In February, I reported that Bob Jones University had canceled the independent investigation into how they responded to sexual abuse. The outcry following their decision was staggering, far greater than anything I’d seen before. I believe it forced their hand to reinstate G.R.A.C.E. to finish the investigation. However, I was hesitant to hope that the final report would actually see the light of day, so I watched and waited.
On Thursday, G.R.A.C.E. released onto their website a 300-page document chronicling their investigation, findings, and recommended actions.
It’s long. If you’re not directly tied to BJU, you probably don’t want to read a book-long report. And if you are tied to BJU, you might find it pretty damn triggering, like me.
Even though I think it’s always wise to read the original documents of something of this magnitude (and I will finish it eventually), the New York Times also did an excellent article that summarized the findings and recommendations.
There’s a part of me that still can’t believe this is happening. To have another Christian organization condemn the way that rape and sexual assault counseling was handled and to suggest that the school’s most beloved “counselors” and “godly men” be banned from speaking on the topic or from having their books promoted is more than I ever hoped for. To have the media actually pick up on the story and start to show the world the fucked up environment that was my reality is even more astounding.
Bob Jones University, under the direction of a new president–the first of whom isn’t actually a Jones, released their typical, carefully worded non-apology in the same vein as their non-apology for racism. I’m not sure at this point whether to hope that things will change or not. In my experience, they’ll do something that publicly looks good, but they themselves won’t actually change. They’ll just go underground with their victim blaming.
The greatest hope I have thus far lies in the fact that this investigation has prompted a more official investigation into whether BJU can legally be held responsible for counseling students not to report crimes to the police.
In other words, for obstructing justice.
I’m excited to see this develop further. I make no attempt to pretend to value anything about BJU. And this report makes for three organizations within the circles of the IFB that have been exposed (The rape scandals surrounding Jack Schaap and Bill Gothard being the others).
Grab a seat and a bag of popcorn as the empire comes crashing down. I expect that this could be as big as the Catholic Church scandal.
Maybe my prayers to Kali are paying off after all…