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A Time To Speak

A time for war. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:8b


Chapter Fourteen

In which war breaks out

Alecia

John

Alecia, you need to go look at the official Alumni page right now.



John's message had come through to me on Instant Messenger. It was only about twelve hours after Katrina's post about Dr. Robinson, which had been made at six thirty that Friday morning, right before Christmas. People on the Victor's page were still asking Katrina questions and posting messages of support for her. I was keeping one eye on the discussion as I did some online shopping on other pages. Just as I saw John's message come through on Messenger, I received a notification that he had posted on my wall. A few moments later, a text came through on my cell phone too. They were all variations on the same theme: Alecia, you need to go look at the official Alumni page right now.

Whatever it was had John really worked up. He had looked up and used my cell phone contact information on my Facebook profile.

I knew nobody was on duty on the official Alumni page tonight. Hostile messages on the official page had dwindled to almost nothing with the growth of the Victor's page, and the university no longer needed volunteers to monitor what was being posted.

I had just clicked on the Alumni page when John sent me another IM.

John

You need to see the FCU Facebook page too.


What in the world?

On the Alumni page:

Stan

It has come to my attention that Dr. Robinson has damaged survivors of sexual abuse. What does the FCU Alumni Association intend to do about it? - Stan, in Georgia


Regina

Abuse survivors deserve courtesy and respect, not silly trust games and re-victimization. You need to disown any relationship with Dr. Robinson NOW. - Regina, in Baton Rouge


Starr

I am shocked and horrified to hear how Dr. Robinson, who is on the board of the FCU Alumni Association, treated abuse survivors whom he counseled. His mistaken methods of counseling caused tremendous damage for countless students, and may have driven some to suicide. Unless serious changes are made in the leadership of the FCU Alumni Association, I will withdraw my membership. Please do the right thing. - Starr, in Virginia


Neville

Dr. Robinson counseled many abuse survivors on campus during the years of his "ministry". Given the strong gay presence on campus, it is likely that his faulty counsel was administered to hurting and struggling gay young people, who were no doubt told that they should repent from being who they are. Please use your influence as the FCU Alumni Association to push for positive, authentic change in this area. Thank you. - Neville, in Vermont


Peter

Dr. Seth Thomas needs to quit being a coward. Make him come out from under his rock to address this. - Peter, in Colorado


There were more messages like this, probably a dozen or so, many from names I didn't recognize. A few included links back to Katrina's story on the Victor's page. I immediately picked up the phone and called my colleague, Ellen, who was Dr. Robinson's daughter-in-law and the current president of the Alumni Association. She didn't answer, but I left a voice mail for her, telling her to check the page as soon as she could. She and her board members were going to have to decide how to handle this PR nightmare. I then remembered John's other message and navigated to the FCU Facebook page.

The situation on that page was ten times worse. The Alumni page, understandably, had a lower profile presence on the web, for the simple reason that not all alumni join the Alumni Association. People who looked up FCU on Facebook would naturally come to the main FCU Facebook page, not the Alumni Association page. And FCU's home page, which had its own domain name and was not on Facebook, did not have a section for people to post comments about the school. The official FCU Facebook page did.

Starr

I am shocked and horrified to hear how Dr. Robinson, who was a professor of mine, treated abuse survivors whom he counseled. His mistaken methods of counseling caused tremendous damage for countless students, and may have driven some to suicide. Unless serious changes are made in the leadership of FCU, I will withdraw my financial support. Please do the right thing. - Starr in Virginia


Stan

It has come to my attention that Dr. Robinson has damaged survivors of sexual abuse. What does Foothills Christian University intend to do about it? - Stan in Georgia.


Regina

Abuse survivors deserve courtesy and respect, not silly trust games and re-victimization. You need to disown any relationship with Dr. Robinson NOW. - Regina, in Baton Rouge


Neville

Dr. Robinson counseled many abuse survivors on campus during the years of his "ministry". Given the strong gay presence on campus, it is likely that his faulty counsel was administered to hurting and struggling gay young people, who were no doubt told that they should repent from being who they are. Please embrace true Christianity and love and welcome your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to the table. We are waiting to embrace you. Thank you. - Neville, in Vermont


Peter

Dr. Seth Thomas needs to quit being a coward. Make him come out from under his rock to address this. - Peter, in Colorado


And one other message:

Brian

My heart is hurting over the damage being done to my alma mater's reputation today. I stand with you, FCU, and will continue to pray for you every day. Thank you for your fearless work on behalf of Christ. - Brian, in South Carolina


And then some replies:

Regina

Brian, how can you stand with a school that hurts survivors of abuse? You saw Katrina's story just like the rest of us did. You should be supporting Katrina and pushing for change, not standing up for the school.


Faith

Neil, if you know of gay students at FCU, you need to tell them to get straight or get out. FCU is not a place for homosexuals. It is a CHRISTIAN school! - Faith in Kentucky


Neville

It's Neville, please, not Neil.


When had this sudden attack started? It was obviously not a coincidence that half the people on the Victor's page had posted messages attacking the school on two different forums. I opened up another tab on my browser and then opened up another instance of the Victor's page, not wanting to navigate away from Katrina's thread. Sure enough, another thread had been started while I was busy looking at Katrina's story. This one had been liked enough times that it was at the top of the page.

Regina

You can make a difference. Katrina's story is not new to any of us. We Victors were all aware of the pernicious teachings of Dr. Robinson, Dr. Stern, and others like them. Abuse survivors deserve to be heard, not ridiculed. Contact the leadership of FCU and tell them what you think of their "counseling" and the way they treat survivors. Let's flood the main FCU Facebook page AND the Alumni Association page with messages demanding REAL CHANGE NOW!

P.S. I'm also copying and pasting the email addresses for a few of the higher-up administrators at FCU. Let's make sure they see our message!


There followed a list of thirty different administrators for the school-the president, Seth Thomas; his son the vice-president; the head of the student life committee; the head of the Bible faculty; the deans of the various colleges; all of the department heads.

And in every last case, Regina had listed their personal email addresses. Not their official university email addresses—their personal email addresses.

How in the world did she get hold of those?


Win

John sent me messages and links too, only I was busy right then and I didn't respond right away. I was busy chatting with Katrina. I had started out by sending her a message, but she had responded so quickly that now messages were flying back and forth.

Win

Katrina, I'm so sorry about what happened to you with Dr. Robinson and his so-called counseling. It wasn't Christian or loving or any of the things it was supposed to be. I hope you've found the means to heal since you left FCU. I just wanted to send you this private message to let you know that not everyone from FCU is that way.


Katrina

Thanks, Win. I appreciate your words of support. It took me a long time to speak publicly about Dr. Robinson and his counseling, and it's encouraging to see how many people recognize the damage he did. I will share more about my experiences when I feel able.


Win

If you decide to start a petition or anything like that with the university to have them cut Dr. Robinson off, I will definitely sign it. Please keep in touch.


Her response was almost instantaneous.

Katrina

A petition is a great idea—thank you so much!


That was late in the evening, just before I went to bed. I remember because it was just before Christmas and we had stayed up way too late decorating the tree and the house. Clark was already on his way to bed, so I signed off and followed him. But when I woke up the next morning, there was a new message for me—a Facebook message from Regina.

Regina

Win, I am one of Katrina's closest friends, and she told me last night how you sent her such a sweet message, and the great idea you gave her for bringing a call for action to the university. Thank you for believing and supporting her. We're going to work together on the text of a petition to have signed and sent to the university. Would you like to help us on it?


Christmas break would start at noon later that day, so the timing was perfect. For two weeks I would have no school to teach, no lessons to prepare, and no homework to grade. I wrote back to her at once, saying I would be glad to help them out.


John

On the FCU Victor's page, Katrina's story was causing a collective oh, shit! from just about everyone, especially people who still liked the school, not that they would ever use that exact phrase. Other stories were being posted, about other administrators and faculty members. Dr. Stern's name came up again, especially his teachings on divorce and children from difficult backgrounds.


Stan

Look at this image. I finally found my notes from sophomore Bible survey class, when Dr. Stern taught us about laws in the Old Testament. He actually said that the passage where it says that a raped woman should marry her attacker made a lot of sense to him. And at the bottom of the page, you can see where he had us write down his advice about not marrying someone who has been molested or raped, because they are no longer considered pure.


Peter

Dr. Stern just needs to shut the hell up.


Starr

He did shut up. He's dead.


Peter

Good riddance.


Neville

And now we're left to pick up the pieces of the people who were broken in spirit by his hand. FCU is such an evil place. So evil.


Katrina

I remember Dr. Stern teaching that. He told me about that passage in the Old Testament too. I wasn't making any progress with Dr. Robinson so he sent me to see Dr. Stern, and Dr. Stern told me I should be glad I wasn't living in the Old Testament, because he would have had me marry my rapist. And he said I should be able to give thanks for the experience of being abused, because it meant that I had been chosen for special service for the Lord.


Regina

Special service? What did he mean by special service?


Mitch

It sounds like you were being groomed. He had special services in mind that only you could provide.


Katrina

Maybe he was grooming me. I don't know. God only knows what would have happened to me if I had kept on going to Dr. Stern, but the school year came to an end and I didn't see him the next year.


Regina

You were very, very lucky. I'm thanking God that you were spared.


Katrina

Me, too.


I'll be honest here. I was eating this up. The school deserved everything it was getting. For me, for Katrina, for Micah, for all the kids who'd ever been put down, bullied, harassed, humiliated, lied to, or lied about, all in the name of being "spiritual." For those who had private information about them stored for anyone on campus to see, and they didn't even know it. For the kids who had never been given a chance to go anywhere but FU and had no idea what life was like in the real world, and especially for those who had been expelled for something totally stupid, and had it called "discipline." Even for Brian.

Katrina's story, and the ones that followed hers, were the best payback there was. And you know what they say about payback—it's a bitch.