There have been some unfortunate events occur at my dear Christian college. I recently read articles about a sexual assault that occurred either on campus, or close by, (details were not specific) and the incident involved ACU students. Yes, sexual assault happens on Christian campuses, but sadly, the reactions of the campus are not as “Christian” as one would think. Usually, most people would side with the victim and support him or her. But with this case, for instance, there were a lot of comments blaming the victim and accusing them as being a “liar” and “wanting attention”.
This is NOT okay. As Christians, we should not be going around trying to blame the victim for this incident. It certainly is not the their fault for being attacked or raped. It’s not because they were wearing something provocative and were “asking for it”. They were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. And sadly, that’s how it goes.
My university life group got together to discuss these occurrences because it is actually a pretty big issue here. We talked about why we think sexual assault is a big problem, why no one talks about it or confesses that it has happened to them, and what we need to do to help end it here.
We said that it’s a big “unknown” problem at ACU because no one likes to talk about how sexual assaults happen at a Christian University. We would like to believe that everyone here is a Christian and is living their life for God. We would like to believe that no one could be capable to commit that kind of crime, but that is not the case and, deep down, we all know it.
No one likes to come forward and admit that they have been sexually assaulted or that they were the ones who assaulted someone else because no one likes to talk about the dirty part of their lives. In most churches, there is an invitation offered at the end of the service that invites anyone down to the front to either ask for prayers or support, to be baptized, or to confess a sin or struggle. The church says that we are this forgiving community who accepts any and everyone, but after someone does come down to the front and confess something and the whole church prays over them, we get in our cars and say “Wow, didn’t know so-and-so struggled with that… Who would have guessed?” We can be so judgmental. And we don’t intend to be, but that is just human nature. So no wonder no one wants to come down and confess his or her sins. Who wants be judged by a church!? Now, that’s not every single member of every single church, but it does happen.
I also asked myself why people think they can get away with sexually assaulting someone. Do they believe that by saying they are “Christian” give them a sense of “confidence” because they think that no one will blame a Christian of rape? When you think about it, there are a lot of crimes associated with church leaders and church affiliates who believe they will get away with it because “they have God on their side” and that no one will suspect a Christian leader. I don’t really know how to approach or handle this question but it is something that has been stuck in my head since our university group discussion.
So what can we do about this? How should Christians handle this? How can we help the victims? How can we help the attackers? These are all very hard questions to ask.
Obviously we need to be there for the victims for support and a shoulder to cry on. We shouldn’t ask questions or for details. We just need to show them we love them.
We need to pray for justice, and for God’s hand in handling the whole ordeal. We shouldn’t ask for the attacker to be convicted or for anyone to get what he or she deserves, because we do not know the whole story. We will never know the whole story. We should ask for peace for both sides and for God’s will to be done.
I know that this barely touches on the heavy subject of sexual assaults, but I hope that this encourages you to think and to be challenged to step up and be the voice for others. We cannot turn a blind eye to these situations!