Shining the light on abuse within the church.
When I was approximately three years old the parents of the man who would later sexually abuse me were informed that he had been abusing two other young girls. Embarrassed to contact their local church his parents called Bob Jones University and asked to speak to someone in their counseling department. They fully trusted The University as a training place for Godly professionals. Someone was sent to the offenders home, someone who his parents only remember as "a big guy in the their Counseling program". After talking to the offender and his parents, the man sent from BJU advised them to have the offender and the victims go forward in church and quietly repent of their sin during the invitation. The offender's parents then told the victims this was to be the last time they spoke of the abuse.The abuse stopped for a few months and then resumed. I suspect that during this pause the perpetrator began abusing me but I was young enough that the memories are very clouded. I do clearly remember when he began sexually abusing me nine years later as I entered puberty while he lived and worked in a Christian reform home for "troubled teenagers".Bob Jones University is fully responsible for spreading and perpetuating a culture of shame and cover ups among the churches who support them and who are staffed by the Christian professionals they train. Enough is enough. Do Right BJU.
I grew up in an ultra-conservative Christian environment that did not encourage openness of mind or questions. I was molested by a church leader while an adolescent. At the time, as a child, all I knew to do to cope was to numb out emotionally, and bury my thoughts and feelings. And keep quiet. When I got angry at the man, I was chastised for not being respectful of a man of authority. I did confront him a little later on as a teen and asked him to leave me alone, only he just continued coming after me. I was a smaller person and he was a big man. I gave up then, not knowing who could be trusted. I was glad to escape when I went off to college at BJU. But memories of molestation began creeping in after abuse was mentioned in a psychology class. A friend, seeing I was troubled, came to me and asked what was wrong. She was the first person I ever told of my years of abuse. She went with me to the school counseling office. The counselor didnt know what to do with me when I told her I had been sexually abused, so she sent me to the Dean of Students. He took out his Bible and read me a portion of Leviticus. To this day, I don't understand why he did that. That's the help I got at that time. A year or so later, when I was home again and in fear of further molestation, my pastor and his wife dragged the truth out of me. When the man did attempt to come after me, I got the guts up and called my pastor. I wanted him to come get me right then, but he said to meet him the next day. That was the longest night of my life. The pastor confronted my abuser, and had us meet together so the man could apologize. And that was the extent of help I got then. I didn't even know that such a thing should be brought to the authorities. Abuse was not talked about in the Christian environment I grew up in, and this environment considered itself above the law, not accountable to it. When I finally got help through a Christian counselor in my late 20's, I realized how messed up I was from the abuse, and the lack of help I got from the trusted adults in my life. I had Post Truamatic Stress Syndrome, I had no awareness of my self, and was totally out of touch with my feelings, since I had spent years keeping them buried, lest I be confronted with something too big for me to comprehend and process all alone. Early in my counseling, I realized that the law should have been brought into the situation. I called my home state's District Attorney's office, only to find out that the statute of limitations had run out. That was the hardest phone call I have ever made in my life.I spent years in counseling, processing all I had to work through as a result of 7 years of being sexually molested. It was at times excruciating emotionally. At times I just shut down. Through it all however, I learned who God truly was, not the image that had been taught to me growing up, one of cold judgment and heartlessness. He is a truly personal, caring God that meets us where we are, Who sees our every tear and fear, Who walks with us through the valleys of terror as one like me, an abuse SURVIVOR, faces the unknown, dealing with all that is encompassed in the healing porcess of living beyond sexual abuse.
My father-in-law babysat Bob III back in the 50's. They remained friends throughout the years, sitting together at dinners at the Dining Common, Vespers, Artist Series, and other events on campus....until 1992. That's when my wife and I left school because we were pregnant. Bob III never spoke to my in-laws again after that. The next event that came up where they normally had seats next to each other, Bob III sat 3 rows behind my in-laws. Afterward, my father-in-law attempted to speak with Bob III, who turned his back and never acknowledged my in-laws. They never spoke again after that. We got the same treatment from the church that I grew up in. We approached them for counseling, and possibly a request to be married there. They met us at the door, turned us around, and marched us right back the way we came. Needless to say, I have a bitter taste in my mouth for those institutions and their leaders.
When I was student in 05-06, there was a student (we'll call him Glad Cheiser) who had worked his way up through the system and was in his first year as dorm supervisor. Previously as a hall leader, Glad quickly earned himself the reputation of being a hard-nosed, demerit-loving disciplinarian who rarely, if ever, showed mercy to his fellow students. As dorm sup, Glad's rep quickly spread around campus as his new powers made him a force to be feared on campus.Within a few months of his first year as dorm sup, Glad was removed from his position and relocated to North Carolina overnight so quickly most students had no idea he was gone. As students discovered his absence, questions arose and everyone wondered what could have happened.As the truth started to come out, we discovered that Glad had been in a sexual relationship with a minor - a minor in BJAcademy that was under his authority according to the BJU system. Ignoring the facts that Glad should have been arrested and tried for statutory rape and BJU needed to address a system that had aided in the sexual abuse of minors, the BJU administration hushed the situation; sent Glad away to another IFB institution that would keep it quiet too; and refused to address the matter with current students which allowed rumors to circulate unabated - including rumors that attacked the victim by questioning her character, family and spiritual life.Within two years of this incident, Glad had been relocated to yet another IFB institution where he was immediately placed in a position of power over minors as if his previous offense had never happened.Currently, Glad is still working with minors in an IFB church and is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off at any minute...Besides the obvious problems with the way this situation was handled by BJU, the most alarming part is the ease and preparedness with which BJU handled the situation...as if it wasn't the first time. This incident opened my eyes to the abuse and manipulation that is seemingly commonplace in BJU and the greater IFB. Until either of these organizations make a concerted effort to right these wrongs and correct a system that perpetrates abuse and aids abusers, I will do two things - I will never consider their message and spread this one to as many people as I can because this problem goes much, much deeper than incidents of abuse. It proves BJU is guilty of a mindset that defies the laws of God and man to perpetrate their ideology that uses those exact laws to control their constituents for BJU's financial benefit. Rarely will you ever see a better example of hypocrisy!
I was molested at Bob Jones University when I was 13 years old so it is very important for parents to keep an open dialogue on this. When I told of the abuse (when I realized what had happened and it came back to my conscious awareness) 3 years later, nothing was done about it to my knowledge. They certainly didn't help me. I was afraid I would be blamed for it if I told and now I am almost certain I would have been. I was trapped and put in a situation no child should have to go through. It is never the child's fault! Children don't understand sex especially in this environment!
I went to an independent Baptist church for several years run by a pastor/alumni of Bob jones university. References in sermons if not complete sermons were regarding the role of the wife. I was emotionally and mentally abused by my husband because of this "trickle down" message that a wife is totally submissive to her husband. During this period I spoke on numerous occasions to this pastor about my husband's behavior only to be dismissed. I was informed many years later that a fellow member called the same pastor. With facial bruises this bju graduate dismissed her and commented her husband is the head of the house. How sad. My husband has died but not before committing as I see it adultery. He moved his elderly mother into our home. I became the other women. I was, as usual , berated . During this time he was retired and I worked full time to provide for our family. Eventually his first daughter from his previous marriage continually manipulated her position. She stole done of my limited jewelry. My husband insisted I take a small pension I obtained and cash it in. He squandered the money for his daughter's needs. She was 43 years old. I took on an extra part time job primarily to keep a distance between us. As usual he expected to be the controller of the money. I never received a dime of the extra $11,000. His daughter did. He died and left myself and our 3 children with nothing but his mess. I was the "perfect submissive" wife and I got raped. I wrote the pastor of that Baptist Church a letter. I did receive a response nor expected. Bob jones is Warren jeffs. I will survive but the scars will only heal when I am with my Lord.