by Samantha Field cross posted from her blog Defeating The Dragons
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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Samantha grew up in the homeschool, patriarchy, quiverfull, and fundamentalist movements, and experienced first-hand the terror and manipulation of spiritual abuse. She is now married to an amazing, gentle man who doesn’t really get what happened to her but loves her anyway. With him by her side and the strength of God’s promises, she is slowly healing.
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce