Earlier this morning, GRACE released a 300+ page report detailing the findings from its investigation of how sexual abuse was dealt with at Bob Jones University. The report is exceedingly thoughtful and thorough. It will take much time to digest and analyze what it all means.
However, even a cursory initial review indicates that: (1) sexual exploitation is a very significant problem facing students at Bob Jones University; and (2) Bob Jones University has failed it students in compassionately and constructively responding to this problem.
Here are some of the statistical highlights from the report to give a sense of the scope of the problem at BJU:
- Of the Investigative Sample, 33% identified as survivors of child sexual abuse, 16.8 were survivors of adult sexual abuse, and 6.6% were survivors of both adult and child sexual abuse.
- In over a third of the cases of sexual abuse disclosed in the investigative survey, the alleged perpetrator was “affiliated with BJU in some way during the time the abuse was reportedly committed.”
- Of abuse victims who had not disclosed their abuse to BJU, 55.8% “reported that BJU teachings and practices towards sexual abuse were a factor in their decision not to disclose.”
- 47.5% of those surveyed described BJU”s response to abuse victims as “Very Hurtful” or “Somewhat Hurtful.”
- 61.7% of abuse survivors reported that BJU exhibited “Blaming and Disparaging” attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse.
- “In more than 65% of cases . . . .someone at BJU was aware of the abuse having occurred. * * * * Most cases of known abuse reportedly had come to the attention of an administrator, faculty member or counselor.”
- Nevertheless, of abuse victims surveyed, only 7.8% said that BJU had encouraged or assisted in a police report.
- Instead, 47.0% of abuse victims surveyed reported that BJU personnel either discouraged victims from reporting or directed victims not to report to the police.
Let’s hope that Bob Jones University, similar institutions, and the public at large take the time to reflect upon and learn from this reports so we can enact more effective abuse prevention policies and learn to better support our brothers and sisters who have been abused.