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A Time To Speak

A time to embrace. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:5b

Chapter Thirteen

In which they hear Katrina's story


The thread I remember best from that board was the one that started all the talk about abuse. For me, it was a total game changer.


Who was your least favorite teacher and why?


Just one thread for this? We should have half a dozen at least. They were all crappy. Totally without a sense of humor, not willing to let students be students and ask whatever questions they wanted. Education is supposed to be about teaching kids how to think, not teaching them what to think. Plus they're all creationists, even the "science" faculty, which tells you something about their brain capacity.


I don't get you, Pete. It's a fundamentalist Christian school. They say in their creed that they believe the Bible literally. What do you expect them to teach?


I expect them to get their head out of the Dark Ages. Is that too much to ask?


My dorm supervisor during my senior year was not a teacher, but I think this comment still belongs here. She wrote me up for being out of bed after lights out, but it was actually my roommate who was out of bed and not me. I tried to get her to correct it but she refused, even after my roomie told her it was her. We had to go directly to the disciplinary committee to have the demerits changed, and after that the supervisor targeted me for every violation she could think of for the rest of the year.


The dorm supervisors were awful. They had all this power over us, and whatever they said was treated like it was from God's mouth. What an evil, oppressive system.


It wasn't just the dorm supervisors. It was the whole damn campus, from the administration down to the FIC students that ran everything. It was mind control.


I was emotionally and spiritually abused by the dean of students, Dr. Michael Robinson, but I don't know if I feel safe talking about it here.


All of us were emotionally and spiritually abused there. You can't shock us.


You can feel safe. He left the school last year. He can't do anything to you now.

I gave Katrina the name Fido for a reason. It seemed like she was always howling about something the school had done wrong to her, and now she was about to start with it again. She was worse than Peter sometimes. But the story she began to tell us then had a ring of truth to it, and I ended up nearly memorizing it, word for word.


OK, here goes. I'm going to tell my story and hope that you believe me. But if you don't, I really don't care. I know what happened to me, and I don't have to prove anything to you.

I had a very difficult home life, one that would make you cry if you knew the whole story. My mother abandoned me as a child and I was left with just my step-father and my grandfather to raise me until I was twelve. They were abusive towards me, both physically and sexually, and that abuse went on the whole time I was at FCU, starting when I was fifteen and first went to Foothills Christian Academy as a boarding student.

When I got a little older and started at the university, I realized that I needed counseling to help me overcome the anxiety attacks and eating disorder I had developed in reaction to the abuse. I went to my dorm supervisor and asked for help, and she sent me to see Dr. Robinson.

I spent hours with Dr. Robinson, hours! We would meet every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for ninety minutes, in his office in the Cooper Administration Building, while he did his best to figure out why I was so messed up. Why did I have an eating disorder? Why couldn't I go into small rooms, especially small dark rooms, without feeling like I couldn't breathe? Why did I avoid looking at myself in the mirror?

I started to tell him about my history of abuse at the hands of my step-father and grandfather, but he just wouldn't believe me. He kept saying that I must have done something to deserve being neglected and ignored, and he wouldn't believe that I had ever been hit or anything like that. It wasn't until I showed him the X-ray of my broken femur that he believed I had actually been beaten, and even then he didn't want to think it was someone in my family who did it to me. It took a lot of talking and finally getting a copy of the police report from when I was rescued and showing it to him before he would believe me.

Then he said that I had been broken, and in order to "fix" me, I was going to have to learn to trust people again. He said we'd do the Fall of Trust together. I was supposed to stand with my back to him, crossing my hands over my chest as tight as I could, and then fall backwards as far as I could while he caught me. My hands had to stay on my chest at all times-no letting go or reaching out to break my fall or he would know that I didn't trust him. And if I didn't trust him, then I couldn't trust God to fix me.

So I fell. I fell every damn day that I went to him after that. I fell and I kept falling, every single day, but my anxiety never got any better and I still made myself throw up after every meal. And I could still never bear to look at myself in the mirror.

We met twice a week for about six months, I guess, and then I graduated and went to a real college, for grad school. I was having the same problems there, but this time I went to a real counselor and got professional help. And that counselor told me everything Dr. Robinson had done with me that was wrong. He should never, ever have asked me to trust him by falling into his arms that way, hoping that he would catch me, and he shouldn't have talked to me about God at all. I was not ready to hear about God's love for me right then. I needed to heal first. Instead, I got a steady dose of guilt and blame, and my problems only got worse during that time.

I ended up trying to commit suicide three times. It's only by the grace of God I'm not dead now. And it mostly goes back to Dr. Robinson and those horrible counseling sessions.