Conservative Christian colleges across the United States have taken it upon themselves to conduct rape and sexual assault investigations, which have transpired into a ferocious game of victim-blaming and PR cover-ups. The administrator’s “investigations” have left many students feeling more traumatized than before they sought assistance.
The issue is that these institutions are not legally bound to comply with federal laws intended to address rape. They have opted out of receiving federal funding, which makes them exempt from Title IX requirements regarding sexual violence. “Title IX says schools must hold a separate investigation independent of a criminal investigation to ensure that victims can change dorms and class arrangements, get campus restraining orders, and receive help filing a police report if they choose to do so,” states New Republic writer Kiera Feldman.
Patrick Henry College in Virginia is one right-wing private Christian school that prides itself on not accepting any assistance from the government in order to not comply with Federal regulations aimed at student safety, education or financial assistance. The school’s website states that “in order to safeguard our distinctly Christian worldview, we do not accept or participate in government funding.”
The Dean of Patrick Henry College, Sandra Corbitt, has taken it upon herself to conduct investigations, as many other unqualified administrators have done at fundamentalist universities. One victim remembers Corbitt stating that “it’s my job to poke holes in your story. I have to make sure that you’re not lying to me…I don’t think you’re wholly innocent in this situation.”
The logic, or lack there of, goes as follows: A man’s temptation to sexually assault or rape is seen as natural in a world full of temptation. The administrators of these universities have harassed students and subjected them to rounds of questioning, sometimes addressing clothing or asking whether the student has been involved in other sins, such as drinking or drug-use. A Dean from Bob Jones University told a female victim “we have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.”
The typical mindset at institutions like Patrick Henry College and Bob Jones University is that a woman’s primary purpose in life is to have children, serve God, and serve her husband, no matter what future career aspirations she holds.
A hugh emphasis is placed on purity, which can end up destroying a woman’s feeling of self-worth once she has been assaulted. One chapel lecture compared women that have had sexual contact before marriage to used cars, with the main message being that “you want to be a Porsche.”
These are the campuses that are meant to generate the future leaders of the GOP – men that have been raised in a world where they prevail and women serve.
Chandler is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.