Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bob Jones Uni Abusers - It's Not Just The Catholics!

Boz Tchividjian
Sex abuse report: Bob Jones University fosters culture of victim-blaming | Guardian 11 December, 2014

According to a report by GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), an non-profit Christian organization headed by Billy Graham's grandson and Liberty University Law Professor, Boz Tchividjian, the Protestant Evangelical Bob Jones University was even worse than the Catholics when it came to sexual abuse of students.

Bob Jones University has seen a spectacular decline in admissions in recent years as disbelief gains ground in the USA. This may not be disconnected with their desire to clean up their act, hence the commissioning of this report, albeit the moment of panic when they sacked GRACE only to reinstate them last January.

The report catalogues systematic sexual abuse of students, actively facilitated by a policy of blaming the victims, piling guilt and shame on them and discouraging them from reporting it to the police whilst abusers were left to carry on their abuse.

It states:

The following are viewpoints from individual survey takers and their comments related to BJU teachings and practices that inhibit abuse victims from disclosing their abuse:
That a woman who was raped or sexually abused somehow brought it on herself. That it is not acceptable to talk about sexual abuse. The cause of Christ will somehow suffer if news of abuse gets out into "the world".

Abuse victims are considered "Second-rate Christians."

Women and girls are taught they must "confess" the part of sexual abuse they enjoyed, that they probably enticed the abuser.

I was abuse from the ages of 6-14 by my grandfather. When I went for counseling I was told, "Did you repent for your part in the abuse? Did your body respond favorably? If it did then you need to repent. You're bitter and care more about your pain than the salvation of your family. You should never have gone to the police because it tore your family apart and that's your fault. You love yourself more than you love God and that's why you're struggling." And on it goes.

I would like to add that the vast majority of those who reported sexual abuse of any kind were immediately disbelieved until it was proven, and many time even then, they were viewed as having suspicious motives for seeking justice.

[...]

Specifically, 47 percent of survey takers who self-identified as abuse victims stated that BJU personnel either directed them not to make a police report or discouraged them from doing so. These survey comments relate to the issue of abuse victims being discouraged from making police reports:

Victims heard, consistently, from chapel speakers and faculty/staff, that abusers should be forgiven, that they bore the sin of bitterness, and they should not report abusers.

[D]eal with your "sin;" keep knowledge within the church.

Its (sic) best not to make a big deal out of this for the good of the school.

A person in administration who knew that I was assaulted by a preacher boy stated that I would destroy this godly man's education and future if I reported his crime.

I received a slip in my P.O. [Box] to report to the stage following a specific chapel service. At that time Drs. Bob, Jr. and III told me that they were sorry such a thing happened but that now I had the choice to honor God by my response and not be selfish in sharing the experience with others and gaining inappropriate attention for the school.

Pages 33-34

At one point during their investigations BJU apparently panicked and sacked GRACE, only to re-instate them a few weeks letter after a frank exchange of views. This is lightly skirted over in the report, rating a mere mention in a single paragraph:

On January 27, 2014, Bob Jones University delivered a certified "Notice of Termination" to GRACE, which immediately and abruptly terminated the independent investigation. A few weeks later, BJU representative met with GRACE representative in Lynchburg, Virginia for the purpose of addressing the termination. after two days of candid and productive discussions, BJU retracted the termination and reinstated the contract with no changes to the original engagement agreement. During the period of termination, GRACE also received also received new complaints. After the reinstatement, GRACE conducted additional interviews with recent survey takers and completed all remaining interviews with BJU personnel. The investigation phase officially ended June 15, 2014.

Page 20

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. I wonder what it was that so spooked BJU and what GRACE threatened them with revealing if they didn't reinstate them. Maybe no change in the terms of the contract, but that, of course, doesn't preclude tacit 'understandings' of one sort and another.

Bob Jones, Sr.
Bob Jones University was founded in 1927 by Christian evangelist Bob Jones, and is a leading exponent of bible literalism, anti-Darwinian evolution, young-Earth creationism and it's recent under-cover pseudoscientific version, intelligent design.

It is firmly embedded in right-wing politics in the USA and elsewhere and actively promotes systematically misinforming children about science in public schools in the USA and campaigns for the teaching of biblical creationism as a science, despite the Establishment Clause, as part of the Wedge Strategy of the Discovery Institute to subvert the US Constitution for right-wing political purposes.

As a recipient of Title IX funding it is required by the Clery Act to report claims of sexual abuse. By discouraging students from going to the police it may be in breach of this act - an example of a Christian organization with an inflated sense of entitlement believing it is above the law and doesn't need to abide by agreements it made, either explicitly or implicitly, when it accepted public money.

This systematic sexual exploitation of vulnerable people in their care and its facilitation by the University's policies, is just another example of how piety is used as a cover for antisocial activities and how many people are attracted to religious ministry because of the trusted access to and power over vulnerable people that it gives them and the convenient cloak of respectability it provides. There is no conscious awareness of a benevolent, loving god watching and taking note and preparing to judge them by their actions. These people simply do not believe the superstitious nonsense they use to control others with.

They know as well as you and I that there is no god and that they will not face a final judgement. All they lack is the morality to recognise that they have no right to use other people for their own convenience. These people are psychopaths hiding their psychopathy under a cloak of phoney piety.

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