Blaming the Victim – BJU Style

In a way I’m hesitant to keep beating this drum for fear that this blog will turn into “stories about IFB rape vicims.” That’s not my intention for this site and there are already several other writers who are undertaking the task. However, in light of my post about “Destroying the Innocent,” I feel compelled to post this follow up to demonstrate that this kind of behavior is not an isolated incident but rather the result of a carefully constructed philosophy propagated by some of the bastions of fundamentalism.

Here, in sermon at Bob Jones University, Dr. Rand Hummel Demonstrates How To Blame The Victim and make her apologize to her rapist. Notice that nowhere in his story does he say that he contacted any law enforcement or even spoke to the gir’s parents. Even if he did, he doesn’t consider it important to making his main point that the real problem here is the girl’s attitude.

The real meat of the story begins about 2:30 in.

You can view or listen to the the full sermon here.

127 thoughts on “Blaming the Victim – BJU Style”

  1. Don’t miss the fact that in the first example that he gives, it’s just assumed that the girl who was drugged and assaulted needs forgiveness for getting pregnant. The sister isn’t angry at the men who raped her sister…she’s angry at the victim. And apparently the preacher agrees that the victim is to blame but graciously suggests that she needs to be forgiven. How kind.

  2. “Consider your sin…get over your plateau.” I’m really sickened. I truly believe in forgiveness but we also need healing and comfort and justice. That’s what God said.

  3. Of course the girl in the second story doesn’t feel the love and grace of God, Mr. Hummel. It seems none of the adult influences in her life have demonstrated it to her.

    Why do people want to add insult to injury? Are their nurturing instincts completely dried up? Christ became one of us, wept over us, and died for us. When someone came to him pleading to be healed, he healed them and then let them rejoice. He didn’t say “You need to deal with your attitude problems, and if you can get your heart pure enough then I might consider healing you.”

  4. OK, call me what you will but I really agree with Rand. Gasp! Not with Rand as much as with God and His Word. Look at the life of Joseph, for example. Hey his dad favored him so it is ok to sell him as a slave? Was he bitter? Maybe. The Bible doesn’t say. Did Joe get even? Well, I always thought when the brothers came to him for food it was Joe’s get even time. But was he bitter about the 13 or so years of jail time and slavery? I don’t think so. Did Joe forgive his family? I think so. Who was at fault here? Joe, his brothers or God for allowing this all to happen to him? God does not want us to be bitter about our circumstances, no matter what they are. No matter who told the lie, spread the gossip etc. THAT is grace. Am I preaching to myself right now? Yes.
    Was it right that that step father raped the little girl, no way. We don’t know if the Mom went to the police or not, but at least she got her daughter away from him. Could God have prevented it. Yes. Why He didn’t is beyond our comprehension–there are way too many stories out therejust like this and we don’t have the answer.
    But God knows. He does know the hurt. But we have got to go to Him. The teen’s bitterness enslaved her life, forgiveness gave her freedom.

  5. maria,

    Of course bitterness and forgiveness are issues when you have been victimized. Nobody is going to debate that.

    But when a hurting child comes to you and the first thing you do is tell her she needs to get her own heart right instead of addressing the issue then you are ignoring matters of justice and equity that are ALSO in the Bible.

    A crime was committed against a child and the first thing the pastor did when she came for HELP was ACCUSE HER OF BITTERNESS. Do you think there may be a problem there?

    Telling someone that they need to forgive while refusing to plead their case or seek them justice (or evidently even ask whether these things had been done) is a mockery of Christianity and a travesty of justice.

  6. “Look at the life of Joseph, for example. Hey his dad favored him so it is ok to sell him as a slave? Was he bitter? Maybe. The Bible doesn’t say. Did Joe get even? Well, I always thought when the brothers came to him for food it was Joe’s get even time. But was he bitter about the 13 or so years of jail time and slavery? I don’t think so. Did Joe forgive his family? I think so.”

    Of course he forgave them, but he certainly put them through a lot of trouble first, even to the point of deeply grieving his father. Maybe Joseph isn’t the best example to use here. 🙂

  7. I’ve heard similar sermons countless times and witnessed similar counselling situations. It’s disgusting!!! Whatever happened to preaching the whole counsel of God?

  8. I don’t even know where to begin. It seems almost surreal that this “man of God” is suggesting that an abused, molested girl go home and apologize to those who have wronged her. Bizarre…Scripturally speaking, this is eisegesis to the max. This is a perversion of Scripture. May God protect other children from the influence of this philosophy?

  9. whatever happened to: “when an abuse victim comes to you and tells you that they’ve been abused, go with them to the police and file a report” ? Maybe I missed it somewhere in there. But to go first to the bitterness vector is a dangerous tangent… by the time the victim is done being battered by your words, and by the time they have gone and done the forgiveness bit, they’ve been so demoralized that all they’ll do is think the attack was their fault. But then, that’s how it’s designed to work in fundyland, isn’t it?

    Thanks, Rand, for putting it all out there… now it’s not just a theory. Way to be a mouthpiece for the Wilds Christian Camps and Conference Centers, Rand, please… keep talking.

    Run far away from this distortion of truth… far away.

  10. Yes, she needed to repent of her bitterness, but bitterness is a private matter. It is terribly manipulative and abusive to tell a young girl she needs to apologize to her rapist because she felt bad about him.

  11. “Posted by Darrell 5th June, 2010 at 10:49 am

    And the FFF continues to be a class act.

    Situation Normal.”

    Second verse, same as the first!

  12. Hey maria, you left out a BIG part of the story of Joseph. Joseph, in fact, DECEIVED his brothers, FRAMED his brothers, JAILED one of his brothers in an Egyptian prison, the one who had been most cruel to him, all to manipulate them to bring his one full-blooded brother safely to him. Joseph did indeed show the consequences of having suffered at the hands of his brothers. But because GOD DOESN’T BLAME JOSEPH for these normal fears for Benjamin and normal disregard for the possibility that his brothers had changed, you have missed the obvious about what Joseph was doing with all that game playing between him and his brothers. I say this to all the fundies: go back and read your Bible, this time with your eyes open. Joseph was a perfect saint, but because he evidenced the normal wear and tear on his soul from the unbelievably wicked things his brothers had done to him, he would not have made a good fundamentalist.

  13. Yep, I was appalled when I heard that sermon myself. Essentially told all those poor kids sitting in the audience who were raped themselves (and there are plenty there) that they’re the ones with the problem. I really should have written him a letter. Maybe I still should.

  14. “But when a hurting child comes to you and the first thing you do is tell her she needs to get her own heart right instead of addressing the issue then you are ignoring matters of justice and equity that are ALSO in the Bible.”

    This is exactly what happens every single time with my inlaws ,who are poster children for the IFB. When we disagree about KJVOism or womens dress or whatever they will go on a tirade. They rant and they rave. They spit and scream all because we disagree on Bible versions or I wear a short not quite long enough for their liking. They’ve caused great emotional damage to my family and I over the years. We’ve finally have little contact with them, it is just to painful to suffer through these tirades.

    We have tried to mend fences with them, but when we approach them about how they behave is painful the first thing they say is “Sorry for what I said, but the problem is you’re not willing to forgive me. If you were, you woulnd’t have brought it back up!” In other words, they are not interested in talking out our differences or hearing how their words cause us harm. They feel that by simply saying “sorry” we should move on and hold our breath that nothing we say or do will enrage them again. After all it is our fault that we don’t abide by the “family standard” and therefore we are asking for it.

    I say all this because fundies don’t get it. They think they can behave anyway they want. They don’t allow for folks to go through the natural process of healing from sexual, physical, & emotional abuse. Have I forgiven them for their behavior? Yes! Have I forgotten about it? No!
    Would a person forget about the bruises and broken bones after they were physically beaten? NO! Those wounds have to heal. Saying sorry isn’t going to heal the bruises or the broken bones for the body has to go through the healing process. Even after the wounds that are seen by the naked eye are healed the victim will still feel physical pain possibly for years.

    Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. The abuser has to change his/her behavior and regain the trust of the victim. That will take time just like the healing of physical wounds take time. Sin does have its consequences. A truly repentent person will understand that and allow the victim to go through the healing process despite how painful that may be for the abuser. Others around the victim should open their arms and love them not condemn them. They should let them feel the pain they have and allow them to work it all out.

    We’ve left fundydom over 5 yrs ago and I still am learning to allow myself to feel those emotions I was told to surpress over the years.

  15. I’m convinced this is one of the reasons the IFB hates and discredits “secular” counseling. . . because secular counselors understand the importance of allowing victims to be angry and seek justice and THEN (when the victim is ready) will help lead them through any bitterness that is hindering their lives.

    The IFB knows that if their congregations listened to non-nouthetic counselors that they could not continue to get away with this mistreatment.

  16. There is a difference between righteous anger and bitterness. Fundamentalists have lost the ability to discern that difference… unless they’re the ones who are angry.

  17. “If you refuse to forgive… you cannot have the grace of God in your heart.”

    Since when was grace conditioned on obedience? I’d be hopeless if I had to earn God’s grace.

  18. It’s all about control. I have seen enough IFB dictators in 47 years to be able to say this without fear of contridiction, it ia all about control. It is all about power and the ability to wield it over the congregation, and this is most eaisly accomplished by manipulation of the most vunerable. Self-anointed, so-called “pastors” want sheep, they don’t see themselves as sheep but some sort of holier-than-the rest alpha leader over those who are spiritually “lesser” than they themselves.
    Justice is not a priority in the IFB. Control and protecting the so-called “ministry” are the priorities. The only victim the IFB leaders care about is the image and the offering. Don’t allow the image (a.k.a. “testimony”) of the ministry (a.k.a “business”) to be damaged… and never allow the cash-flow to dip below some arbitrary level.
    The IFB is a CULT peroid. They can rant and rave and act like martyrs, and claim persecution and act like a bunch of sancitmonious prigs but Fundamentalism is a CULT. Bitter? yep, I am! But that in no way takes away from the sin and error found in the Fundy Cult bunkers and the heartless power brokers who run them.

  19. Yes, exactly. Control and mind games. In order to deflect from a real issue they create ANOTHER issue with the person who has been wronged. That I was bitter and that I needed to forgive (that same verse was read to me) was the FIRST thing I was told when I approached the BJU people with a real problem. I guess the definition of “bitterness” in my case was the mere fact that I tried to find a solution to the problem. I had always thought bitterness connoted lots of emotion and angry thought years after the incident–none of which was my case. Then I was told to “just get over it since it was obviously God’s will for me.” I’m kind of surprised that Rand didn’t tell the girl that it was obviously God’s will for her to be abused. Justice is a component for forgiveness. That’s the point of the OT law. There is always a provision for restitution for losses. I know that’s a stronger biblical principle than any of the damaging counseling I received at BJ. It’s been years Nothing is better. Yes, I guess I’m bitter NOW. Thank you BJU. (sarcastically) Thank you BJU (sincerely) for helping me to wake up and see the truth of the system I had unquestioningly bought into for years. My children and I are truly being saved

  20. I despise the way Fundys always, and I mean always, talk about bitterness. I’ve heard them preach on “the root of bitterness” in Heb. 12:15 as if Christians need to be constantly on guard for it. The context of the passage is found in vs. 12 and 13 in which the writer is talking about HELPING THE WEAK!!!!! The “root of bitterness” is APOSTASY (STUDY IT OUT!!!!!) not people being angry with someone who treated them wrongly. In fact, the Bible says to “be angry, and sin not.” Jesus was angry with the money changers and the Pharisees.
    Of course forgiveness is important. We must interpret the Bible accurately, and we must preach in balance. The Bible itself DOES NOT preach about bitterness even half as much as these BJU Fundy Control Freaks!

  21. Matt: absolutely NO relation to Jim….if that was what you were thinking. I am using my maiden name shortened to protect me…however hubby, who has forbidden me to come to this site, did find out and knew exactly who Maria Berg is……and the abuse continues…
    I am by no means excusing the bad guy.
    OK then people, what would you all do FIRST if this gal came to YOU several years AFTER the horrible offense…….
    ps did not go to BJ, nor any “christian” college. My kids did and when daughter went to BJ for her masters I was worried she would come out different, but she said “Mom, they can’t change me” PTL

  22. what would you all do FIRST if this gal came to YOU several years AFTER the horrible offense…….

    You say “several years” as if that somehow is significant. In the case of trauma it’s really not, these issues can still surface decades after the events. Legally it’s not significant either unless the statute of limitations has passed, which from the description it probably hadn’t.

    1) ask her if anybody has filed a police report about her step-father’s abuse

    2) if no, pick up the phone and call the cops to report what I had learned. then pick up the phone and call her parents to tell them that I knew about this and had reported it.

    3) tell her at every opportunity that what happened to her was not her fault and that feeling angry towards her assailant is a perfectly normal and necessary part of healing.

    4) find a good, licensed, professional counselor with experience dealing with rape victims for her to speak with. Healing takes a long time.

    I wouldn’t start with browbeating her about her own “sin” in the situation. Every ministry should have a standard protocol for dealing with people who are reporting crimes, especially physical or sexual abuse. It shouldn’t be up to each individual to come up with a game plan on the fly — there should be a list of steps to follow in that situation. I believe that on a previous thread someone posted a link to the policy of the UMC. Good for them for having thought it through and written it down.

  23. hubby, who has forbidden me to come to this site, did find out and knew exactly who Maria Berg is……and the abuse continues

    Wait, are you telling us that your husband is abusing you because you read this website?

  24. I worked at the Wilds’ camp as a counselor last sumer, and I personally heard this same heresy from Rand. As most of you have concluded, he is ignoring the “heavier matters of the law…justice.” It is a sin to hold bitterness in your heart, yes. However, there’s some healing that needs to take place first before even attempting to forgive someone who has wronged you. You need to understand, process, grieve it, and have support. You can’t just dismiss your feelings as “wrong,” supress them and “do what’s right.” You don’t need to “rejoice forevermore” to achieve this.

    He also assumes that your relationship with the Lord is contingent on your performance (aka. If you don’t do such-and-such thing, you’re not *right* with the Lord). I thought Christ already took care of that at the cross. Maybe I need to roll up my sleeves and help Him a bit on my sanctification. Or not.

    I can’t believe that they allow this kind of preaching at BJU. I have chosen to dissasociate myself from the Wilds’ association because of this kind of legalism being preached every week.

  25. Wow. It’s as if, now that so many of you feel like you’ve “taken down” Chuck Phelps and Matt Olson, you have to move on to as many others as you can. What I see here is a bunch of armchair quarterbacks who instead of just moving on in their lives are doing everything they can do destroy others. Whether you intend to or not, you are being used by the devil.


  26. @MSmith: Right. The real problem is the people who talk about the problems. It’s tired old song. I’d invite you to learn a new one.

  27. MSmith – absolutely correct. I will not be comfortable until all the heresy preachers are taken down, from Bob Jones to the Wilds to the Hyles-Anderson people to Crown College. They need to learn the Bible and quit dispensing fake degrees.

  28. “OK then people, what would you all do FIRST if this gal came to YOU several years AFTER the horrible offense…….”
    The very first thing? Break down in tears of sorrow for the pain she’d been carrying all that time. After that? What Darrell said.

  29. Darrell: Thank you for your answer. This is what I needed to know. To answer your question: Hubby does some heavy mind and emotional abuse, all santioned by our pastor. I was physically dragged out of Sunday School over a year ago. You know, that happens when you dissagree with the Jim Berg book that is being used. Pastor told my husband to “do something, like get her out of here”. Hubby told me that I deserved it. Is not that what abusers say? He generally is not physical (in an abusive sense) but after being dragged out, anything can happen.
    That is why I like this site, I am still “in” fundy land and I need to know that I am not crazy! Thanks for this site, Camille’s is a good one and Bassenco’s too……..

  30. @ Maria, you are where alot of us were at one point in our lives that is why we are here. I, too felt like I was going crazy before we left. I never was dragged out of SS or physically abused by my husband EVER, but we both were suffering pretty strong emotional abuse. It took us a long time to come to the point to admit that to ourselves. Once we realized we were frogs in a pot of boiling water we got out from under the bondage of legalism and traditions of men. We ran into the arms of Christ and long to be transformed into HIs image…not mans!
    My husband and I were of the same mindset. We went through all the ugliness of leaving the IFB cult together. We lost just about every relationship we had since most the folks we knew where from our then church or were attending “like minded” churches. We were labeled as heretics and basically shunned. That is a high price to pay, but well worth it! To be free from fundyland and have a true relationship with God is priceless!

    @MS, you bet they need to be brought down. Do you realize how much damage they are causing in people’s lives? Even more important the damage they are doing to the gospel? They are wolves in sheeps clothing and they need to be exposed for who they are!

  31. I apologize for speaking to you so harshly Maria. As a matter of fact, I interview victims of clergy abuse. Often I am the first person who truly listens to them. And I always do the same thing. I cry. And then I drink a lot. Sorry, but it’s true. Oh, and I have nightmares about it for the next several nights.

  32. The faces change but the script remains the same. Same line of $%#& with a different preacher. The guilt trip is the way to Jesus. Amen. I attended an IFB school and haven’t been to church since I left 15 yrs ago. My walk has never been better. The modern church is a sham with nothing in common with the New Testament church.

  33. One would hope that these “illustrations” are merely some generic Phil Kidd type Urban Legends from fundy-land. Just some speaker wanting to make himself look good by relating some over-the-top personal story to make his point… but even if these are real stories, either way it betrays the IFB mindset of, “If you get raped, molested or otherwise abused…. then somehow or other you had it coming. and you got what you diserved, now go and apologize to your abuser and ask their forgiveness.” (before they take their tithes to another church…)
    What Compassion! What Empathy! What Pharasee-ism!

  34. What Rand Hummel is saying here is exactly what they promote and indoctrinate girls in the IFB with from the time they are young children. This is not “the exception,” but the *RULE*. Shame/blame the victim is their systematic brainwashing. I have never seen a video that spells it out so clearly…all coming from Rand Hummel’s lips.

    Every girl who walked out of that audience left feeling guilty and beaten down and those who wanted to do right went and *apologized* to their rapists/molesters. The molesters/rapists took those apologies and became emboldened to do it again and used those confessions as bully clubs over their victims heads! It’s a beautiful system for an abuser. Just beautiful.

    Now we all know/understand how two College Presidents can get to a point where they make a victim write letters of apology to the rapists/church discipline a victim/and usher her across state lines, while lying to the police. They were once the young men sitting in THIS audience and this is what they were TAUGHT to do.

    And it makes perfect sense how these men fall in love with the IFB and are loyal to BJU until death.

  35. Anyone remember when this was? It looks like one of those beginning-of-the-semester “evangelistic” services. I doubt any evangelism took place in this, um, speech, nor telling of good news in general, for that matter.

    I remember the shock I felt when someone first told me that it was okay to be angry and bitter, because we’re created as emotional creatures and that response is a perfectly normal response to being wronged or hurt, and that we actually short-circuit our Creator’s design when we squelch those feelings.

  36. @Camille. I did read the link that Dan posted. What I’m trying to say is that there is a difference between righteous anger and bitterness, but the Fundies refuse to see any difference… unless they are the angry ones. They’ll play the “bitter” card on someone whose anger is right and righteous, but if they are the angry ones, then no indeedy, they’re not “bitter”.

  37. Lets dissect his words here too. Listen carefully to even his first illustration. He says that someone put “pills” in the girls drink, then she “slept around” and “got pregnant.” He refers to what happened as her having “gotten drunk, then sleeping around.” Hello? If someone slipped pills in the girls drink, she was drugged and raped! He doesn’t even know enough to correct the errant thinking of the sister in that situation. Just pitiful!

  38. I’ll *NEVER* ask my rapist for forgiveness for being angry towards him. I’ve moved on in my life, and moved past it…..most of the time, but I will never, ever ask HIM for forgiveness. I don’t believe that God requires that of me, either.

  39. This is sad. I liked Rand Hummel because he would always preach pretty candidly about the effects of pornography and sexual sins. In my days in Fundyland, he seemed like the only one brave enough to do it. It probably wasn’t wise on his part to preach about bitterness and use the example of a rape victim, especially without clarifying what was done with the rapist or even focusing on that sin. The fact that she was raped seems dangerously minimized.

    The first example seems a little backwards. I think the angry sister needs to ask the raped sister for forgiveness for “blaming” instead. . . .

  40. PCC provides some rape-victim blame here and there as well, and not just from the pulpit.

    From [i]Life Management under God[/i], Second Edition, by Matilda Nordtvedt and edited by Beka Horton (Pensacola, FL: A Beka Book, 2002), page 11 (kind of a “how you’re supposed to live your life” book aimed at eleventh and twelfth graders):

    Begin quote:

    “1.2 Relationships with the Opposite Sex

    Guidelines for Her

    4. Dress modestly by avoiding tight, short, or revealing clothes which may be interpreted as an invitation to sexual advances. Realize that you not only endanger your own purity by dressing immodestly, but you make it more difficult for a boy to keep his thoughts pure when he is with you. You would not want to be guilty of causing him to be tempted. A girl’s immodest dress can encourage sexual advances that lead a young couple into immorality, AND SOMETIMES DATE RAPES ARE INITIATED BY A GIRL’S IMMODEST DRESS OR ALLOWING SEXUAL ADVANCES.”

    End quote. Emphasis added. I think it is pretty bold to say that a rape is *initiated* by the victim under any circumstances. Not just facilitated, but initiated.

    FWIW, I worked at PCC at the time, and I know for a fact that that last sentence was taken out by the editors during the editing of the Second Edition and was added back in at the personal insistence of Mrs. Horton herself.

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