around, it can also cause you big emotional problems as well as physical: STD's etc.
But yes, St. James sex education....interesting stuff!

There are five main principles to look at and are used as a guide when choosing a spouse..

1.the family and the its background, tradition and culture

2. the capacities, potentialities, and talents of the individuals (this includes education and 'training')

3.the nature of the individual which must be suitable for a good match (union)

4.the age factor, where the boy should be older than the girl, possibly a quarter more than the girl.

5.the wordly viability of the household in the day to day living; the sources and means to conduct a respectable household.

"These principles help provide a harmonious union. The laws set out by the wise explain the ideal. ANd we are encouraged always to reach for the ideal. There is no garantee that if all the five factors are met completely, the marriage will be filled with happiness. Nor is there the suggestion that if any factor is not adheard to, the marriage will be a disaster. Happiness in a marriage is dependant upon the decision to force all things together."

...I also do not belive that the fourth principle is mathematically correct, in the sense that the man who might have been a quarter more older than you when you were married, would not be any longer in about 5 years time.

There is an old English "rule" which states that ideally the woman should be half the age of the man plus 7 years (so a 26-year old man should marry a 20-year old woman). The man being a quarter older than the woman means that a 25-year old man should marry a 20-year old woman. That's about the same. So it's not necessarily just an SES/Hindu/evil rule. Two cultures have independently come up with this suggestion.

...I recall I'd been at the SOP for about 6 months, and heard the school leader talking about "love" being the recognition of the divine in another person - that this is what attracts us to partners, friends, people in general. I asked if this meant - theoretically - that anybody had equal potential to be a suitable spouse. The answer was pretty much 'yes', although he did go on to talk about different personalities initially attracting or repelling each other, and the male and female universal elements naturally complementing one another.

The theme was, though, that "love" occurred when two people recognised the universal Self in one another, which could in theory happen between any two people. I certainly have never heard the idea that there is only one "true" partner for each of us, except in the context that once you're married, it's for life.

"Misty" this case I am not talking about Laws set by man, I am talking more upon the point of natural laws, which no man makes, but it is just set out as it is. The 'wise' have translated what they see into words as far as I see.

The point I was trying to get over to Misty and that marriage comes from, and is a celebration of, love. Unfortunately it is clear that someone in SES or a teacher in St James (probably both) has sold them the idea of arranged mariages and they have swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Now if I was a sardonic man, I would be suggesting that it is promoted as a means whereby the sadder (and more senior) men in the SES can get themselves nice young obedient virgins to marry and boss about......but that would be just a little too close to 'cultish' behavior for comfort, wouldn't it!............However, a certain amount of waking up and smelling the coffee is required don't you think?

"Guest" presumably from context "Misty"
I am not a part of the SES, and no one in St James (not even the head mistress) has brought up the idea of arranged marriages. So I advice you to ask me politely, instead of assuming irrationaly!

My idea of arranged marriages has come from past generations of my family. Where by most of my ancestors lived in a part of the world where arranged marriages were a part of the culture. Therefore, i do not see arranged marriages as something bad or repulsive.

...the 5 tenets that were given to the "students" for picking a suitable partner to marry - and guess what - Love was nowhere to be seen.

As for arranged marriages - they were going on when I was there (normally between relatively senior male members of the SES and St Vedast and St. James girls. They may not be termed "arranged marriages", but the terms that were used came along the lines of a strong suggestion. Call it what you will, but it is the same thing in my book.

It should also be noted that in cultures where arranged marriages are the norm, the rights of women are invariably a great deal lower than the rights of their husbands. Indeed, a large amount of abuse and unhappiness is accepted and put up with without complaint. My point is that, what may be acceptable to many millions of people used to living with this inequality, is not acceptable in the western world, where we have completely different values.

I think I can say something more about St. Jame's 'arranged marriages'. In the 'old days' you'll find that quite a few of the teachers managed to get themselves married to pupils of the school. (This is only male teachers as far as I'm aware!) This was quite acceptable in the eyes of Ses, I should think it was encouraged- most pupils were in Ses which was somewhere else they would have met the teachers, but it's probably quite illegal now, but as far as I can see it's not openly encouraged any more.

In Ses it's quite customary to ask Mr. Lambi whether a decision to get married is a good one, (one of the guidelines 'laid down by the wise' indicates that asking a teacher/guru etc. is a good idea.)

I have no problem with people asking for advice on important decisions, but I feel that it's dangerous if his word is taken as law. Mr. Lambi is only human, and therefore may make mistakes, which in decisons of this weight could be very damaging. People must have a certain amount of independence to make the actual desicions themselves, after all, it is impossible for Mr. Lambi to know all their feelings and everything about them.

If people are strong enough then I think they will take Mr. Lambi's words as advice only and will be strong enough to go against them if necessary. But I am afraid others will treat it as law, which is what the attitude of the Ses will encourage, and this is what I do not agree with.

What many people term descrimination in arranged marriages is often simply recognition that men and women are different types of people, with different roles in life, an idea readily refuted in the western world but which has been applied successfully (to the advantage of everyone) among certain communities...

All the couples I know who have had arranged marriages are very happy, and I have no reason to believe that the women are (as you suggest) 'putting up with it without complaint'. Compare that to the 50% of marriages which become divorces as they are supposedly based solely on 'love' (read 'infatuation').

The vast majority of "arranged marriages" today in the west merely involve taking advice from someone who is trusted, just as adrasteia explained. Of course, this relies on the person looking for a partner being independent enough to make any decision. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with giving/taking advice, as long as it is just advice. Regarding the SES in particular, I cannot see any personal gain that Mr. Lambie can attain by giving advice, or what evil he may intend. I cannot comment on whether the marriage between the male teacher and his pupil was morally acceptable. What I can say is that they are still married, and happily at that, which is quite an achievement considering current rates of divorce.

...But I know that some people would take Mr. Lambi's word as absolute law. I am not suggesting that he is trying to be evil or gain anything from giving advice, I'm absolutely sure he would be trying to do the best for the person(s), he's just trying to help them when they come to him. But he may get it wrong, which is where it becomes dangerous. ie. He may make a decision based on incomplete facts, or without really understanding the person and their feelings etc...

...Ses encouraged marriages between teachers and pupils don't happen now, as far as I'm aware -maybe the teachers just too old! or maybe they realised that it wasn't morally acceptable to the rest of the world?

The reason why I would not comment on whether the marriage between teacher and pupil was morally acceptable is this: I do not know the specifics of when and how their marriage was decided. Yes, they will have met at school, but perhaps a relationship was only decided upon when the pupil was no longer at the school, so there was no longer a teacher-pupil relationship. The fact is I don't know.

I suppose I cannot really comment either, not being either a teacher or pupil from either situation. I am just disturbed by what the situation implies...We can be sure that the Ses aproved however- they are still in Ses! If they had got married against Ses advice they would not still be in the school, I 'know' as definitely as I can, that they would have been 'chucked out'. So either this means that is was a morally acceptable situation, or that Ses felt it was above the law in those situations.

But just to make absolutely clear that no-one has the wrong idea- the pupils were EX-pupils when they married the teachers! I don't have figures for how 'ex' they were though, will try to find out if I get a mo sometime.

Do you know the couples involved Antises?

How about this scenario: He is 23 or 24, gorgeous, intelligent, recently finished at uni, teaching in the boys' school. She is 18, gorgeous, intelligent, studying for A Levels in the girls' school. Their two families are long-term friends. They meet socially. They fall in love.

Why shouldn't they marry in due course, once she has left school?

if there never was a teacher-student relation, and they only met outside the schools and not some SES influence was at play, I see no problem.

things may have changed, but in the bad old days, it was much less about seeking advice. The way it was done was that the senior men in the SES would go to Leon M and express a desire to get married. He would then choose them a girl to persue, while on the other hand, word went down, and she would be pushed towards this man.

...these types of marriages happened a number of times and there have been a number of break-ups too. It would be unfair on the individuals concerend to start naming names. However, I am happy to summise that the success of these marriages has been no different to the general success-rate of marriages in this country.

The principle of arranged marriages is that if the 5 suggestions given earlier are taken into account, then it is more likely than not that you will be able to have a happy and loving relationship with your partner (note: that's better than 50% of today's marriages). Now since this idea seems so absurd to so many people, and because people like Alban are only too eager to say that the lack of divorces is due to the stigma attached to divorce etc., nobody has bothered to gather any statistics regarding this, which is unfortunate.

...I am a strong believer that divorce is, except in exceptional cases (such as fornication or physical abuse), unnecessary and a weak-minded "solution" to a problem. I don't know whether you read my previous message about divorce. Anyway, as I said before,

Antises wrote:It is better that the parents remained married and maintained the semblance of a marriage for the sake of their children. In my view, if parents are not willing to do this, they do not deserve to have children!

"Guest" in reference to the "gorgeous" couple - the teacher at the boy's school who married a girl studying for A levels, and in response to "Mgormez" query "Do you have [proof] or are you firing off what-could-have-beens?"

I know the people concerned.

"a different guest"
As for these marriages "lasting" - rather than showing me that these women are happy, it shows me just how disempowered they are.

I would go so far as to say that basing your decisions solely on emotions too is sheer madness. Emotion, by etymology, is what moves you away from a standard state. It is a strong instinctive feeling and, more often than not, momentary.

What is love if it is not emotion.

It is instinctive of human nature to consider those ideas which are unknown to be unreasonable, but one can only hope that people open their own eyes and discover things for themselves rather than rely on the media. There is no substitution for critical analysis of personal experience.

Indeed, there is no substitute for personal experience, but you cannot experience everything. It is for this reason that we all take on board other peoples experiences as we go through life. Similarly, we have to rely on the information given to us, by those whose job it is to get information. As you get older, the trusted sources of information become more numerous and more varied, and thankfully, you start to question some of the deeply held beliefs which you've picked up in your formative years.

Finally, we seem to have drifted onto arranged marriages in general, which was never the intention. What I (and others) were questioning, was the SES practice of pairing up individuals, giving them a few "suggestions" and then expecting them to spend the rest of their life together come hell or high water. Whilst I don't agree with arranged marriages in general, I can see how they are accepted as the norm in some cultures, but I am convinced that the SES flavour is wrong in alien cultures such as our own.

"mgormez" in reference to "Guest"s statement that he knew the gorgeous couple, and the man had never taught the girl before marrying her:

Alban says it occured more than once and there were break-ups. How many of them do you know and are you stating that they all were from different SES schools and that there never was a teacher-student dependant relationship before marriage?

For all I know you could be the headmaster of St. James, trying to spin and damage-control past events that should have never happened.

I am not saying you are less than truthful, but then, I can never hold you accountable for past utterances you made, because I don't know who made them.

How soon after the pupil left school did they get married?
Maybe it's a happy marriage, and good for them if so, but the point is- did the relationship begin while the pupil was still at school, and was it encouraged by the Ses? (I explained above how I came to the conclusion that the marriage was approved by the Ses)

Alban may know more than me. I only know of two couples. I don't think there was ever a student-teacher relationship in either case. The two men were teachers in the boys' school, so they would have been teaching only boys. I can't remember exactly how long it was after the two girls had left school. The two marriages happened at different times, and it was all a long time ago. Both couples have teenage kids now.

There has more recently been a couple who have got married about four years after the girl left school. He was for a while teaching in the boys' school between university and deciding on a different career, but they would not ever have met at school. She was in her last term in the girls' school sixth form when they met through their two families.

As for whether all this was 'encouraged' by the SES, as far as I know it was neither encouraged nor discouraged. I don't think many people would consider their choice of partner was any business of the SES or any one else. (Including us!)

The issue of arranged marriages, which has come up on this board as well, is a separate one. The cases I am talking about were not 'arranged'. There were, for a thankfully brief period, some arranged marriages in the London SES. I was around then, and thought the whole thing appalling. There were some which seem to have been fine, and some broke up. There were only a handful of them, and after a short time the whole dreadful idea was dropped. (Not that I think arranged marriages, in a culture where they are traditional, are a bad thing per se. I have know many people whose marriages were arranged in this way, and they say they are perfectly OK with it. What I thought was so wrong was that all this was being organised, not by the parents, but by Mr McLaren, the then school leader, and that the 'pool' from which choice might be made was so small. It was one of the worst episodes in the history of the SES, in my view.)

What I know is that SES promotes and promulgates this subservient and second class view of women that makes the woman both victim and culprit. SES says that women are emotional and therefore incapable and need an experienced older man to guide them...
But then the SES says that the women are in control of what men do to them and therefore responsible for the men's actions.

What I know is that there was at least one teacher who had a reputation for dating pupils and sleeping with them and then dumping them because they were sluts. Whether the gossip is true or not I don't know but it is true that this was what was said.

OTOH I don't remember ever hearing a teaching saying that men were responsible for how they treated women or that they should take responsibility for their actions where women are concerned.

I also know that it's very easy to make generalised statements about other people's marriages and divorces. And from my own experience I can say without hesitation that staying in an unhappy marriage can be the weak-minded option.

...without empirical evidence to show that love based or arranged marriages are/not more successful than each other I think it's a bit of futile argument unless you're prepared to discuss each point of view and accept that what you believe is only what you believe.

antises...To group yourself with Bella, Katy and Misty is a delusional fatasy. I at no stage suggested that Misty or Katy were indoctrinated, and I singled you out for a reason. Bella, Katy and Misty all tend to ask questions at least, but you tend to tell other people how it is.

...The whole point of the majority of the posts on this BB is the subtle, overarching influence of the SES doctrine on St James education policy and practice. Whether you believe that it existed when you were there or not, if you think how long it has taken most posters to recognise it for what it was, it might be another 20 years before you know for sure.

In my previous posts, I have never justified any injudicious matchings in SES arranged marriages. Unfortunately, I don't know enough details about them (although I do not distrust the postings on these boards, I need firmer evidence on such sensitive matters) to form an opinion. If marriages arranged by the SES are not successful, then it does not necessarily follow that arranged marriages in general are doomed to failure.

"Sallyj" Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2005
Been reading this thread with interest. In my class at St. James, about 10 girls joined the Foundation group, the rest of us were treated as 2nd class citizens for the rest of our time at school. Of those who did join at least 4 were married within a year of leaving school, mostly to men in the SES youth group. All a bit creepy to say the least. More than that they mostly worked as teachers at St. James after getting married but obviously stopped after having children. Women obviously can't do both!!!

What scares me is that many of these children are now also St. James pupils - can you imagine their broad prospective on life? Bit of the topic I know, but there you go. I know of a large number of SES arranged marriages, some more happy than others ane yes the ones that end in divorce are just never discussed. What about the teachers who had affairs? some were married at the time? remember them?

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Postby Free Thinker » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:40 pm

Thanks, NYC! I hope something comes of it.

What I can add is that when I was still in the NYC school, an arranged marriage was planned between the daughter of the fomer head of the school and the son of the current head of the school. Sounds like two kings joining their kingdoms, doesn't it?

Anyway, they were married and are now divorcing. It did NOT go well. I am not at all surprised.

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Postby Keir » Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:24 am

Rachel T & Mr Ian M (one of the first in London SES) she ran away with a younger man shortly after I think - that is to say a man more her own age. Mr M now married to Jane S who was in the girls post 6th form foundation group and regularly at Waterperry serving the X & Y groups in which M was a big cheese
Sarah Jane L & Mr H - ex-pupil & teacher
Helen W & Mr D - ex-pupil & SES foundation/teacher

Just a few examples of what we as observers thought were arranged marriages, of course it might be because they had little social life outside home/school/ses.

I make no judgements as to their happiness, only what it looked like to me.

(edited to remove surnames)

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Postby Free Thinker » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:52 am

I bet than many marriaged happen simply because the man and woman both have no social lives outside of the school.

The one I mentioned was actually arranged, and it wasn't a secret.

But for many people, when you spend most of your life involved in a religious group, you are apt to marry within that group. This isn't unique - it happens in every spiritual group.

I am reading that there was more to it a long time ago but do you think that is still happening in terms of actually arrangements and not just setting people up, which I'm sure still happens.

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