Feminism

Pensacola Christian College and sexual abuse victims

crowne centre

I’ve never named the college I attended for undergrad– not here, not anywhere else online. I have never brought it up here on my blog because I didn’t want it to become about the specific place I went to college. The problems that exist there exist at most other fundamentalist colleges, and I didn’t want anyone pigeonholing me. I was also  trying to avoid the harassment I personally know comes with critiquing this college in public.

It’s been sort of obvious anyway– despite my best intentions– that I went to Pensacola Christian College. I even managed to graduate, and I was one of the nauseating people that managed to accrue less than 15 demerits a semester (although I’d completely given up by my senior year and graduated with a whopping 170 my final semester).

The reason why I’ve decided to bring this up now is that I’m going to write an article about PCC, but I need your help.

If you travel in the same sort of online circles that I do, you’ve probably at least heard about what’s been happening at Bob Jones University. I’ve mentioned how BJU fired GRACE recently, and I’ve been aware of the problems at BJU for over a year now. However, yesterday, The New Republic published an article that detailed how the same exact things have been happening at Patrick Henry College.

As I’ve been reading all of these articles, my heart has been heavy because, as a graduate of Pensacola Christian College, I know that what’s been happening at Bob Jones and Patrick Henry have also been happening at Pensacola Christian. I personally experienced a small taste of it– when I tried to explain what my rapist had done to me the staff counselor interrupted me in the middle of a sentence to ask what I had done that I needed to repent of. I also know women who have been expelled because they reported being sexually assaulted.

I am currently outlining an article that I’m hoping will be published in a major online news outlet– like the Times or the Post, who published articles on BJU. In order to do that, however, I have to have more than just my own solitary story.

I need your stories, too.

If you were ever a student at Pensacola Christian College, a sexual abuse or rape victim, and had an encounter with Student Life, floorleaders, residence managers, or the counseling staff concerning your abuse, could you please contact me? I promise that I will keep  you anonymous if you would prefer not to be named, and I will only include as many details as you feel comfortable sharing. I will do my honest-to-God best to make sure I tell your story how you would want it to be shared, and that I will treat you with grace, dignity, and respect.

You can e-mail me at forgedimagination@gmail.com

I know how much emotional strength and resilience it take to tell a story like this one, so please don’t feel any pressure. If you contact me and then later change your mind, I will respect that, as well.

Thank you.

edit: please read my comment policy before commenting.  Victim blaming myself or any of my readers, or engaging in rape apologism will guarantee that I block you without appeal.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

  • I didn’t attend any Christian college, so I’m no help to you with your article, but I want you to know you’re supported.

    God bless.

  • I read a similar German article about Catholic Churches utterly unwilling to support the victims of abuse and their family.

    They are a shame and an embarrassment for Christ.

  • Naomi

    I didn’t attend Pensacola so I have no stories to tell, but hats off to you for recognizing an opportune moment for adding to the conversation and demonstrating how this pattern goes far beyond any one institution, and is part of a larger culture of abusive power that protects predators at the expense of their victims.

  • i visited that school as a kid. i remember the hushed feeling of pressure everywhere.

    for me, it was 2 other colleges that i visited where things happened. and i’m still working around to telling. i’m so sorry this happened to you, and also proud and grateful that you’re adding your voice to exposing the rot.

  • I did not attend PCC but know a few who did and will share this on Twitter to help get the word out. This is sickening stuff and you are doing the right thing by exposing it.

    • Thank you! I appreciate you spreading this around!

      • Britt

        thank you for speaking up and speaking out. i recently filed a complaint against my own university for mistreating survivors. know that you have my support and my prayers in breaking the silence.

  • Stephanie

    I also just want to post my support for you and anyone who wishes to reach out to you and be a part of your article. Thank you for your determination and bravery. Thank you for speaking the truth.

  • I lived about an hour from Pensacola. I’d heard general stories about the college, but nothing of any use in this context.

  • Angela

    I don’t know anything about Pensacola but I have to admit that all of these discussions surrounding Christian schools and sex abuse have made me really wonder about my own alma mater, Brigham Young University. For the record I never experienced any type of harassment, abuse or assault while attending nor did anyone else complain to me about it. And yet, knowing the school’s policies and how they operate I can’t help but think that it is in no way a safe environment for victims to come forward.

    The BYU honor code forbids any type of sexual intimacy outside of marriage. If the school finds out about a violation of this type then it’s pretty much guaranteed expulsion. The only exception to this is if a student has gone to their bishop to confess and the bishop is willing to vouch that the student is sufficiently contrite and is undergoing the repentance process. However, confessing to a bishop is hardly a safe haven because he’s just as likely to turn around and report you to the honor code office himself if he believes that you would benefit from the humility of being suspended until your repentance is complete.

    Before I ever attended BYU I was at a party where a creepy guy cornered me and started grinding against me. At the time I was incredibly shy and inexperienced with men and I froze up. My body language made it perfectly clear that his advances were unwelcome. I kept backing away from him until I backed into a wall and then I placed a chair between us and rested my foot on the chair so that he could not move it away. He then proceeded to grind against the only part of my body he could reach which was my outstretched knee. At the time I was in so much denial that I thought I was misunderstanding what was happening. I was literally speechless from shock. Afterward I was consumed with guilt and confessed what had happened to my bishop. Did he reassure me that I had not sinned and that I had been taken advantage of? Nope. I was told that “It it better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.” I was told that my silence had been tantamount to consent and that I had sinned against God.

    Given this I highly doubt that if I had been raped while attending BYU that I would ever have dared to report it and may not even have been able to identify it as rape. I wouldn’t have dared confide in anyone for fear of being expelled. I certainly wouldn’t have dared turn to my bishop or the student counseling center. As I said before I have absolutely no first-hand or even second-hand knowledge of how BYU handles rape allegations but it’s hard for me to believe it’s a safe environment for victims. I applaud your efforts and can only hope that if enough people speak out then victims can finally start being heard.

    • Grr… it is so terrible that the bishop told you that!! It is so wrong that purity is held high above safety or human rights. There are no words for how horrific that is. I hope you are able to get some counseling to process what happened and regain your sense of self.

  • May God give you the courage and strength to finish this endeavor. May all the women who have suffered in silence have the courage and strength to contact you.

  • When I was Pentecostal, the only college proper young ladies would ever consider attending was a local one (which would let them attend and still live at home, natch) Texas Bible College (which has a different name now, I think; this was in the 80s/90s), which offered young women courses in music ministry OR a series of classes in how to be a proper pastor’s wife, depending on where “the lord” led one’s heart. It was a very odd place; I never heard about abuse happening there, but the recent spate of news about it happening all over these other colleges makes me realize it probably did there, too. I didn’t go to the one you’ve talked about, but I really encourage you to write this article, and will spread the word in my circles in case someone else did–or attended elsewhere and experienced the same stuff.

  • Megan

    I am an alumni who has lived through that abuse, and I did not have that experience being counseled there. I am sorry that you did. 🙁

  • Megan

    Sam, I just saw it was you. I am really sorry that you went through this there. There were bad moments of counseling there, but blaming abuse on me was not one of them. It breaks my heart that you had to go through that.

  • Reblogged this on Take What You Need and commented:
    My husband and I are going to visit friends in Kent for a couple of days. In the meantime, I want to highlight this article because this is precisely why I, too, left fundie Christian-land. Because I was hoping to deal with the adult repercussions of childhood sexual abuse, an evangelical counsellor I was seeking help from once asked me how old I was when it happened and was then quite vocally relieved that I had not reached the magical age of 16 whereby fundie pastors start blaming the under-age girls (in America) for her own abuse. Thanks pastor that really helped! Nice counselling! Anyway, this article helps reveal how prevalent and endemic sexual abuse and rape are in male hierarchical institutions. If you attended such a college, email her.

  • OTMING

    FYI and inspiration, here’s a series of articles from the early ’90s that broke the story of abuse at another Christian college and seminary. Yes, you need to get the story into secular media for any hope of stopping the abusers: http://peacetheology.net/john-h-yoder/john-howard-yoder%E2%80%99s-sexual-misconduct%E2%80%94part-five-2/

    Here’s recent research, analysis, and reflection with the benefit of 20 years of hindsight: http://ruthkrall.com/wordpress/downloadable-books/volume-three-the-mennonite-church-and-john-howard-yoder-collected-essays/

    Though I have not heard anyone say this, I think that in this case, the abuse was not really about sex or sexuality, but about silencing women who dared to challenge the traditional highly elaborated Mennonite theology of male headship by attending seminary, seeking ordination, and being as brilliant or more brilliant than young men. He succeeded, not only in badly harming dozens of individual women, but in effectively destroying a whole generation of women theologians which loss, of course, trickled down to the next ( http://youngvoices.canadianmennonite.org/articles/rememberingyoderhonestly and http://www.mennoworld.org/2013/10/14/where-are-young-women/ )

    Thanks so much for what you’re doing. Ultimately, every single woman is badly damaged by “conservative” Protestant attitudes and behavior towards women, but some bear the brunt.

  • hiddensecretsunveiled10@gmail.com

    Speaking to a 10 year old girl about her traumatic experience, I was not at all surprised by what she told me. Being the youngest daughter of a well known Pastor, she was viciously raped in their home by the Pastor’s brother. When she told her mother and father what her uncle did, they told her to keep quiet about her ordeal, as it would ruin their reputation. Well how sick and uncaring can parents of this kind be, not being bothered about the safety and the traumatic experience their daughter had to go through. This type of parental behavior makes them just as guilty as the rapist, and should be locked up. With many such cases, one wonders about the truth of christianity. To me it all just becomes like a mask that hides the truth of the bad christian behavior today.
    Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

    • Dani

      “To me it all just becomes like a mask that hides the truth of the bad christian behavior today.”
      THIS. So much this. It’s exactly what the church at large has turned into. I read a book called “The Cure” (cant remember author at the moment) and it addresses that. It’s a fake place, and those people are not really living. And they most CERTAINLY are not free in Christ, which was kinda the whole reason He came.

  • I didn’t go to Pensacola Christian, but I know people who did and my school used their curriculum. I would be happy to do another post highlighting this issue linked to yours. The more people know about this the better.

  • I attended a college much like PCC and found it eye-opening in so many ways. I was as committed a fundy as anyone could be, but have often thought to myself “I am so glad I didn’t grow up in a religious household.” Consequently, recovering from fundamentalism DOES include throwing the baby out with the bathwater because one has to go through a reprogramming process. Spiritually, many people don’t survive it because it’s so damn hard. To come to a full, realistic, intellectually-honest, and mature Christian faith, one has to spend time away from the content that constituted the old model in order to learn how to honestly process the same content in a way that doesn’t put one in spiritual bondage. It’s so sad that Jesus’ whole ministry was about this, yet we’ve repeated the same dynamics of the Old Covenant, which are spiritually-imprisoning, in the very name of the one who is the Liberator from such destruction.

    • Amen, Brother!

      I grew up in a household in which we never had “family devotions” and our only “family prayer” time was grace around the table.

      My parents attended church because they liked going, not out of any obligation. They genuinely liked the people and the Pastor. Church was a good experience, in that way. And, most importantly, I think, I saw my parents, both, at separate times, reading the Bible. Just sitting, and reading, the same way they’d read novels and so on…

      I think that’s what saved me. I left the church for 13 years after an extreme trauma. I wandered, and I studied other religions. I wanted NOTHING to do with God…

      But I found my way back. Or rather, God never left.

      I can’t imagine those who’ve been given such a skewed road map, filled with markers of guilt and despair, trying to make the same journey. Sometimes my heart hurts for those “religious” families…. who are so lost. 🙁

  • I was hoping I wouldn’t have to say this, but apparently I have to make this clear:

    This is a moderated space. Please read my comment policy before you leave a comment. Victim blaming or rape apologia will guarantee that I block you. You do not get a second chance. You will not be allowed to comment on this or any other post, now or in the future.

    (The comment I’m referring to has not been published.)

  • Katie

    Let me start by saying that I am so sorry you had to experience sexual abuse. It’s disgusting and nobody should ever have to suffer it. I’m also sorry if what you say happened with your counselor is true. That was inappropriate and the epitome of insensitive on their part. Now onto my input:

    It’s crazy how many people seem to want to put in their backup, though they never attended the college. I am a PCC graduate, and can tell you that everything that has been presented here seems to misconstrue what the college and the administration are like. I experienced counseling, and though I was challenged to better myself (grant forgiveness, draw closer to God, etc), I was never once blamed for negative experiences I went through. The idea that it was my fault for the bad things that had happened to me was never even HINTED at. If you truly seeking all factual information, not just the stories that will back up the angle you seem to be driving for, there’s my experience for you.

    • I’m glad your personal experience was positive, Katie.

      I hope you can understand my effort, though. I have two friends who were expelled immediately after trying to explain to Student Life that their boyfriends had been assaulting them. I know of one woman who was expelled because she was being sex trafficked. These things happened, and your positive experience doesn’t change any of that.

      • Katie

        It’s true that bad things happen and positive experiences don’t change them – you’re right. But do not forget to give the benefit of the doubt on both ends.There’s often much more to the story than “They were kicked out because . . .” I know because I have had friends who worked in Student Life who had to deal with situations that were severely misconstrued and turned into hateful gossip. The people at PCC love the students, and they do everything in their power to protect them and do what is right for them. I can guarantee you that if a girl went to Student Life immediately after she were sexually assaulted, but had been obeying the rules of where she could go during what times with the correct number of friends (all rules set up for her protection), they would not expel her. I also know of people who were sent home to recover from situations, but people who did not care for PCC always referred to them as being “kicked out.” Remember that it’s easy to “tweak” a story so it sounds to be more in our favor – I’ve had to learn this many times even through friends, and constantly remind myself not to do it myself.

        • Katie, this is called rape apologia.

          “If” she went immediately. “If” she’d been obeying the rules. “If” she deserved to be protected. “If” she deserved to be believed. “If” she didn’t deserve it.

          Any further comments from you will go into moderation. If you continue victim blaming rape and assault victims, you will be banned.

          • ’13 Grad

            I am also a PCC alum and can see both sides of which are being represented and “argued”. However I don’t think bullying by threatening to remove someone who disagrees (not in a nasty way) is not the proper way to handle things. Rudeness by either side toward the other is also not the way to handle it.

            I have friends who have received both side’s treatments regarding the blog’s topic. I have also had my own “issues” with Student Life some deserved and others not. I myself, was not treated fairly by Student Life and “kicked out” and for what would be considered a stupid reason. However, we all need to be fair in “judging” and “assuming” things one way or another. I went back and finished my degree and over the 5 total years I spent at PCC there has been much change but that cannot change what has happened in the past.

            I wish you well with your article you are writing but please do not write it out of disdain for the college but to help them gain education regarding sexual assault/rape victim treatment. On a side note, perhaps even send it directly to the president of PCC as well to ensure that they see it?

          • I realize that you’re probably not familiar with my blog as a whole, but any regular reader knows that I dedicate a lot of time to making sure people feel comfortable disagreeing with me. Most of my regular commenters disagree with me about a lot of things, and I think that’s fantastic.

            The only exception is rape apologia. I have absolutely zero tolerance for that or victim blaming for very, very good reasons. Hopefully you can understand why.

            I will be contacting PCC for comment. I am not anticipating their cooperation.

          • Caitie

            She wasn’t victim blaming. She was stating facts and defending a third party. Take this comment from someone who is very sensitive to sexual assault situations due to personal experience. If she spoke to me in this manner I would not be offended because she’s not blaming anyone. As a matter of fact this whole ordeal seems to be that YOU are blaming an establishment for people being raped. You just read that last sentence and were completely shocked I’m sure. See what I did there? I took what you’ve been doing and twisted it a little to say you were blaming a college for the rape of individuals when you are not. Katie is not blaming them for what happened… Just pointing out facts. Please don’t be so sensitive about comments that aren’t necessarily on “your side”

        • shaneyirene

          If a girl has to have been following certain rules in order for her college to take care of her when she’s been sexually assaulted, the college does not care for victims. Period. Forcing the student to prove that she is worth taking care of because she followed a checklist prioritizes rules over people. That is never, NEVER okay.

          Also, sending home someone to “recover from a situation,” if done without the consent of the student, is not taking care of the student. It is withholding the ability for the student to finish their education. Let the student’s doctor determine whether they can continue to engage in college classes.

          Instead of trying to tweak everything so that it makes PCC look good, how about you actually educate yourself on sexual assault and best practices for handling it, because PCC’s policies come nowhere close to best practices. Until then, your attempts to “see both sides of the story” are insanely insensitive toward victims, and you need to keep your mouth shut.

          • Caitie

            Apparently many people have had very different experiences than I have had. Yes sometimes things are handled waaayyyy too strictly… But matters as serious as sexual assault? Take it from someone who has been there… And who was helped and encouraged… And please just because it’s the Internet gives no right to be so rude. Civility is dying…. I’m not sure why I am even commenting on the Internet I never do… I was just incensed because of the personal heart strings this topic pulls in me.

          • Angie

            “If a girl has to have been following certain rules in order for her college to take care of her when she’s been sexually assaulted, the college does not care for victims. Period. Forcing the student to prove that she is worth taking care of because she followed a checklist prioritizes rules over people. That is never, NEVER okay.”

            Amen! They are only acting conditionally if she has “followed the rules” rather than genuinely caring for her as a victim of assault, which should never happen for any reason. They only care about the image their college projects to the public, for prospective new enrollees. Disgusting! How they shame the wonderful Lord Jesus!

        • FoundGrace

          Sounds like you drank the Kool-Aid, Katie. Having graduated from PCC myself, I remember those days of feeling a fierce allegiance to the school. Then…all of a sudden I happened to have a brush with the administration, as an innocent party, and all the ugliness and manipulation of the Dean of Women was revealed to me. I never felt the same way about the college again. I still have nightmares 12 years later, of being back on campus and doing wrong, by accident.

  • Grammar Girl

    I have been following the BJU – GRACE story and, as a former teacher at PCC have wondered if PCC was any better at handling these situations. I had hoped they were but am not really surprised to read your story. As a former employee, I am ashamed of the way you were treated and wish to tell you that there are/were some of us who would have helped you had we been in the counselor’s position. I am truly for the hurt PCC caused you.

    • Lynettet

      Hi, I know this is random but have been trying to find a teacher that I had while at PCC. She taught English.

      • What years did you attend?

        • Lynettet

          96-98 I had Michelle Joseph for several classes.

  • April

    I was wondering if you were saying you were raped while attending PCC or you were just referring to the counsel you were seeking about a previous time? I don’t care what school, church, organization it is. Anyone should be held accountable for such actions , so I hope for your sake that it happens.

  • Current Student

    I’m sorry for your past. I’m not sure when you came to college here, but it has changed. There is a genuine care for the students now. I have seen such a change from my freshman year until now. Regardless of what people say about the school, PCC does care about it’s students.

    • There was “genuine care for the students” when I attended, as well, which was not that long ago. The counselor I talked to was obviously very gentle and loving the entire time I talked to her.

      The issue isn’t whether or not PCC “cares” about its students. It’s whether or not the administration and the staff are properly educated and equipped to appropriately respond to sexual assault and rape victims. The answer is that they’re not. You can “care” about people all you want and still be uneducated about rape– and you can love people until your heart’s about to burst and still engage in victim blaming and end up causing even more trauma.

      • LukewarmLaodicea

        With the a knowledgement that there are wonderful people who work at PCC, I do have this to say about the way the *system* seems to work.

        They care about “us” as a collective. As soon as an individual identifies a struggle, a sin, a difficulty or a trauma, the individual seems to be seen as a threat to the whole and subsequently thrown under the bus.

        Again, I’m not referring to individuals, but the way the system ends up working.

        I graduated recently, never went to student life and always got my “good kid” letter.

        And this is the overall impression I got after spending four years there. There’s a problem somewhere. As a student I did not feel safe to ask questions or bring up issues. That is a problem for an institution that claims to believe in progressive sanctification and wow I’m off track. Sorry.

        I just want to be clear. I’m not hatin’ on people. But the system is flawed.

        • Park M

          I agree wholeheartedly. I currently attend PCC and while nearly every staff and faculty member which I have gotten to know has been an amazing, caring, loving person (including the deans and the president), the system as a whole seems to be flawed somewhere along the line.I really cannot understand why or how.

  • I’m very sorry that this happened to you and (and to others here); I hope that your research bears this out to be highly isolated. My son is a student at PCC but I’m no ardent apologist. I am aged and objective enough to know that these institutions often breed a false sense of piety and elitism which often fosters a power structure which can repugnantly fly in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. The school administration (like all of us) are sinners requiring grace, mercy and great wisdom, but by virtue of their milieu are less likely to be equipped to really handle these situations properly. If your research does bear this out to be widespread I would hope that they would aggressively portray a Christ-like spirit which would require an open repentance; and they would clean the house and put in steps to eliminate this to the fullest extent possible.

  • McStephie

    I attended PCC for one semester. In that short time frame, I had a LOT happening. I tried to fit in, but only had a handful of people that i even trusted to talk to. I also discovered many things about the staff and some of the students. I never had an experience concerning sexual assault while i was THERE- however, before attending PCC, i was raped. Talking to the counselors about ANYTHING, never really helped. It always went back to “I want you to read these verses and try to glorify God more.” Nothing to help me to try to “get over it” (for lack of better words.) Come to find out, after i left, that have mild-market anxiety, with market-severe depression. On one hand- I needed more than what a school counselor could do for me. On the other- they never really felt the need to have me talk to anyone that COULD help. They knew I was suicidal. they knew what I had been through… but their resolution was just to read my Bible. In their eyes- as long as i wasn’t trying to kill myself there- i was fine. In addition- i noticed that unless you were an “Ite” (those who were strict rule followers, and turned EVERYbody in for EVERY little thing.. especially looking in the eyes of your bf/gf a little too lovingly) they really didn’t want to give you the time of day. They had those that they cared about, and those that they just were waiting for a reason to “expel.” You also had those that would turn people in for “little things” for the sole purpose of getting away with bigger things. It was all in who knew who on the staff. I have many issues with PCC. I went, i thought the education part was great. however, the counselors needed to be more educated in helping those who were going through sexual assault (before and during.) Thats my spiel. I DO apologize if i worded things incorrectly. Just wanted to throw some stuff out there.

    I wish you the best in trying to get all of this “fixed.”

  • Adam Hatfield

    I attended PCC for 1 year. Sept 2000- May 2001. I thought my parents were strict…wow. I do not know of any instances where rape occurred, but there was plenty of mental and emotional abuse. I know…I lived it. I was once accused once of, purposefully, meeting my girlfriend off campus without a Chaperone. Although there were plenty of witnesses to the contrary. Couple of us guys had gotten permission to the Naval Air Museum. I found the night before that she and some of her friends were going there as well. I had been planning this for a while and as you know getting permission from the deans office to go anywhere was not always easy. Two different cars, Two different groups. Evidently, someone we knew well saw us. Tattling was encourage. Next day I get the dreaded note to come to the deans office while in class, as if that was not embarrassing enough. I honestly had no idea why and it kinda scared me think why I was being summond. After talking to the assistant dean I ended up in Ohman’s office. And that is all I will refer to him as. He sit behind his desk looking at a pencil he was holding, hallway bending it telling that he didn’t suggest that I lied to him. Kind of makes me wonder now, or else what jack. Wow this has been 13 years ago. I didn’t realize it still got to me like that lol. After that day I ceased caring. I failed second semester music theory. At the time I would have told you I do not care. There are details that are too many to share here, but that is the short version.

  • Michelle

    Just to clarify your original post, were you raped while a student at PCC?

    • So you mean while I was on campus, or was it during the years I attended?

      • Michelle

        Were you in Pensacola when it happened?

        • I was raped twice– both times off-campus. However, I was assaulted multiple times on-campus.

      • Michelle

        I didn’t know if your story was like the Patrick Henry story you linked up to.

  • Sherry Dean

    I went to PCC 95-99 and never spoke to anyone about my issue. I never felt the freedom to do so. Faculty seemed to be very real and caring, while staff seemed to be very harsh and legalistic. I’m sure it’s changed since I’ve been there.

  • Joel

    I went to PCC from 06-10 they were very legalistic, but I never in my years there, heard of any sexual incidents. I knew of people who were very affected by how they got treated (legalistically speaking) The only story that I know is about a male teacher who resigned because he got caught helping a female student off campus. He was married but apparently teaching/studying was not the only thing they did.

  • I attended the seminary from 2000-2002. I never witnessed any rape or sexual assault. I did witness an atmosphere that was sexually repressive. I remember chaperoning (for lack of a better term) the student commons area. I was instructed to watch out for students engaging in ocular intercourse. Apparently, if a young couple stared deeply into one another’s eyes the only imaginations in their mind must be of fornication.

    I remember one of my fellow graduate students explaining to me that I couldn’t share a hymn book with a young lady at campus church. For some odd reason that represented some sort of indirect handholding. I didn’t even know the girl next to me. There weren’t enough hymn books, so I just did the gentleman’s thing and shared so we both could sing.

    There were the all-guy talks led by Dr. Mutsch. The key point often revolved around masturbation. But, he could never come out and say it, so he would say something stupid like, “Stroking the snake of porneo.”

    I remember at the time I was receiving a free magazine. It may have been a credit card offer, I really don’t remember. Since I was interested in fitness, I chose a fitness magazine. It ended up being more of a women’s fitness magazine, but I didn’t know. I remember being called into the office (forget whose office) to talk about the pornographic magazine I was receiving. Yes, they do monitor student’s mail. There was nothing pornographic about the magazine. There were pictures of attractive people in workout clothes, but that’s about it.

    All these things point to a sexually depraved mindset from the administration. They seem to constantly be thinking students are ready to fornicate or are lusting after each other all the time. I can’t imagine people thinking this way unless they are really depraved in their own thinking. While there are many good people at Pensacola, many of the people in the administration are evil. And, I don’t just mean power-hungry and uncaring. I mean straight from the pits of hell, in-dwelt with demonic spirits type of evil. There were two occasions where I saw administrators countenances change–just like the descriptions of Nebuchadnezzar’s countenance changing in the book of Daniel. Some of the people there are capable of evil at the deepest level and would cover up, twist, distort or abuse others to protect themselves and the reputation of the school. While I never directly saw any sexual assault or abuse, I did see an environment that was conducive to such behavior.

    • CoS

      I attended PCC from 1996-2000. I was involved with the student life and was on the security team. I know for a fact that there were people expelled for engaging in sex on campus. However, I don’t have any specific examples of ladies I knew who where raped and kicked out. Did it happen, most likley as the blame shifting to the victim by the faculty was sickening while I was there.

  • vadare

    I attended (and graduated from) PCC in the early to mid 90’s and I was never sexually assaulted nor did I hear of anyone else being assaulted. I do not doubt the veracity of your story or anyone else’s. (In fact, I would be foolish to think that truly anyone and anywhere in this world is completely 100% safe from The Enemy’s clutches.) However, I do remember the biggest argument I had with a professor that tells me a little something about the mindset.

    I took the class Life of David and we had gotten around to the story of David and Bathsheeba. The professor went on to say (and I’m paraphrasing here), “And we all know this was all Bathsheeba’s fault.” What? I couldn’t let that rest. I raised my hand and Mr. Davis and I went back and forth for a good 5 minutes or so. He did concede my point that David couldn’t have been tempted had he been on the battlefield with his army like he should have been, but he continued to hold fast to the belief that Bathsheeba was out to seduce him, therefore this was all her fault. I made what I thought were, at the time, several salient points (how did she know David was suffering from insomnia and was going to come out at that particular time on that particular night…I didn’t know Downtown Jerusalem had street lights…if this was all Bathsheeba’s fault, why didn’t Nathan confront her about it instead of David) and at the end of it, Mr. Davis just cut me off with a short, curt “You’re wrong!” I shot back with, “I remain unconvinced.” He glared at me and said, “We’ll have to leave it at that.”

    What scares me is, if this is what they’re teaching just the rank-and-file-believer, what are they teaching in Preacher Boys? Honestly, if a young pastor had come to Mr. Davis with, “I had sex with the wife of one of my parishioners…but she came on to me, what was I supposed to do?” would he give him a pass? If not, then why is he giving David a pass? Nathan certainly didn’t.

    What’s funny is that all of this happened a few years before the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal broke. I seriously doubt anyone at PCC was willing to cut Bill Clinton the same slack they cut David.

    I hope this was some help…probably not, but it’s all I’ve got on the subject.

    God bless your endeavors…not to stir up strife, but to embolden any honest people in Fundyville. May this give them the strength to rise up against the real “leaven”.

    • Angie

      Excellent points! You helped expose the hypocrisy, and Mr. Davis didn’t like the heat in the kitchen.

  • Good on you for ferreting out this issue. I attended PCC in the early 1990’s. Within a week of being on campus I was warned to keep away from the “3rd-floor Ballard South” because of an incident involving the alleged sexual assault of a youth ministry major I ended up befriending. He couldn’t get the humiliation out of his head and spent an unknown amount of time on East Field practicing martial arts (he was paranoid of a follow-up attack). While he eventually let the admin know, he was “released” for strange behavior (like storing urine in soda cans in his room). But that isn’t the only incident (as a floorleader for 3+ years I learned about a lot of things… from a female student who was raped after having taken a taxi, to a male student who was forcibly held down while someone shaved his pubic hair, to the sexual harassment of a male who worked in ABeka books as a supervisor who would look down the blouses of the telephone operators he oversaw, and a female student drama major who was forcibly kissed against her will by an “honorable” male student backstage at a Vesper’s production). I watched a man in frustration who was unable to comfort his girlfriend by the mailboxes because she had just heard that her sister back home had been raped. She was sobbing, and all he could do was speak to her from several inches away. You can’t have such strange dogma governing human interaction and spiritual formation without it “covering” for all forms of abuse. Keep at it!

  • Stephanie

    Nobody deserves to be raped, no should always mean just that. It is never the victim’s fault if they get raped. But I would like to address two things: Rape is not just a female issue. Men get raped too, however because of the stigma men usually do not report being raped. This issue needs to be addressed by secular and Christian schools. Also while it is never a persons fault, there are simple common sense safety measures that can be taken to lessen one’s chances. Such as walking with a friend after dark. Or never leaving a drink unattended where a person could possibly drug it. These also need to be talked about as well.

  • Anonymous

    How disgusting. Organized Christianity makes me sick. When I tell people I’m a Christian I am met with every type of hate and persecution, despite that I hate most of the things they do too. I’ll be staying far, far away from PCC.

  • I had organ failure due to the black mold left in the Dorm I was in. Feel free to read my post entitled “The big enchilada.” It is about my whole ordeal.

  • Stephanie

    I attended Pensacola Christian College in the Fall of 1987 through the end of the first semester of 1988. I was there for my Freshman and first half of my Sophomore years. I lived in Dixon and Griffith towers. I was an Elementary Education major and was in the collegian, Psi Omicron Rho. While I was not abused on campus, my abuse followed me to PCC.

    I never felt comfortable on that campus and was always in a state of paranoia. Students were able to write up other students. Female students were not allowed to walk on the same sidewalk as the male students. Female students had their own stairwell to take in the academic building. Our “dating” outings were through the collegians where we were able to “hold” hands with our boyfriend/girlfriend only on certain games. Anyone who had a boyfriend in another collegian was excited for this day. The Fine Arts Series were the only times while I attended that the male students were actually able to walk up to the female dorms (at the time it was Griffith Tower and Dixon Tower). The men were allowed to enter the lobby on those nights only. Any other time, they were not allowed on that part of campus.
    I was threatened with being socialed because I had taken change from a male student and his hand touched mine while dropping the coins into my hand. I never met the boy, did not know his name. He worked in the bookstore.

    Pensacola is a very oppressive environment. I know that the environment has not changed much as I was there a few years ago to see my half sister graduate with a degree in Nursing. While I am not aware of any stories of sexual abuse occurring on campus or not being reported, it would not surprise me if there are stories and incidents that were not properly reported. I do know that people who were shipped were treated as if they had the plague. They were not allowed to talk to anyone when they received their “sentence” that they were being shipped. They were confined to the Floor Leader’s room and they were escorted everywhere by the FL.

    I have recently told my story on Religion’s Cell. It is my story. However there is a section that talks about my recent return to PCC and Dr. Mullenix. While I attended, Pastor Taylor was the Pastor of the church. He was replaced. Sunday morning services and some Sunday evening services were televised. I remember in particular practicing this one song as a congregation that they wanted to televise. Every thing seemed so made up.

    During my Freshman year, I was knocked down in my grade for a Speech class I was taking for the way I said the word, “often”. I pronounced the word differently because of where I came from in the country. The teacher, from another part of the country, docked my grade. I have always remembered that. While not abusive in the sense that can be reported to authorities, her treatment of me for the entire year was abusive. I still can see her face.

    I have had recurring nightmares about PCC for many years. The nightmare is always the same. I have to return and finish getting my degree. Regardless of the fact that I am in my 40’s now with three children and I have a degree in Business Administration, I find that I still have this nightmare of having to return to PCC and go through the halls of that place to get my degree. All my credits were not transferrable to the college I did graduate from. I graduated Cum Laude from a University in California but that was after I had to do all my schooling over again.

    I am happy that attention is being turned to this school as well. I support your cause 100%. I am very sorry you had to go through what you did. You are very strong and courageous. Speaking publicly raises awareness. There is something that needs to be done about these institutions.

    • mark

      People are people and sin is sin. This could happen in jail, church, even by a family member. I support PCC as an institution and they have done their best I avoiding this behavior. Compare to any public university, it can happen anywhere.

      • Please read my comment policy before continuing to engage here. Your other comment will not be published.

      • Angie

        Christians are held to the highest standards, according to the word of God, Sir. Please quote chapter and verse where God winks at sin as “sin is is” and where he says “people are people” as if that dismisses any responsibility for one’s actions. Since when does it make it right for PCC just because “it can happen anywhere.” It’s ignorance like this that keeps the problems going.

        • Angie

          should read “sin is sin”, autocorrect strikes once again.

  • Robert

    So if things like this happen in the future, is it going to be treated differently now that they are accredited?

    • They’re accredited by TRACS, which only really looks at their academics, but it’s possible. They did tell them that they couldn’t stop the students from accessing Facebook if they wanted accreditation (according to a recent graduate, at least).

      I doubt it, though.

  • Gail Thurman

    I helped a family move away from a sexually abusive father some years ago. The wife and daughter were totally traumatized, and the sons were not much better. The daughter (let’s call her Shawna- not her real name) and sons attended PCC. Shawna received excellent counseling advice, was able to bring her wounds into the open and be accepted, make friends, and enter into ministry helping sexually abused young women during her internship at PCC. She met a wonderful young man while there and got married after graduation. Her father was not invited to the wedding. Her experience at PCC opened up her life to great joy which she is still experiencing.

  • Ahh yes, but that may have been her “project” status. If PCC was aware of it and they responded the way IFB generally do, then she potentially became someones do-good, feel-good pet project. That offers a huge layer of protection in these types of environments.

  • mortsey kline

    I attended this college in the late ’90s but was unaware of any such abuse against students or staff or visitors. I am not disputing your story or defending your attacker. What happened is a travisty and I hope the light is shined upon them and that they are prosecuted to the maximum extent of the law. It is inexcusable anywhere and anywhere women are the victims of violence. That said, these types of violence against women happen on all college campuses lets be careful not to paint these colleges as though they are the only places this happens. In defending your attacker, they are wrong, but these places also have very good very reasonable people who are trying to do right and help young people. While I agree there needs to be reform and some of the foundations were faulty, not everything about these places is evil. If my words are offensive please deleat what I have said, but I am asking that you take a step back and revaluate what exactly you are attacking. On campus violence against women is a bigger problem than just these three campuses, and these three are not the only colleges which have sided with the pervs over the victims.

    • I never made the claim that this problem is unique to Christian colleges, or even PCC. In fact, I have repeatedly specifically stated the opposite. I have also never claimed that everything about PCC is evil.

      However, there are problems at PCC and colleges like it that exacerbate the underlying problems. Not only is rape culture accepted, it is made explicit in the honor codes and enforced.

      Secular colleges do not expel students for being sexually assaulted. They frequently handle the situations poorly, but it does not result in their expulsion. That is not true at PCC. At PCC, students are terrified of reporting their attacks to anyone because they are afraid of getting kicked out. That is a problem that doesn’t exist elsewhere and deserves to be addressed.

    • Stephanie

      I hold Christians to a higher standard of morality and behaviour as a Christian myself. I hold those in positions of leadership within the church or christian organization to a higher standard than the laity.

  • OnTarget

    Forgedimagination,

    I left a post on another blog beneath a comment of yours under the name “on target”. I assumed all of this abuse happened before you attended PCC. That is my mistake and I apologize. I was off target on that assumption.

    But I was serious about the point of that post. That particular blog was way out of hand in many ways and I thought you were just looking to bash PCC and and incite off topic issues. I dont know your heart or what really happened beyond how you have written and I dont presume to discredit your story. My point was and is that I dont believe that this forum is a way to correct the issue which i agree exists. I pray you continue to find and follow God’s will for you. God’s grace and mercy is bigger than any issue we face.

    • Courtney

      I’m a little confused about how honestly and openly sharing the truth of what happened to her and people she knows could be perceived as going about it the wrong way. What would you suggest? Watering down the truth and making it sound like it wasn’t as bad as it was?

      You are correct that you don’t know her heart or her experience. You could just leave it at that.

  • Jennifer

    I attended PCC 2002-2004. While I went there two brothers, who were twins, went on a collegian dating outing, and the one twin told on his brother for kissing his girlfriend and the brother got expelled. I realized then how PCC can warp people’s minds. I was never assaulted there, but I do have similar nightmares as the earlier post of having to go back and finish my degree. I had gotten pregnant during summer break at home and knew that I couldn’t go back. When I called to say that I would not be attending the next semester, they asked me why. I was too afraid to tell them the truth even though I wasn’t going back. I was always so conservative, but when I’d get home on breaks, I’d go a little wild. I think it is because I felt so oppressed.
    Another weird thing I remember was during a night time dorm fire drill. I was in Bradley tower and the guy’s tower was next to us-I can’t remember the name. One time one of the guy’s dorm windows had a red light on and you could see the outline of someone sitting there watching us. I can’t remember if it was the same time or another drill but a guy mooned us and was then suddenly pulled away.
    Weird things happen there.

  • Lisa

    My sister attended PCC in the 90s. And my cousin went to BJU. I always knew these colleges were too oppressive for me . . . I found out today a girl I knew in high school was sexually assaulted in grade school by a teacher . . . The Christian leaders were told and did not report to authorities — wow – in what situation is this ever ok – the girl at the time was 11. I think there is a continuing culture of silence within the Christian community that is unacceptable. And by the way . . . A reminder to conservative Christians: No means no and assault is assault whether you are wearing a nun’s habit or a bikini . . . Even if I was kissing you five minutes ago, if I tell you no it means NO. God bless and good luck!!

  • miss m

    i attended PCC for one semester… i did not experience the horrors of sexual abuse there, but the general atmosphere and rules were enough for me… i had to go my first semester because i was 17 and my mother paid out of pocket for that semester… when i left the school, i withdrew and had a one on one exit interview with the dean of women. i had hand-written a lengthy (three pages…? don’t remember, it was a looong time ago 1989) about the abuses, unrealistic rules and isolation from the world just outside the gates of the school. i likened it to a communist camp. even went so far as to state that i saw them churning out dysfunctional members of society who will end up doing more harm than good to themselves, their community and the church in general with their structures they chose to build their “kingdom” with. the dean of women made it a point to sit me in a chair that was lower than hers and to look at me with strong and sharp eyes and challenge my words and thinking… i stared right back at her and repeated my entire letter with strength and conviction… she sat back and was speechless for a moment, then simply closed my student folder and said some dribble about hoping i will take what i’ve learned from the school with me…yada yada yada… the thing is, i was the quiet mousy wall flower at the time, so this was a different persona coming out… the tactics this school and other fundamentalist organizations use is very close to NLP and black ops style of manipulation…and those who lead and head these groups and employ these tactics tend to be on the side of borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder… extremes creating extremes… be aware and cognizant of your own values, and thinking… do not let go of your own critical thinking capabilities…
    there are definite abuses and supremely dysfunctional methodologies and thinking over there, as well as in many other fundamental christian colleges and universities… i pray that more and more people will speak out without fear and shame of harassment or guilt… if people want to ostracize another for standing up to bullies, then let them… those are not the people i would want to be hanging around with as part of my circle of influence. and also, we all need to stand up and be a voice for those who have yet to find the strength and courage to speak up for themselves. that is true community influencing healthy relationships and healing and growth.
    may the Lord’s favor and blessings be on you, in front of you and follow you as you speak out… i know this is a few months later than your post, but i just happened upon this post while looking for something so totally not related in anyway… blessings… 🙂

  • Alisha

    I didn’t experience anything such as rape, thank the Lord. But I did have a student who showed interest in me one semester. After a few “PCC Dates”, I realized that there was not much in common between us. I told him I was no longer interested, and he started stalking me. My friends would catch him peering in from outside the commons at night. He followed me wherever I would go. After confronting him and nothing changing about it, I went to the deans. They were so amazing. They took care of the issue. When they confronted him, he apparently cursed them out, and obviously that got him the boot.
    I guess my thought about PCC is that maybe it’s not even ALL the staff or Deans. But rather, maybe it’s just a few who are this way. The lady who dealt with me was so sweet, and didn’t question whether I had made this guy that way or not…..

  • I went to PCC and experienced nightly physical abuse (much of it when my male roommate would turn out the lights, strip down, and on purpose lay outside of my blanket while I “tried” to sleep. He also would beat me with a metal clothes hanger when I received demerits for falling asleep in chapel. This dude was studying to be a pastor btw. A few people who I knew who were wrestling with similar instances were kicked out for speaking up and since I came from a church that indoctrinated my parents to “expect” me to go to a year of bible school, I was to behave and just go along with it. Now I have an undergrad from one of the most liberal schools in The us.

  • Nathan

    Hi Samantha, I read your blog and the commits people and you said about PCC. I never been there but i’m a senior in high school. Hearing the stories make me want to go to the school less. Do you think I should go to PCC or another college. Your opinion probably won’t change my decision because of last minate choice, But it be good at have second thoughts. Sorry for what happened to you while you were their, if i go i’m going help prevent it their. Reply as soon as u can. Your an overcomer, don’t forget that.

    • I could spend a lot of time talking about the rules and the environment and the toxic culture, but the biggest reason why I advocate against students attending PCC is that they won’t receive an education.

      Many of the things that are essential to a college education, such as discussion, curiosity, and exploration are actively discouraged. Professors are fired for simply answering questions in class about theological perspectives that the school disagrees with. Everything is organized around rote memorization and conforming to their specific ideology. If you write a paper that disagrees with an official stance, you could easily be penalized for it– even be called in front of the deans.

      It’s simply a waste of money. They’re not remotely interested in giving their students an actual education.

      • Stephanie

        What about the quality of the academic content? I have heard that the classes for many courses are the same as Abeka on the high school level. I have also heard that many of the same books are used for high school and college courses. Can you please clarify this and give some examples?

        • The HI 101 and 102 textbook is the same as their 12th grade textbook. So is their textbook for EN 101 and 102. American literature and English literature are almost the same exact books– the ones I used were softcover instead, with less art examples and a few of the stories switched out.

          It wasn’t always like that– when I took English literature, we used the Norton anthology, but the teacher went extremely out of her way to tell us not to read the stories and poems she didn’t assign.

          The week I left for college I was terrified of what college was going to be like. I assumed it would be challenging, difficult. When I started taking classes, I was extremely frustrated with the Gen Ed courses because– as I told my mother– “it’s a waste of time because it’s just 12th grade over again.”

          When someone on staff is questioned about this, the typical bullshit response is that “too many students require remedial help”.

          Students need to be indoctrinated, is what they mean.

        • I was a graduate assistant from 2000-2002. So, things could have changed since then. I did help assist with some of the classes, primarily the Bible classes. Some of them had notebooks and students filled in the blanks. I don’t know if that applies to the classes across the board, but it tended towards that type of instruction or instruction that was lecture-oriented for the classes I assisted.
          I currently teach college and find that style of instruction somewhat lacking–particularly for subjects that require critical thinking and creativity. I’m doubtful that type of thinking will really prepare you to function out in the job market. I was taking seminary classes. When they deported me, one of their allegations was that I was vitriolic. I am by nature a curious, questioning person. I like to attack ideas from multiple perspectives and I want to know why I believe what I believe. I want understanding and wisdom as much as just sterile knowledge. I think the administration found that type of questioning and probing disdainful.
          As a college instructor, I’ll be honest. The textbook for many classes isn’t that important. You’re probably not going to find much difference in a 12th grade high school textbook or college freshman level textbook in subjects like math or English. A verb is still a verb. Basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry are the same no matter the context. The question in many of these subjects isn’t necessarily the textbook, but what does the teacher and class do with them. In college there should be plenty of questioning, rigorous application and creativity. I don’t think that the environment at PCC is conducive to creativity. To me, that is one of the biggest components of teaching and learning. Creativity implies thinking outside the box and the whole environment at PCC is meant to put you inside a box–a narrow, unquestioning, sterile box. These are just my observations. I hope they help.

      • Nathan

        Thanks samantha, I’ll think about another college, i need to improve, not be stuck in 12th grade again. Pray for me to find a great college. Like i said Your an overcomer.

        • If you’re looking for a Christian school, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI is a really, really great school, and I’ve heard good things about Baylor University in Texas and Vanguard University in California. I wish you the best and good luck!

      • Park M

        I have definitely experienced some of the things you’ve mentioned, but others do not line up with my experience. Especially the part of about writing papers which disagree with an official stance. I have written several papers which have been decidedly opposed to the official stance of the college and/or the instructor and have always gotten excellent grades on those papers.

        That is just my experience. I’m going to be starting my senior year at PCC in the fall, and while some educational experiences have been somewhat frustrating, I do personally feel that I have received a solid education thus far.

  • No assaults happened to my where there. I attended PCC in 1981 for only a few short months. I received demerits continually and was in their “discipline committee” ever week I was there except for one. I was continually treated as though I was not good enough and not “holy” enough. I can remember people I did not even know coming up to me telling me they were “praying for me”. Why? You don’t even know me. What could I possibly be doing to make you want to pray for me? One day my friends and I left to go to the mall. We were followed by a senior student. Yes, followed, the entire day. The “spy” then went back to the school to report on our day. Which, by the way was nothing but walking through the mall and then going back to the campus. How horrible. I finally had enough and left. This put me behind in school and was really the catalyst to a hard young adult life as I can tell you my mind-set was not the same when I returned from there. I wish that school would close down. I am so upset to see other young people are going there and getting hurt in such a way. Close them down!

  • Greg McCrea

    Blame the victim. You will also find the same in cults like Scientology, Landmark Education, etc.

  • John D. Ferry

    Bisexual? You were not created for that. God does not create bisexuals, or transgenders. This is rebellion. No wonder trouble came. Think God did not notice you?

    • Jason Gatton

      Wtf is wrong with YOU