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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rape and Abuse Victims at Fundamentalist Bob Jones University Say School Counselors Told Them to Acknowledge Their Own Sin, Forgive Their Rapists, Get Over It

Posted by on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 4:56 PM


Raised in a conservative Mennonite home in rural Ohio, Katie Landry was a sheltered kid. She hadn’t even held hands with a boy when, at age 19, she says her supervisor at her summer job raped her. Two years later, and desperate for help, she reported the abuse to the dean of students at her college.

“He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin,’” Landry remembers. “And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran."

Landry ended up dropping out of college, and didn’t tell anyone else for five years.

Her college was Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., the flagship campus of American fundamentalism, which teaches a literal interpretation of the Bible and separation from the world.

That is from a long, great Al Jazeera piece on BJU's history of responding to sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations from students. It is a painful read, but if you can do it, go check it out. It is absolutely nonstop infuriating, especially when it covers a certain mode of religious thought that cannot possibly be healthy and helpful to humans:

Landry didn’t know the word rape; she only knew adultery, and liked the man’s wife, she said.

According to emails, Berg also advised Sarah to call her rapist and ask for forgiveness. Sarah said Berg told her that if she didn’t forgive, God wouldn’t be able to “use her."

Berg said her eating disorder was “a lifestyle of sin,” and Julia graduated believing “God has spit me out,” she said. Seven months later, she says a co-worker and Bob Jones ministry student raped her. She thought of him as “the tool that God used to punish me.”

Thankfully, the one good thing is that this piece comes in the wake of BJU itself addressing the problem, by asking an outside Christian nonprofit to come investigate and analyze their past history and figure out how they can do better, which is an important step. But still, whoa that is a hard read.

Dear The World: This shit is not okay. Thanks, Everyone.

Via Christian Nightmares


Comments (9) RSS

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Knat 1
Oh man, what a great lead-in for the article. Thank you Anna, that made me laugh.

And yes, after reading through the article, I am quite upset. But rather than go on an "internet tough guy" rant about this cultish "university" and its staff, I will say that I'm disappointed that Sarah has yet to realize she needs to end the first abusive relationship she was forced into: the one with the imaginary friend that condones all the abuse she's received.
Posted by Knat on June 19, 2014 at 5:50 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 2
I can't believe I never thought of "B.J.U." before.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on June 19, 2014 at 6:28 PM · Report this
ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ 4
@3: The Old Testament rules on such extramarital sex are substantially more humane than you claim.
In the case of a betrothed woman, the rapist is put to death regardless of circumstance. The woman is put to death as well only if it is clear that she was complicit and did not attempt to resist; the letter of the law is that she is guilty if she was taken inside the city (i.e., where she would be heard if she had cried out, and she did not cry out). Otherwise she is innocent.
With regard to a non-betrothed woman, the man must pay her family the bride-price regardless of whether her father consents to allow him to marry her. If he does marry her, he is not allowed to divorce her and must provide for her for the rest of his life, which in ancient times amounted to imposing a huge financial burden on him.
These laws are certainly inappropriate for today's more advanced and enlightened times, but all the more reason to condemn BJU for being more restrictive in sexual mores than monotheistic semi-nomadic Bronze Age tribefolk with a fixation on ritual purity.
Posted by ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ on June 19, 2014 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Would it be victim blaming to say this is exactly the sort of thing she should have expected from BJU?
Posted by GermanSausage on June 19, 2014 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 9
I'm shocked - SHOCKED - that this sort of thing happens at a religious "school!"
Posted by Urgutha Forka on June 19, 2014 at 9:10 PM · Report this
Hernandez 11
Umm...I recall reading a few months ago that the GRACE investigation was shut down (or more accurately shut out) once BJU realized that they were going to have a serious problem on their hands. Look it up. There is no bright side and nothing is changing there.
Posted by Hernandez on June 19, 2014 at 10:38 PM · Report this
Sandiai 12
I wanted to bring @10 into the light:


Thanks, UF. Yours is a welcome interruption.

The origin of rape culture is religion.

Religion is the tool created to make culture, good or bad, eternal - the past revisited perpetually on the present and the future.

Posted by Sandiai on June 20, 2014 at 4:01 AM · Report this
venomlash 13
@7: One, if it is literal, it's not an interpretation, by definition. Two, I'm talking about a literal reading of Deuteronomy, you idiot. Quoting DIRECTLY from the King James Version:

"If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die: but unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: for he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days." (Deuteronomy, 22:23-29)
Posted by venomlash on June 20, 2014 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Safety is a must! we must protect ourselves from sex offenders, they can be anywhere or anytime. We can never predict when they will attack us. Protecting ourselves from sex offenders is our own duty. I am suggesting you to use this application
Posted by coljan on June 21, 2014 at 5:20 AM · Report this

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