From Tracie: GRACE Releases Report From Two-Year Investigation Of Sexual Abuse Disclosures And Institutional Responses At Bob Jones University

Thursday, December 11, 2014

GRACE Releases Report From Two-Year Investigation Of Sexual Abuse Disclosures And Institutional Responses At Bob Jones University

Nearly ten months ago I told you a little of my story of what it was like to grow up in the shadow of fundamentalism. It was the week Bob Jones University fired the consulting group GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), and then rehired them after public pressure. They were in the middle of an investigatory review of sexual abuse disclosures and institutional responses at BJU at the time.

The two-year investigation officially came to a close today when GRACE released their final report publicly.

I haven't had time to read the entire report, at 301 pages it could basically be considered a book, but I have been impressed with the portions I have read. It will be interesting to see if the university will follow through on the list of recommendations from GRACE, especially as it relates to the personnel recommendations, curriculum, sermons, and other materials they sell and endorse.

I love this statement from page 223 of the report:
"Authentic repentance will be demonstrated by an equally authentic transformation where individuals and institutions work to ensure future behaviors no longer harm others."
It will take time to see if, and how, Bob Jones University responds to the report and recommendations. I hope we will see the kind of authentic repentance and transformation that can be helpful and healing to the victims who were further hurt by the policies, beliefs, and behaviors exhibited by the university and its staff.

This report and surrounding discussion is important, especially in light of the recent focus on sexual assault on college campuses across the nation. I hope to see more Christian universities, churches, and institutions open themselves up to investigation and public reporting. It is important to bring abuse out into the light, and support survivors who hold no shame or blame for the actions committed against them.

You can read the full report from GRACE here.


  1. It hurts my heart that there is a need for such reports and investigating, but I applaud those who stand up for survivors and help to shed light on an overwhelming injustice. I will keep these survivors in my prayers, and hope that BJU does the right thing, and that others may follow in their path.

  2. I think Christian bodies cannot be lulled into thinking that sin won't creep in at every chance offered. Steps need to be taken to protect people. (i.e. in my church, no kids class teacher can take children to the bathroom alone - they must always have another adult there for accountability).