On Friday March 25, 2012, “Findings of the Committee that Reviewed BJU’sSexual Abuse Policy and Its Application” was posted on the Bob Jones University website.
The policy looks pretty good at first glance. If this policy would be implemented the way it claims, there is no doubt this would be a giant leap forward. However, one of the main reasons for the giant, HMMM from Chuckles and many alumni is the fact that BJU has quite the long history of saying one thing, then turning around and doing the exact opposite.
Let’s just look at this policy as it is written for a few moments.
First of all, before this statement was live on the schools website for an entire day, it changed the wording to one of the most important parts of the statement.
The original policy read:
“Clarifying that the University will provide reasonable assistance to someone over 18 in making a report to authorities.”
When Bob Jones University’s web page was last checked the same portion now reads:
Why change the wording? Words do matter, you know.
It appears that they just moved from taking a proactive role (assisting) in helping survivors to sitting in a office chair on campus and telling (encouraging) a survivor that the survivor can report if they want. How does that play out when the survivor is 100’s of miles away from home? Has no idea where Greenville Memorial Hospital is? (Where rape kits are performed in Greenville.) Where the Greenville County Sheriff Department is … where the local rape-crisis center is?
A confused sex assault victims who doesn’t know a soul off of BJU campus and most likely doesn’t own a car. How is this “encouragement” going to flesh out in a real life scenario? What if this person who is over the age of 18, reports that they were victims at home? From another state, but have minor siblings at home who are at risk?
Now, a few other things that we here at Chuckles Travels find “hmm worthy.”
“Underserved” makes it sound as if Bob Jones University and people like Jim Berg, Tony Miller, Jon Daulton, Miss Baker, other members of the Dean of Men, Dean of Womens office, members of the administrations and Bible Faculty members such as Mark Minnick offered this service but it was not sufficient to address the needs. This is not what happened. In reality, BJU, these people listed above (and others) added to the abuse by blaming the victims and many times encouraging victims to not report these crimes. “Underserved” also tends to put the blame back on the victims, because BJU meant well, but the student victim was “Underserved.” Until Bob Jones University owns that they have failed and not use some nice sounding word such as “Underserved” how can they be expected to be taken seriously?
Who is this “mature counselor” going to be? Why the choice of the word mature, instead of licensed and/or competent? Mature as opposed to immature? Mature and Nouthetic Counselor? Mature and Licensed? Just one? Why not both male and female licensed counselors? There are too many questions that leave us wondering….
(If you think we’re just nitpicking, I assure you this wording has been used in the past by these people to mean nothing but a retired pastor who had read a book or two by Jay Adams and took a short course that made him say he was a “Licensed Nouthetic Counselor.” Nevermind that no one is ever licensed as a Nouthetic Counselor in any state after a Nouthetic Counseling Course.)
Most importantly, however, who is the ‘independent ombudsman?’ Unless this ombudsman is Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E) an organization which has successfully investigated other organizations that have failed in this area. Why should those of us who have been victimized by them, trust them to call anyone the University may appoint?
“Take a proactive role by hosting a Bob Jones University Seminary-sponsored conference for pastors and church leaders addressing the proper biblical and legal response to instances of abuse.”
Really, Bob Jones University? Your seminary is sponsoring such a conference? The same seminary where Jim Berg teaches this in his counseling courses?
No, Bob Jones it is time that you be the learner! It comes across as ultimate-out-of-touch as you can be for Bob Jones University to sponsor such a conference when you have failed so miserably in this area. We remember, Dr. Bob III’s chapel message when Chuck Phelps was still on the Board.
“Sexual molestation–it will not be swept under the rug, it never has been. It’s not the way we operate. It’s always reported to the authorities…Nobody would be kept on the Board or on the faculty who did things like that, who swept things under the rug.”
It’s time BJU invite those who are proven victims advocates, both locally and nationally, and ask those groups to lead such a conference. BJU, you be the student and just listen.
Bob Jones University you have a long way to go before you earned the right to sponsor such a conference!
Bob Jones University, if you think that these questions and many other hard questions are only being asked on this blog, you couldn’t be more mistaken. You have hurt people, over decades. You have smashed our trust time and time again. Trust from someone who has been abused is not a easy thing to get in the first place, then you have turned around and squashed that trust over and over with half-lies and outright lies. It it going to take a lot to regain the trust YOU, BJU have trampled under foot all these years. We will not stand for you patronizing us. We are survivors now. Not your victims who you can push around.