Column: Victims of Sexual Abuse Blamed, Again

Valley News

Randall Balmer
For the Valley News
Sunday, January 4, 2015
(Published in print: Sunday, January 4, 2015)

Imagine for a moment — and unfortunately it’s not difficult to do so — a religious institution with a long and tawdry history of tolerating sexual abuse. Individuals in positions of authority would prey on those in a subordinate status, those most vulnerable. If one of the victims summoned the courage to report the incident, those in authority would either brush it off or blame the victim for provoking the attack.

As evidence of systemic abuse mounted, officials in charge of this religious institution promised to investigate. Those investigations, however, were half-hearted at best and even aborted when investigators came close to the truth of the matter. The institution pledged to root out the corruption and punish the miscreants. But these religious authorities were also adamant that they should handle these sensitive matters internally rather than turn the cases over to law-enforcement authorities.

By now the contours of the story are sadly familiar, and readers know that I’m obviously referring to . . . Bob Jones University.

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