Rape Victims: Bob Jones University Called Us Sinners

Students asked to find 'root sin' that 'caused' their rapes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2014 11:52 AM CDT
Rape Victims: Bob Jones University Called Us Sinners
Bob Jones University's campus is seen in this file photo.   (Wikimedia/John Foxe)

Rape victims who turned to Bob Jones University for help often wind up getting told to repent, an al-Jazeera investigation has learned. Five former students told the network that they'd been horribly scarred by the counseling they received at the conservative Christian school. Their stories include:

  • One woman said that when she told then-dean of students Jim Berg about her pre-college rape, he asked if she'd been "impure." "He said, 'We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape,'" she recalls.

  • Another former student says her counselor, Berg's wife, Pat, told her to ask her attacker for forgiveness, and said her trauma was her choice. "I remember her looking at me and saying, 'You know that the nightmares are your own fault, because you're choosing to replay pornographic thoughts in your mind.'"
  • Another former student says she was raped by a fellow student. The attacker was expelled, but then allowed to return three semesters later. When she told an administrator she was afraid, she was asked if she'd want to prevent a "Godly man" from getting an education to "serve the Lord."
BJU has asked the nonprofit group Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) to investigate its handling of sexual assault, and so far more than 100 people have come forward to talk to the team. But Pat Berg said through a school spokesperson that the student's accusations were "patently false." Jim Berg is no longer dean of students, but remains on the faculty. Click for al-Jazeera's full report. (More Bob Jones University stories.)

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