In one of the single most disgraceful and irreprehensible revelations of our time, a report finds that the officials at Bob Jones University told victims of sexual abuse that they could not report the crime. They harbored the attackers, and chastised the victims.
Bob Jones is an evangelical Christian institution located in Greenville, South Carolina. For decades victims of sexual abuse were taught that it was their fault. They were instructed not to report the incidents to the police because it would cause harm to their families, their church and to the university.
With campus rape becoming an issue which was receiving increased exposure, Bob Jones University took what they are calling proactive action. They requested an independent ministry to investigate the way the university handled sexual abuse on its campus. This ministry, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or GRACE, released a report Thursday which began in November 2012.
The report unveiled a cooperative spirit throughout the university which condemned the victims and defended the offenders. A confidential survey of 381 students who volunteered response, both past and present, revealed that 56 percent were aware of how the school addressed charges of abuse. Of the 166 individuals who claimed they had been abuse victims, more than half charged the university with attempts to discourage police involvement.
A singular individual who sought counseling from university officials recounted her experience to GRACE Representatives. She recounted the fact that she was sexually assaulted by her grandfather between the ages of six and 14. A counselor responded to her by saying, ‘did you repent for your participation in the abuse?’ He further placed the majority of the blame on the victim; ‘it’s your fault and you tore your family apart.’ He further stated that ‘you love yourself more than you love God.’
The result of Bob Jones’ own abuse of those who were attacked on campus was a complete loss of faith by many of the victims. Many reported that they had lost all faith that there was a God who loved them.
Bob Jones is unique in the fact that most universities deny the extent of sexual assault on campus. They consistently blamed the victims.
Although Bob Jones had instituted the investigation by GRACE, when the findings resulted in certain severe damage to the institution and its Christian doctrine, Bob Jones University changed its position. They fired GRACE in January of this year. Fueled by public opinion and the support of both students and alumni, the investigation resumed in February.
Criticism is not new for Bob Jones. The university’s extreme views on Christianity, and its denial of the rights of groups opposed to its doctrine, is widespread. This exposure of its lack of respect for its female population is indicative of positions which deny human rights and the equality of women within the institution.
Religious extremism is responsible for the majority of the world’s problems. Far too many Americans would place accusations totally in the hands of Muslims for the present condition of the world. The truth extends reality far beyond a single religion; a single belief.
Christian extremists such as those at Bob Jones University are as detrimental to the American way of life as Islamic extremists such as ISIS or Al Qaeda. Prejudice, racism and bigotry are forces which can destroy the United States. Denial of human rights, demonstrated by nearly a century of inaction and misogynist attitude by Bob Jones University, is more detrimental to the ideals and morality of our nation than any foreign country or terrorist organization which seeks to destroy our country by external means.
The moral center of the United States is to the extreme far right. This condition produces a greater danger to our nation than any outside force.
President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, once stated the ultimate truth in a speech. He stated the fact that no outside force will ever destroy the United States of America. If and when it is destroyed, it will be from within.