A former St Margaret’s College student says she was only 14 when her abusive teacher started grooming her, but was made to feel it was her fault.

A former student at an elite Christchurch girls school wants financial compensation after she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher.
The woman shared details of the abuse she endured at St Margarets College in a submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in care. To protect her identity the dates of when the abuse took place have been redacted.
The victim attended the school as a day student from the age of seven to 17. She was 14 when her abuser started teaching there he was 32 at the time.
She said the teacher immediately took a great interest in her, offering extra help with her work, sending her birthday cards and encouraging her to confide in him.
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She later joined a sports club headed by the teacher, and due to the sports nature the pair often spent time alone together.
When I would go out training by myself he would appear out of nowhere. To me at the time it seemed very fated […]. In hindsight, I realised he was following me, she said in evidence given to the inquiry in late September.
The abusive sexual relationship started shortly after she turned 17. The abuse would happen in the car on the way to and from sports events, and on one occasion at her home when she was sick and he arrived to check on her.
She said the teacher was very controlling and threatened her not to say anything to anyone.
There was always a real stalking aspect to his behaviour. When I was at school, he would always sit behind me in chapel services to be omnipotent. He had me under his control.
She finally ended the relationship after she went to university and realised how she had been manipulated.
The woman was concerned she might have been just one of many children and women he had abused.
Public Service minister Chris Hipkins addresses the interim report of findings by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State and Faith-based Care that was released in December 2020. (Video first published in December 2020)
In a letter sent to former students on Tuesday, the school said it became aware of the historic abuse through the inquiry.
However, in evidence presented to the inquiry, another teacher at the school, known only as Mr L, said the victim told him about the abuse about three years after she left school, and it was then reported to the principal.
The victim told the inquiry St Margarets College had failed miserably in its response to her allegations.
She claimed when she met with the principal she was threatened not to go to the media about it.
[The principal] did not offer me any support. I was made to feel like it was my fault, that I had asked for it, and she was angry at me for the position I had put the school in.
The abuse was never reported to police, the school regarding the teachers resignation in the wake of the allegations as the end of the process.
Judge Coral Shaw, chairwoman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in care. (File photo)
The woman was also shocked to learn the school did not apply to the Teaching Council to have the teacher deregistered.
There was no acknowledgement of me and no empathy or concern for what I was going through.
Mr L told the inquiry that after the abusive teacher had quit, the principal contacted other schools he had previously worked at and discovered there was a history of similar issues.
He criticised the school for not doing due diligence to prevent the offending, and being primarily focussed on protecting itself.
The victim said in her September evidence that she wanted a formal apology from St Margarets and its board acknowledging they had treated her as no longer relevant when she reported the abuse.
She also wanted financial compensation based on her permanent medical impairment and the emotional impact of the ordeal.
St Margarets made a formal written apology in October to both the woman and Mr L for what they had experienced, contacting them as soon as it was made aware of the matter by the Royal Commission, board chairwoman Di Humphries said.
It also offered them its full support, and to meet with them.
[We] would like to meet with either or both of them if they feel comfortable. Its important for us to listen and learn, Humphries said.
When Stuff asked St Margarets about the allegations, a spokeswoman said it was not appropriate to discuss the matter while it was participating in the Royal Commission process.
She also declined to clarify if the school had been aware of the abuse prior to it being reported to the inquiry.
Executive principal Diana Patchett said the school had encouraged its alumni and school community to contact them with any concerns.