Rape Culture 101: “Christian” Colleges Call Women “Liars And Sinners” For Reporting Sexual Assault

rape culture

Rape culture is a the simple idea with a devastating impact. The idea is that men can’t be expected to not rape women so women have to avoid getting raped. If they fail at avoiding their assault, women are, naturally, to blame. If you feel slightly nauseated at the idea of rape culture and would vomit at the idea of protecting it, you must not be in a position of authority on a fundamentalist “Christian” campus like Bob Jones University:

BJU administrators have allegedly ignored or punished students who bring up the issue of sexual assault. Victims of abuse have claimed that school administrators called them liars and sinners and told them not to report their attacks to the police because it would hurt Jesus.

There’s a rapidly growing awareness of the depth of rape culture on “Christian” campuses across the country and it’s tarnishing their squeaky clean image. Bear in mind, these are colleges where holding hands is discouraged because it might lead to…gasp…sin:

Students are banned from watching movies on campus, drinking alcohol, unmarried handholding, and socializing in parking garages, among other various forbidden pleasures outlined in the student handbook. Any sexual contact before marriage is grounds for expulsion.

You would think they would want to expose and expel rapists but, instead, the administration told women they were to blame and to shut up. And they’ve been doing it for decades.

One might be tempted to compare the rampant rape culture on “Christian” campuses to the molestation scandals that plague the Catholic Church. Don’t. This is far worse (at least in terms of the root cause). There is nothing inherent in the Catholic religion that encourages pedophilia. The institutional nature of the Church may provide cover but the religion itself does not directly encourage it.

Rape Culture 101

Christian fundamentalism, on the other hand, literally teaches rape culture. It teaches that women are lesser beings subordinate to the will of men. Women are temptresses. Sinners. Whores. Why do you think the conservative Christians of the GOP spend so much time downplaying the severity or even existence of rape? The Bible clearly states that a woman should marry her rapist so it can’t be all that bad, can it? That is not just rape culture, it’s institutional rape culture.

Rape culture is part of the ideological underpinnings of the religious right and it explain much of the widespread sexism and flat out misogyny found among conservatives and Republicans. How could a woman ever be paid as much as a man for the same work? How dare women have sex, enjoy it and not be punished with an unwanted pregnancy? If a woman has a drink and is raped, clearly she was asking for it.

They’ve kept it quiet for decades. Will they continue to get away with it?

Nope. Bob Jones University and several other “Christian” campuses are struggling to keep a lid on how the victims of sexual assault are further abused by a system that is more than willing to turn a blind eye. They’re failing miserably and the skeletons of current and past cover ups are tumbling out of the closet at an alarming rate:

After the school ended the investigation, former alumni like Burchwell went public with their stories, many for the first time, sharing details about BJU’s twisted approach to sexual-abuse counseling. And the reverberations haven’t been limited to Bob Jones. A story published by the New Republic last week detailed allegations of mishandled sexual abuse cases at Patrick Henry College, a.k.a. “God’s Harvard,” including one instance in which a dean told a student who had been sexually assaulted in her sleep that if she were telling the truth, “God would have kept her conscious to bear witness to the abuse.”

As the pressure and accusations mount, look for the right wing media machine to swing into action defending the rape culture of these beleaguered institutes. Probably by claiming it’s a liberal conspiracy to distract from Benghazi. These “Christian” colleges are the indoctrination centers that churn out the right wing leaders of tomorrow. Can’t have them tarnished by the truth. Besides, to admit there’s a problem is to admit that the Christian fundamentalism has a problem. After all, rape culture is not a bug. It’s a feature.