Thursday, April 14, 2016

Yet another reason why BYU sucks... Sexual assault victims targeted by Honor Code

I know the title of this post is probably going to upset some people.  For those people, I say "Deal with it."  This is a personal blog full of my own opinions.  If you don't like what I have to say, you can venture elsewhere.  If you care to leave me a constructive, reasonable comment, that's fine, even if you disagree with me.  But please, don't waste my time or yours by leaving me a blustering comment full of rage for saying that BYU sucks.  I will still think it sucks after I read your comment and I'll probably think you suck, too.

A Facebook friend of mine tagged me in a post he shared from the Salt Lake Tribune.  The article was titled "BYU students say victims of sexual assault are targeted by Honor Code".  The first sentence of the article pretty much sums up why people are pissed off at BYU.

"Brigham Young University students who are victims of sex crimes say they are investigated by the school and sometimes disciplined after reporting their abuse, a consequence that critics say silences victims and emboldens offenders."

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, female BYU students who have the misfortune of being sexually assaulted and have the audacity to report those crimes, run the risk of being interrogated and possibly disciplined by school officials.  BYU student Madi Barney, whose story is one of a few highlighted in the article I linked, recently spoke at a rape awareness conference on the Provo campus of BYU.  Barney's future at BYU is uncertain because when she reported being sexually assaulted, school officials scrutinized how her actions may have led to the assault.  Another student, referred to as "Brooke" in the article, reported being raped.  She was kicked out of school and barred from reapplying for two years.

Brigham Young University is a private university that is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  From what I understand, it is difficult to get into BYU.  Students there are not allowed to break curfew, use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs, violate the dress code, or engage in consensual sexual conduct.  If they are caught engaging in any activities deemed illegal for students at BYU, they can be brought up on Honor Code charges.  So, if a young woman goes out on a date with someone and is out past curfew, wearing a mini skirt, and engaging in heavy petting that eventually leads to rape, she is guilty of breaking the Honor Code and can be kicked out of school.

Granted, BYU is a religious school that is privately funded.  No one has to go there and many people apparently want to go there and can't win admission.  But in all seriousness, a lot of young Mormons end up at BYU or another LDS school due to family pressure.  And when you're seventeen, your thinking tends to be more black and white than it is when you're older.  Seventeen or eighteen year olds don't have a problem signing the Honor Code and thinking they can adhere to the letter of its every tenet.  But when something comes up-- they go out on a date with someone and one thing leads to another and the date eventually turns into a crime scene-- they can find themselves in hot water through no fault of their own.

Those who read this blog regularly may already know that I understand how sometimes rape charges can be fabricated.  It certainly does happen.  What I object to is school officials automatically putting crime victims under a veil of suspicion.  If someone asks for help after being victimized, our first instinct should be to help them, not assume that they did something to deserve being victimized.  Moreover, what someone is wearing, how late they are out at night, whether or not they've been drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs, or whether or not they've allowed someone of the opposite sex to into their home or to touch them have nothing to do with the fact that sexual assault is a crime.  No one deserves to be assaulted, no matter what.  And they should not be punished for being a victim of assault, even if they were technically breaking an Honor Code rule.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune article, young women who have been sexually assaulted are hesitating to report the crimes because they know they could end up being kicked out of school.  As a 43 year old woman, I understand that being expelled from a college isn't necessarily the end of the world.  I have lived long enough and have enough perspective to know that something like that is just a temporary setback.  Someone who is a sheltered teenager or in their early twenties, especially those who come from a tight-knit community where people are expected to do certain things and behave in certain ways, may see getting kicked out of BYU as an event that will ruin their lives.

Add in the trauma of being sexually assaulted and dealing with the legal and medical ramifications of that and you could end up with someone who goes through a crisis that could traumatize them enough to take drastic action.  The LDS church already has a pretty serious problem with young people who feel compelled to kill themselves over church doctrine.  It also has a problem with young people who grow disgruntled and eventually leave the faith.  For such an esteemed school that supposedly is staffed and attended by so many intelligent people, BYU sure does seem to have its head in its collective ass.

So... that's another reason of many why I think BYU sucks.  And, on another note, it really seems like lately the church is getting a lot of very bad press.  I think the Internet has been pretty devastating to the Mormon church and other strict religions.  People who once never would have read about this stuff are now getting the info on full blast.

My husband's ex daughter, Catherine, supposedly attends (or attended) BYU.  I don't know what her current status is, because she disowned her father when he left the Mormon church after divorcing her mother.  She and her mother and siblings are among the few people I refuse to stalk.  Although I only met her once when she was nine years old, she definitely made an impression on me.  She is a very bright young woman, except for the fact that she is extremely devoted to the Mormon church and her mother's bullshit.  She's got book smarts, but I have seen no evidence of critical thinking skills, which is what I think makes a person especially smart.  The fact that BYU admitted her is evidence that the students there are not actually as smart as they seem to think they are.

I have known a few BYU graduates and many of them strike me as being basically intelligent and talented people-- except when it comes to religion and the bad things that people sometimes do in the name of religion and so-called "morals".  I have seen a lot of devout Mormons who are smart about most non church related things completely abdicate their critical thinking skills when it comes to religion and the authority church leaders have over them.  Based on some of the comments I have read, a lot of church members, many of whom are people with normal intelligence, think the church is perfectly fine no matter what.  Many of them don't think for themselves.  They let church leaders do the thinking for them and accept all of their decisions and policies wholesale.  The ones that do think for themselves often soon find themselves on the fringes of the church.  Quite a lot of them eventually end up hanging out on RfM.

4 comments:

  1. This is absolutely appalling. Most of Uncle Scott's brothers and sisters and their spouses say they're not tithing until the policy is changed.

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  2. This is absolutely appalling. Most of Uncle Scott's brothers and sisters and their spouses say they're not tithing until the policy is changed.

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  3. How sweet. I posted two identical replies. Now I'm spamming your blog with a third response discussing the other two. I'm beginning to resemble two-buck-someone at my blog.

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  4. Yeah. BYU needs to join us in the 21st century.

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