Category Archives: crisis at UVa

Learning from the UVA rape saga: part 1

UVa was chosen as the focal point of an article about rape culture that exists in universities across America. There are a number of things that should be learned.

I thought that I should preface my thoughts by saying a perfunctory ‘this is not about blame.’ And I mean that, it’s not about blame, that’s not my job, but it is about learning. From UVa’s President and Board of Visitors (who have their own troubled past as a group back in June of 2012) all the way down to RAs and lower level assistant deans, there needs to be learning and change of policies to facilitate the well being of the university’s youngest community members. University policies must be changed to facilitate the victim’s willingness to reporting these crimes. Focus groups are not even a beginning. Action is required. Suspending the Greek societies yesterday at UVa is a good first step. But this is just one step on a long journey.

There are lessons to be learned by federal and state legislators who have enacted laws that are protecting perpetrators of these heinous crimes. When it became known that the accused abductor of Hannah Graham had a history of sexual assault at CNU and Liberty, those schools told us they had to protect student’s privacy. These laws need to be reevaluated and changed appropriately. Now. But neither of us, you, my dear reader, nor I can do anything about any of that.

But there is one area that we can do something about and that is the area that I focus upon here. I have a question that comes from what I call ‘the dad paragraph.’ Here is that paragraph from the Rolling Stone article.

“Before Jackie left for college, her parents – a Vietnam vet and retired military contractor, and a stay-at-home mom – had lectured her about avoiding the perils of the social scene, stressing the importance of her studies, since Jackie hoped to get into medical school. Jackie had a strained relationship with her father, in whose eyes she’d never felt good enough, and always responded by exceeding expectations – honor roll, swim team, first-chair violin – becoming the role model for her two younger brothers. Jackie had been looking forward to college as an escape – a place to, even, defy her parents’ wishes and go to a frat party. “And I guess they were right,” she says bitterly.”[1]

Let me zoom in on one phrase “…she’d never felt good enough….”

Let that sink in.

Of course, I don’t know Jackie’s dad. I cannot pretend to imagine how He feels. I have great sympathy for him as a dad. This is not about him. It’s about us. We who are dads of girls and younger women, I have one question:

What have you said or done today to help your daughter know that, in your eyes, she not only good enough, but is amazing. No matter her flaws, her rebellion, the fights she has with her mother, you make damn sure she knows that in your eyes she is an amazing young woman who is unconditionally loved. That is your most important job with her. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have received this unconditional love, the love of the Father who gave His ONLY son, for you.

If she knows that she is amazing in your sight and is loved unconditionally, you may very well have a voice into other areas of her life.

And you can do that even when you can’t give her all the rest of it: clothes, expensive education, etc. Give her that foundation of unconditional love that will cause her to actually hear your counsel and warnings.

Not a dad? Encourage one who is. Maybe even send them these words or give him yours.

Culture is not changed by university presidents, protesters or legislators; culture is changed one life at time. YOU have the ability to affect a life and change culture. When they talk about a culture of this and that, remember, you can affect lives.



[1] Read more:

1 Comment

Filed under crisis at UVa, culture, experience, seeking understanding, shifts

How do you change the course of culture? a response to the rape story

Last night I heard about, found and read the college rape story that many are talking about. I have thought about it many times today and was ranting about it with friends this evening. I was reminded of an article a few weeks ago about why kids sext.

It took the author of yesterday’s article 9000 words (according to the local news) to tell the story. It would take more than that to think through and express all that needs to be said about this horror.

For me, figuring out who to blame is not helpful right now. Rather, I wish to think through some bigger questions.

Who are the less-than-obvious victims?

Who has victimized them?

How did the young men who committed this crime learn that there are no consequences for their actions?

Or worse

How have these young men come to the conclusion that what they did is acceptable?

What, in their upbringing, taught them (through explicit or implicit means) that this behavior is acceptable? or at least that they could get away with it? or that someone could get them out of trouble?

How have violent video games, porn and certain types of music and film that is exploitative of humans, especially women, taught them that this behavior is acceptable?

What are the factors in their upbringing that have taught these young people that it is not just acceptable but expected that they would behave in the ways described?

Why were the victims ‘friends’ debating her need to go to the hospital after her assault verses her reputation and future popularity?

Why has a government placed the privacy of individuals over the good of the community through enacting ‘privacy laws’ that have the result of protecting rapists?

Why does the reputation of an institution outweigh the well being of even one rape victim? let alone scores? hundreds?

What is it about the human being that causes him or her to look at another human being as an object to be oppressed?

How long does it take a person to become so desensitized by these kind of stories that they shrug with indifference?

Why are we not outraged?

If we are outraged, why do we keep it to ourselves?

Why are the outraged not protesting against this culture of violence on our college campuses?

Why is it that this will likely fade away with the news cycle?

Why are we so apathetic?

Who, that has a voice, will speak out against this culture of drunkenness, violence, rape and murder that seems to be an ongoing story in this community?

This is a problem of culture and is like a gigantic out of control barge of trash that no one has any control over and no one seems to know how to stop it as it destroys one life after another.

A friend reminded me of this:

All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. – C. S. Lewis

The last 24 hours since I read this article makes me realize the importance of the brief talk I was pointed to and posted yesterday afternoon… how we were meant to be. I urge you to take 17 minutes and watch and think.

Leave a comment

Filed under crisis at UVa, culture, shifts