Who is The Victim?
Cathy Harris is a self-described childhood sexual abuse survivor. Writing in various blogs and with her commentary reposted in numerous places around the internet, she's recounted a frankly incredible story of abduction, abuse, injury and humiliation spanning most of her childhood up to and even after reaching adulthood.
All this would be fine, I suppose, in a kind of macabre way. If people want to read what is a pretty wild story and believe it and get all outraged and support her, it's really none of my concern.
After all, nobody has appointed me the Internet Police. If I were to think, even in my wildest dreams, I could make the slightest dent in all the fabrication and scamming and conning of folks going on via social media, not only would I find myself proven seriously wrong but I would be delusional.
However, there is more to the Cathy Harris story than just a far-fetched account on a few blogs.
Her allegations, in essence, have become the lead feature of some of these articles. They've been using each other as sources, so the same quote ends up repeated over and over again.
I am no fan of Bob Jones University. I strongly suspect that many of the complaints made in connection with the GRACE probe are completely true. I was a student there and I experienced first-hand how their idea of "counseling" works.
But Cathy is being held up as not just an example, but maybe the prime example - the flagship of "I was abused and BJU didn't care."
And the larger issue regarding GRACE is this: GRACE is not there to determine if an alleged victim is telling the truth. They are there to evaluate the University's response when the alleged abuse was reported. Did the school report it, or did they discourage reporting? Did they provide the alleged victim with access to appropriate professionals, from law enforcement to psychological counseling? It's not up to the University to make a decision about the accuracy of the stories of abuse. It's up to them to handle the allegations properly. So GRACE has set out to determine if this was the case, and if so, what are the weaknesses and how can they best be corrected?
And I have made no secret of the fact that I am more than a little skeptical about the GRACE thing in the first place. So my goal here has nothing at all to do with GRACE, regardless of endless speculation. I honestly do not care what happens about it one way or another. I'm not in favor of prospective students finding in BJU a safer place to attend college. I'm very much in favor of them finding another place to attend college, one where they can get a real, accredited, actual college education and not simply be indoctrinated.
What I am concerned about is the ongoing bullying that I have witnessed from Cathy Harris. She wears her victimhood on her sleeve. Not only must every word of her story be believed without question, but it's gotten to the point that every word she says about anything at all has to be believed as well.
I was labeled a "hater" for only one reason: I don't believe most of Cathy's abuse story, and I dared to say so. I didn't even say it to Cathy or in her presence, but in a private message which was then promptly forwarded to her, naturally. Because of that, I have been called a bitch, incompetent, a nasty human being, cold, soulless, an extremist denialist. I've been accused of being in collusion with the Harris family (don't know a single one of them). I've been called evil, disgusting, backstabbing, cruel, deceptive, and cowardly. I'm seriously waiting to be accused of assisting in the attack on the embassy in Benghazi. And I'm just one, and actually have been targeted less than some others.
Here's a recent example. It will take a little explaining.
This is a post from one of the numerous secret groups that I keep talking about, written by somebody I will call "N."
Consider these points as you read further. N is saying that somebody named "Judith" was posting on the BJU Facebook page in support of BJU. I know this is true, because I remember it and read it. And Cathy never disputes that anyway. But then N says that Cathy commented that Judith had been heckling people outside the NOVA clinic and had been "confronted" by the police for doing so. This means that somebody (probably the clinic) had called the police to report the heckling.
N, who was surprised by the remark, checked up. She telephoned both the clinic and the local police and discovered that no heckling had ever taken place at the clinic. Four people confirmed this - two at the clinic and two at the police station.
[I did a little checking myself, and talked with a local law enforcement agent. I gave him a hypothetical situation - a medical or psychological clinic of some sort having a protest or hecklers outside. Would law enforcement tell me if that had occurred? The answer: Yes, with one caveat. They would not tell me the name of any person detained or questioned, but certainly would tell me if an incident had ever happened at all.]
So then, N (who wrote the comment below the original post) talks a bit about why somebody might lie about something like this.
A disturbing thing to me is the caveat N places at the start of her post about her "safety." I know who N is, and she's not prone to hyperbole. I have no idea what she meant by that remark.
And one other thing I'll say about N. Several years ago, N and Camille Lewis ripped me to pieces for daring to suggest that an abuse survivor ever, ever lies. Ever. They always tell the truth. For N to have doubted Cathy enough to do a little checking is really interesting to me.
So naturally, this post, made in a private secret group, was immediately screen shot and passed directly to Cathy. N should have known it would be. That's as inevitable as the sun coming up.
And Cathy's response was, to say the least, interesting.
Actually, when a sentence begins "I actually showed...", well, she probably didn't actually do anything of the sort. Remember, one has to assume here that a)Cathy is a client at the NOVA facility, b)she had an appointment of any kind and kept it, and c)she showed anyone anything.
That's just sample of her reaction. What's interesting is that she makes some amazing claims. She insists that N was calling the NOVA facility to get information about a client's personal file. The screen shot I've shown above is all N ever said about this, to my knowledge. She never tried to find out anything about any client, ever. She only asked about incidents of heckling or protesting outside. Neither law enforcement nor the clinic itself would have the slightest problem discussing something like that with anyone at all. They field questions like this from the local press constantly.
But, you know, so what? So, Cathy lies about something, gets called out on it, and then tries to twist what N said into something it clearly wasn't. It wouldn't be the first time that ever happened on Facebook, for sure. But what is disturbing to me is this:
And with that, it was off to the races. From that point on, N was classified with the "haters," she has been referred to non-stop as such. Cathy's version of the whole thing is accepted at face value, even when the truth is right in front of their faces. That was only one comment, but it got three "likes" and as I said, since that point, N has been included in lists of Bad People that are made from time to time when folks talk about "defending Cathy from her critics."
Because N commented on something that had nothing whatever to do with any of this, with a simple "I'm sorry," several months ago, Linda Fossen grabs a screen shot and makes it clear that N is one of the "haters." Remember, N has said absolutely nothing except the original post and the comment directly below it.
So we see "Good" as a comment when Cathy is accusing N of doing something she never did or claimed to do. The person who says "Good" has a PhD in "Communication and Culture." One would assume that such an individual can read simple English and would understand without having to have it explained in excruciating detail that N wasn't trying to get into anyone's files anywhere.
This is just one example. I've watched this kind of thing happen again and again during the last couple of years, to the point that I am just tired of it. At first, I didn't really know enough about what was happening to understand it all, and certainly not enough to comment. But over time, I began to see a pattern. If Cathy declares something to be true, everyone defers to her. It doesn't have to involve abuse. It can be about anything at all. If somebody doesn't, she jumps all over him/her, or alternatively, declares that she is "triggered" by the remark, or "doesn't feel safe here anymore," and s/he quickly apologizes.
And the example of N is how it begins. If N chose to fight back about this, Cathy and her advocates would attempt to rip N to shreds, destroy her reputation, attack her family, dig up any dirt possible, including every private message she's ever sent anywhere, and produce memes mocking her endlessly.
All because N dared to do a little bit of fact-checking.
Cathy and her chief advocate, Linda Fossen, appear to subscribe to the Sarah Palin Public Relations Method. When caught lying, you just double down on the lie. You continue to say it as though it's true, and after awhile, if you can say it loud enough and often enough, people will believe it.
While that tactic has made Caribou Barbie a boatload of money from gullible followers, it didn't get her to the Big Goal. She remains solidly entrenched in her house in Wasilla, Alaska.
I'm not sure how much good it will do to keep repeating this, but I'll try. Nobody has ever said or implied that anyone ever tried to access information about anyone's files at NOVA, ever. Nobody. That's not what happened.
Well, yes, they do. They give out all sorts of information over the phone, like what time they open and how to make an appointment. What Fossen is trying, ineptly, to say here is that they don't give out information about anyone's status (for instance, whether or not Susie McDonald is a client or not) or any information about a client's particular file. We know that. I repeat, nobody ever claimed that they did.
If it's possible that Cathy is not using the Sarah Palin method (just repeat it until people believe it), then both she and Linda Fossen are intellectually challenged and cannot read and comprehend plain English.