Are women safe in Christendom’s bubble? Part II

In Part I of this article, Adele Smith related how she was raped by a fellow student from Christendom College, but the school failed to acknowledge the rape or punish the student for it, imposing only minor sanctions for harassing her after the rape.  Smith claims the school’s sheltered, highly structured campus culture actually facilitates sexual assault — and that the administration works harder to protect its reputation than it does to protect its students.

Smith is not the only female student who makes this charge.

This has happened before

Adele Smith mentioned that there was nothing to prevent a rape like hers from happening again at Christendom. In fact, it had already happened, more than once.

A female student, a friend and classmate of Adele Smith’s older brother, says that her boyfriend raped her just off campus, too, in January of 2005. The woman has told very few people about the assault, and she does not wish to use her name.

She didn’t even know to use the word “rape” to describe what happened to her, until the moment she heard that yet another friend, a former Christendom student, had also been raped by yet another Christendom male student just off campus.

“I honestly thought it was just me,” she said. “Then I started hearing more and more stories, and I realized it was happening to a lot of people.”

“That’s Christendom culture.”

She believes if she told anyone on campus she had been raped, she would have been blamed, and would have heard, “What were you doing? What were you wearing?”

“That’s Christendom culture. We had hours and hours and hours of talks on modesty, dress code, how to act, how to keep boys chaste, all of those things,” she said. “The guys were just told to wear ties to Mass. I didn’t realize at the time there was any imbalance. What a girl wore and how she carried herself or what she said  . . . she was responsible for both her actions and men’s.”

She describes the PDA policy in the same way as Smith did.

“It was almost like you’d see in a prison: No touching! Even just to sit next to a person, you had to go off campus. Which made it easier to go further,” she said.

Her boyfriend was a Catholic young man she had met that year at Christendom. He wanted to take her out after they got back from Christmas break, and she was excited at the prospect of a “real date” off campus.

Dressing for the evening was “above and beyond your average giggling and getting ready for a date,” she said. She remembers going to her RA twice to check her outfit, to make sure it was not only nice, but “classy and feminine, modest and dignified, all that good stuff.”

“He was the man.”

She was disappointed when her boyfriend told her their date would consist of simply sitting in his car and watching a movie on his laptop.

“He was the man. He planned the date, he decided things, and I went with him,” she said.

They drove out to a local park in Front Royal. She doesn’t know where they went. It was dark. She says it seems crazy now, but she didn’t feel she had the right to question him.

He suggested they move to the back seat where there was more room. She became alarmed, because “that’s what people do in movies,” but told herself that, while she was short, he was tall, and he probably just needed more leg room.

She says she didn’t mind him getting physically affectionate at first, but as he persisted, she became uncomfortable, and told him several times to stop.

“He had me give him a blow job,” she said. “Forcibly, he held me there. It can’t have been very good, because I had no idea what I was doing.”

She told him she didn’t want to do it, but “that didn’t matter.” He was very strong. She pulled away several times.

“I didn’t hit him or anything. I couldn’t put what was happening together with what should be happening. It was just too unreal,” she said.

He then penetrated her with his fingers. She told him “No,” and pushed him away several times, but again, “That didn’t matter. ” She was in “complete shock.”

About ten minutes later, he abruptly told her, “We can’t keep going like this.” He then said he was afraid she might get pregnant, and that they needed to break up.  He immediately drove her back to campus.

Some of her friends were watching a movie in the gym, and she blindly went and sat with them.  One friend later told her that he could see there was something wrong, but he thought she had just had a bad night.

“I hoped he would forgive me.”

She later told her friends she and her boyfriend had broken up, but never said why. She blamed herself for not being a good enough girlfriend. “Was I not dressed modestly enough?” she asked herself.

After the rape, she saw herself as “a complete failure, as a Catholic, as a woman, as a horrible girlfriend who had caused him to sin.” She repeatedly apologized to him, hoping he would “forgive her” and maybe take her back as his girlfriend.

“That makes me want to barf now,” she said.

A source close to Christendom says that people send their children to Christendom because “they’ve raised them in a bubble and they want that bubble to continue.”  She said mothers of students have told her they don’t want to talk to their children about consent, because it might make them curious about sexual matters. She says that, in recent years, the male students have been given more talks and education about how to treat female students with respect and dignity, but the word “consent” is not used.

“Is there a poster hanging up in a common area, telling you what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted? No. I’d bet my right arm on it,” this source said.

“Didn’t something like that happen to you?”

The young woman who was assaulted that night in 2005 revealed small portions of her story to a friend, who suspected that what she was describing was rape. The story was passed among friends, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the young woman acknowledged to herself that it was rape. The realization happened when another student told her she’d heard another story which sounded horribly familiar: A girl was parked with her boyfriend, a Christendom student, off-campus to watch a movie on a laptop, and he raped her. The male students was friends with the male student who perpetrated the first assault. The first woman’s friend asked her, “Didn’t something like that happen to you?”

The first young women immediately drove to the house of the woman who had just been assaulted, to talk to her about what had happened.

“This happened to me, and I didn’t say anything until literally right now,” she told her. “I don’t want to force you into something, but I don’t want you to make my mistake. I’m just now realizing this is a big problem.”

She persuaded the second young woman to go to the hospital and get a rape kit done. The second young woman also went to the police, but, because she didn’t have any bruises or cuts, they advised her that her case would not go anywhere.

“This is Front Royal; no judge is going to convict a rapist.”

An official whom the first woman describes as “the battered woman counsellor” told the second young woman, “I’ve seen a lot of these, and I can tell you right now it’s not going to go anywhere. This is Front Royal; no judge is going to convict a rapist, even with evidence.”

She was also told that, in Front Royal, a prosecutor will assume that a religious young woman such as herself is simply feeling guilty for having had sex, and is calling it “assault” to assuage her conscience. So the second young woman stopped pursuing a legal case.

According to the first young woman, all of Front Royal is “a notorious boy’s club.” She says a female employer once told her, “Basically, guys don’t have anything to worry about.”

The second young woman went to the Christendom administration with her complaint, according to the first young woman.

“She was confident it was going to be dealt with seriously and professionally,” she said. “I was less sure.”

Just looking for drama

Nothing ever came of the complaint. The Christendom student who assaulted the second young woman ended up transferring out, which was hailed as good news for the girls. The young woman who was raped in 2005 said that one professor told her the female students were making too much of it, “just looking for drama.”

She says sexual assault is “something we stick our heads in the sand about, as conservatives, as Catholics. ‘Don’t be a slut, and it won’t happen to you!’ But that’s not how it works.”

The ordeal has not damaged her faith, but it has changed her perspective.

“By the time I saw [the school] brushing things off, I had moved to a place where I could say, ‘No, that’s wrong. They’re not representative of the entire faith,’” she said.

She was able to separate their actions from Catholicism itself; but she was disillusioned with Christendom.

“A lot of their policies create an environment where stuff like this can happen, and especially where it can go unreported,” she said.

Perception is so important.

She says the school heavily promotes the idea that the campus is like a safe, happy family, that “[p]arents can send their homeschooled, sheltered, don’t-know-anything-about-the-world kids there, and they will be safe. Curfew’s at ten, everyone wears skirts, and it’s just perfect. The closest thing to having them at home.”

But current students and alumni say the school has a “boys will be boys” attitude which allows the male students to harass and grab at the women. If a young woman is raped or assaulted, the other students are ready to assume she did something wrong. Several students interviewed for this story made a distinction between “rape” and “date rape,” and only acknowledged when pressed that rape is rape.

The school administration has a vested interest in failing to punish male students who commit sexual assault.

“People see it to be a traditional Catholic School, and there’s a tendency to whitewash anything that did happen,” Elizabeth Foeckler, former RA, said.

More than one alumna said that many of the teachers at Christendom are excellent and caring, and that many of the students are sincere and faithful people. When asked what they would say to a student interested in attending Christendom, they said it could work out, as long as you go in with your eyes open.

In many cases, says a source close to the college, the rules regulating campus life arise from an ideology, and not from a practical understanding of student behavior. The lower echelons of the administration, those who deal directly with students, struggle with trying to convey ideas like safety and consent without subverting the founders’ notions of what virtuous student life looks like.

The result is an unusually vulnerable population of young women who don’t know how to navigate basic relationships, and who are terrified to express their wishes for fear of being rude, and are afraid to speak out when they or their friends are hurt.  They don’t have the words to describe what happened to them if they are assaulted, and they feel very strongly that they will be blamed for anything that happens to them.

And there is the reputation of the school to guard. “Perception is so important,” said the woman who never reported her rape at Christendom. “We have to evangelize, so everything untoward would be covered up.”

Adele Smith says there was a running joke among the student body about the fountains on campus.

“The school had lots of fountains,” she said, “But the carpets were the original carpets. They were thirty-eight years old. If you lived in the dorm, you were going to be sick. They installed fancy fountains, visible to everyone. But in student living, you can’t get new carpets.”

“Let’s craft and paint the outside,” she said. “But if the inside is not so good? It’s okay.”

Timothy O’Donnell, president of Christendom, was unavailable for comment when we called. He is still welcome to return our call.

***

This story was researched and reported by Damien and Simcha Fisher. Part I can be found here. 

 ***
***
Image credits:
christendom sign: By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mary Statue By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
regina coeli hall By AgnosticPreachersKid – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49352616
student center By AgnosticPreachersKid – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49352611
front royal clock  Clevergrrl via FLickr
church By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
men’s dorm By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
seal By Niall ODonnell (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

251 thoughts on “Are women safe in Christendom’s bubble? Part II”

  1. Dated a Christendom boy about 8 years ago when we were both in college. (I went to a different university). There is definitely a culture of “relying too much on the sacraments” as a previous commenter said. All of my ex-bf’s close friends would wear scapulars, all the while binge drinking, smoking, and committing grave sexual sins only to go to confession every Saturday. The very first time I ever visited my bf, I stayed with some girls at the dorm. At around 1 in the AM, he rolled up to the dorm completely red-eyed drunk driving his friend’s truck, trying to get me to get in the car. Needless to say, I refused. This was only one of many interactions where the supposedly higher Catholic standards fostered at Christendom were not present. I am not a student of Christendom, so I can only claim knowledge during the times that I visited, but I definitely experienced something akin to the “frat culture” that is at other universities, and that was not addressed at all by the administration. And unlike other Universities, like mine, where they make you take a 4 hour long seminar about drinking and rape and try to prevent “frat culture” aka the exploitation of women, from the information I gathered during my 10 months as his girlfriend, I never heard about any policies on behalf of the administration addressing these issues of drinking, sexual behavior, etc. “Chivalry and chastity” is NOT the same thing as “Don’t exploit women sexually or emotionally.”

    I don’t think every student did this, but as someone who grew up Catholic and was looking for a Catholic relationship, it was deeply shocking to me that these young men, supposedly at one of the best Catholic colleges, were completely comfortable binge drinking, smoking weed, and pushing the sexual boundaries with their girlfriends. And it wasn’t like one or two…it the whole friends group.

  2. There are other ways in which life at Christendom isn’t quite the way it’s often imagined to be. I came to Christendom in 2009 as a sheltered, home schooled tradcat altar boy and left four years later with a drinking habit and a drug problem. (Of course, that was all my choice.) I knew people who smoked pot, and I smoked it myself. I “trip-sat” for two guys who were on LSD in the basement of St. Joe’s. Many, many times I and another guy locked ourselves into the St. Joe’s laundry room and did whippets. And I also knew someone who was growing shrooms in his dorm.

    1. Jessie Dorman is not a smart man. The other students involved cried to him and said that I was the one totally responsible for everything, and that I had someone tricked/seduced them into using substances. I was expelled, and they were allowed to stay.

  3. I think that the school did what it could under the circumstances. By no means do I feel Christendom is a perfect place, but I do feel they do their best to ensure a sound catholic environment. If there was no physical evidence of the rapes and they did no occur on campus, then what could be done by the school? It is not their responsibility. The fact that they were able to suspend one of the perpetrators from living on campus was probably the best that they could do. If you do not like traditional Catholicism then do not attend the school. It is unjust to write defamatory articles about a college simply because you did not enjoy it. I did not enjoy my experience at Christendom, but I would never say that the school is a terrible place nor the governing body supportive of rape or any other kind of sexual misconduct.

    1. So many allegations, so little evidence. As a female Christendom Alum who was raised in Southern California and attended public school Kindergarten thru high school, in addition to state school in California and Ohio, I find these allegations of Christendom ‘mishandling’ the alleged rape laughable.
      The rules, social activities such as dances, movie outings, speakers, friends and serenading by my male compadres was a refreshing and welcomed means of promoting good, clean fun and healthy non-sexual friendships.
      At Christendom, I was considered ‘liberal.’ So much so, my class voted me to be the next President of NOW. As a mother of four daughters, I can honestly say that I implicitly would trust that my daughters would be safe at Christendom College.
      I fear the the number of unbalanced people commenting about the rights of the woman nauseating as it is done through the suppression of due process. The other party is not even given a voice. If he is guilty, let the facts stand. But she needs to acknowledge that she went off campus with the intent to violate school policy aimed at protecting her. She was smoking, and probably drinking. No one held a gun to her head. The school did not ‘force’ her to go off campus.
      The alleged victim seems hell bent on blaming everyone except herself… for putting herself in that situation, for not reporting it, for wanting to stay at the school in his presence etc. I am not saying that she deserved to be raped. No one does. But I am saying her motive for wanting to hurt others to rectify her obvious pain weakens her position.
      I am for women which is why I find blaming the school for her poor judgement reprehensible. If that is the logic, then she better hold her parents to the same account for not warning her, talking to her about why it’s not a good idea to go make out in the back seat of a car in the middle of the park etc.
      Women are capable of being responsible for their own actions. We don’t need to take down an institution that does a lot of good. If the Dude is responsible, then go after him. Leave the school out of it.

  4. I’d like to bring up a point or two that I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

    First, in all the state laws I’ve checked so far in my study and training, sexual assault/rape is considered a crime that causes ‘grievous and lasting harm’ to the victim. Translated from legal speak what that means, in THOSE STATES (check your own laws, but I’m fairly certain they will be similar), is that for the victim use of lethal force is authorized. In the case of women, this is ESPECIALLY true, as they are perceived by the law as catastrophically weaker than an aggressive male (sorry feminists, but you are), even if the male is unarmed. In fact, the law is so in favor of women on this point that even if Woody Allen, unarmed, attacked Ronda Rousey, the law would STILL green light lethal force on her part against him. And it doesn’t have to be a attack by a masked man in a dark alley. In my opinion, this is as it should be. Women need to know this so as to be aware that they are legally (and morally as well, all of you Pax Christi people can just shut up) allowed to take whatever means necessary to end the attack.

    Secondly, this guy sounds like he’s obviously a very smooth sociopath. It has been my experience that families, not just Catholics, but most families in general, do a terrible job of warning and preparing their children for dealing with pieces of feces like this guy. They don’t know how to handle that kind of situation. Not their fault, most people simply don’t know how to handle scumbags and they were never taught. Teach your kids, ESPECIALLY your daughters. At some point in their life, they will need that knowledge. The most important thing is to make sure they will be confident enough to be assertive. Yes, Jesus was meek and mild, but all that should vanish the instant a man doesn’t stop when his lady tells him to. This is not a natural response for the fairer sex, it must be taught and reinforced by their mothers and fathers.

  5. I am a freshman at Christendom and could not have had a better experience so far. The vibrant catholic culture is prevalent throughout campus and the student body is supportive and kind. I have never felt to be in any danger at any time during my time at Christendom thus far and I look forward to continuing my education here.

  6. Can’t help but wondering, why Christendom? If Fisher and her husband wanted to set out to help the fewest possible women on a single college campus in the U.S. they couldn’t have done much better than to choose Christendom, with its 400 or so total student body. Sexual assault is a universal problem – they could’ve called to task any of a number of other, larger, Catholic schools, with much bigger problems in this area, and helped many, many more young women, if they hoped to do some good. Notre Dame just to start.

    So again – why Christendom? The place is teeming with kids from lovely, big Catholic families just like theirs. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s political, they have a huge problem with the whole bubble thing, heard this story and saw it as an opportunity to make a point. And that’s truly disappointing. In their minds the bubble idea is completely unworkable and therefore worthy of derision and must be destroyed because rape still happens so, see, there’s the proof.

    They’re hell bent on saving the world from this perceived hypocrisy, so blinded by their zeal that they forget that Catholics – all of us – are attacked as hypocrites all. the. time. Everyday. Everywhere we turn. And there’s no heaven here on earth, no perfect, not Christendom – they never claimed so – not anywhere. We all know this stuff. When the rubber meets the road we’re supposed to transcend politics, ideology. We’re all supposed to be in this together. Talk about devouring your own.

    In its way Christendom did create a kind of bubble, where students could transition into the world while getting a great education in the faith. It’s actually a very beautiful idea. Again, no one ever claimed it was perfect. But the culture is deeply sexualized and they work hard to keep that spirit off campus (and get mocked for their efforts). They’ve managed to keep the hook-up culture mostly at bay, no small feat. Obviously there are serious problems. This piece was the exact wrong way to address them.

    So, you know what, Fishers? About that bubble? Not your business. And next time you want get all save-the-worldey try not to use your generous platform to make *all* Catholics look bad, but especially try not to scar the reputation of a pretty defenseless little school that’s trying really, really hard to do something good, limping along without taking tax money, with their fountains, and their dress codes, and, yes, sometimes smelly old carpets… and, oh yeah, their absolutely superb liberal arts Catholic education.

    P.S. The girls can wear pants now. That should make Simcha happy.

    1. “We’re all supposed to be in this together. Talk about devouring your own.”

      And weren’t the victims quoted in the article “in this together” with the Christendom community? Weren’t they our own? They clearly felt abandoned and ignored by the college. As a community, it’s worth examining why, even if we ultimately conclude there wasn’t anything more to be done. Otherwise how can we call ourselves a virtuous community, if our reputation in the non-Catholic world is more important to us than concern for the well-being of our own members?

      I graduated from Christendom, loved it when I was there, and still love it now. I too felt a bit wounded by the tone of the blog posts and their implications about Christendom’s culture. But because I love Christendom, I don’t want to pretend it’s perfect when I’m presented with evidence to the contrary. That isn’t real love, for a person or a community. I want to help it improve and become even better than it already is. And to that end, the most productive response is to listen to my fellow members of the community who feel they were wronged – even if the message doesn’t come to me in a form I like – and seriously examine how Christendom might improve in response.

      1. Anon, if you’re still reading, you make some good points. I hope this clarifies some of my thoughts.

        I believe Adele Smith and I’m glad she told her story; there are problems and they need to be addressed. But Fisher was not the right person to take this on. She has no impartiality – she’s open about her impatience for conservative Catholics and their ideas. So it ends up feeling like she’s coupling concern for students’ safety with an attempt to enact change by throwing Christendom’s culture wide open to debate on her blog: rules about dating, PDAs, separate dorms, dress code, etc. etc., all of which she apparently disagrees with, even seems to blame as causing a climate of abuse because those methods are not 100% effective.

        My use of “in this together” was a lament that Fisher chose not to take the higher ground. Even if she felt it her Christian duty to make this report, the piece leaves readers with the sense that behind the reputation for virtue Christendom has a dark, disordered, ugly side, which is preposterous. Also, she posted this explosive story on her popular blog with comments open, knowing it would quickly lead to the big pile on (Fisher’s an old pro in the combox wars). So now disgruntled former students and Fisher fangirls have a platform to gleefully smear Christendom’s name. It’s unseemly and could easily have been avoided.

        This isn’t just lively discussion about Trump; this is a fine Catholic college’s reputation we’re talking about, and there were things she could’ve done to set a tone for serious discourse; she chose not to. So instead we discuss carpeting, and PDAs, and the cafeteria, and mock genuine attempts to promote chastity. It seems, frankly, like a naked lack of charity when a blogger with Fisher’s platform would take a very sad story from eight years ago and misuse it in this way.

        I don’t think anything about this story means Christendom doesn’t have concern for the students’ well-being. I think we’re all – I know I am, with my own children – grappling with how to keep a world that wants to swallow our children whole at bay. Unprecedented moral challenges crop up all the time, and that’s what we’re seeing here for Christendom: learning to deal with new challenges, with prudential judgements to be made, all of which takes time. God bless.

    2. Why Christendom, you ask?
      Why NOT Christendom? I mean, don’t they hold themselves to a higher standard?

      I’m a devout Catholic, and if I’m going to potentially send my kids to a “devout Catholic” college, I want to go in eyes wide open. I want to know if the campus culture is sick.

      Knowing plenty of Christendom alumni myself, I’m not at all surprised to hear these things. And I’m really dismayed by the response. You can love your school while still admitting that grave wrongs have been done and that the campus culture must be changed.

    3. What is missing from the discussion is an acknowledgement of the way that woman act in order to defend their reputations or to avoid appearing at any sort of disadvantage in front of the community or individuals.

      At school I was talking a girl who said her friend was upset that she was worried about finding a boyfriend. We chatted about that and other things and I didn’t think anything of it. I later talked to the friend and diplomatically brought up the topic. She flatly denied that she was even remotely interested in a boyfriend at that time. This was a girl who I thought and still think very highly of. She is intelligent, pious and someone who I considered to be extremely truthful. And yet she reflexively lied to avoid appearing undesirable or desperate. I would not look down upon someone who wanted a boyfriend/girlfriend. That is a completely natural desire. If you have no desire to mate something is most likely wrong with you medically or emotionally.

      This experience and many others have lead me to realize telling the truth and being forthright has a lesser priority for woman than their status in the community and their view of themselves. Woman can and have in the past lied to assuage their guilt, protect their reputations or one of many other motives. There are an abundance of documented cases of this nature, some of which have received national attention in the past several years.

      I am not saying that any particular girls are lying or telling the truth. I am only saying that when it comes to accusations of crimes that carry decades of prison time that we should suspend judgement until we know the facts and we should presume innocence until proven guilty. This is also an appropriate time to mention that gossiping is considered a mortal sin according to St Thomas and other theologians. There has been much gossiping on the internet recently and many accusations derived from questionable accounts. The individuals who are responsible for parroting these accusations should be ashamed of themselves and should be shunned by the community at large unless they present corroborative evidence of the claims.

      The science is all over the place as you would expect given the nature of the allegations and differing methodologies in collecting the data. Wikpedia has a list of studies that have been done and the rate of false allegation is between 1.5% and 90%:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_accusation_of_rape

      That is quite a bit higher than the 2% claimed by prominent feminist organizations. I was disheartened to hear that questionable statistic echoed by people in this community.

      Let us be honest with ourselves here. Women are not shrinking violets from the Victorian era who are always the victim and never initiate romantic encounters. Woman are very active participants in the mating dance by dressing well, putting on make up, flirting and occasionally making a move. This should be no surprise to people in this community given the impressive and above average fecundity.

      Women are every bit as capable of evil behavior as men are but the mode of action is different. An evil man might shoot you, stab you or rob you. An evil women will destroy your reputation with false accusations, withhold affection from a child or other actions which are different in method but no less destructive in effect. Neither sex is angelic and neither sex is demonic.

      1. Did you go to Christendom? Do you know how to read a study and understand whether it’s reputable or not? Apparently not. Wow.

        And then claiming that women are liars who will do anything not to look bad in front of their friends? Are you in fifth grade? The example you gave is so ridiculously juvenile I can’t even remotely take it seriously.

      2. Fear of gossip and being labeled a gossip is the reason a lot of really bad things were allowed, and continued to happen unchallenged in recent history. How do you think the Legionaries of Christ got away with covering up so much abuse? –It was officially forbidden for people to report against a superior. I don’t even need to bring up clergy abuse.

        The founder of four Catholic schools once told me that it was “wrong for people to marry outside of their race”. I was stunned that he said it, and replied “But I married outside of my race!” I was confused and thought he’d forgotten who he was talking to, and let something slip, even though a gaffe like that was disgusting any way you looked at it. He knew I had children. But he just stared at me. He didn’t back peddle or apologize. My mind was racing to try to figure out why he would say it. He also asked me if I was pregnant before I married my husband, and if I was, under which circumstances. I was just stunned, and flustered, and couldn’t believe he was saying any of it. I had believed him to be some kind of pillar of the community. He was a big donor, and used to people fawning over him. When you are young, and used to strong authoritative males, you are more easily intimidated. I didn’t hold my ground like I would have today. Backing away, I made some feeble excuse and got out of there. I went straight away to tell my parents what he had done. I told my husband, and I told a priest. Everyone agreed that it was weird and disgusting, but nobody called him out. I didn’t say anything more about it. I took the complacency of the people I’d reported it to, to mean it wasn’t that important. Nobody wants to be labeled the gossip or the trouble maker. Nice girls don’t do that, right?

        As I look back, I know I’ve seen the same race purity thing in at least one ultra right wing Catholic publication. I’ve read equally crazy stuff in The Remnant, The Fatima Crusader, and the Wanderer. Some of them are on official watch lists, designated as hate groups.

        The people who embrace this stuff are sure that they are some special persecuted group, and that they are the tiny little flock whom Jesus will reward when he throws all of the tons and tons of chaff (human debris) into the fire. They say the right amount of rosaries, and wear the proper clothing. Most of all, it is their monumental persecution complex that deflects all personal introspection. It’s frightening.

        1. I’m familiar with the periodicals cited above. I’d be very surprised to hear that one of them condemned interracial relations.
          Could you cite some articles?

    4. If Jesus were President of CC college don’t you think the outcome would have been different?

      An CC has a very high profile in the conservative RC community- portrayed as a holy place, God directed, righteousness prevailing etc-Cardinals and Bishops full of praise for it ;so when sexual assault occurs, just like the RC church-“protect the institution at all costs”-did thyey not the learn from Boston and Cardinal Law’s coverup and being asleep at the altar?

    5. Simple. Because rebuking our brothers and sisters in Christ is an obligation of the faith.

      We need places like what Christendom claims to be. So it is important that we hold them to their claims.

  7. First, it is my understanding from faculty members, and students I trust, that the rape accusation made by Adele is true. I have nothing but compassion for her and any others who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from sexual assault. Secondly, I am no fan of Simcha Fisher due to the unhinged behavior she displayed during the 2016 Presidential election. It is my understanding that she urged her readers to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to stop Trump. I strongly disagree with that position. However I did my best to read this article without bias. To my mind the piece did not give a fair and comprehensive presentation of both sides and it creates a false picture of what daily life at the college is like. That said, I do not think the article is without any merit.

    I want to emphatically agree with this statement from the article “more than one alumna said that many of the teachers at Christendom are excellent and caring, and that many of the students are sincere and faithful people.” That is absolutely true. Some of the teachers at Christendom are truly great men, Prof. Eric Jenislawski among them. I do not say that lightly. However I think there are serious issues with the administration. In particular Student Life run by Jesse Dorman (no longer employed by the school) was atrocious. Of course the blame for his hire, and the length of time it took to remove him, lies at the top.

    There has been much said back and forth in the comments about legality, proof, parents responsibility etc. Whichever side of the coin you are on it cannot be denied that Adele and a significant amount of other women found the schools response and reaction to their sexual assault allegations inadequate. I will strongly second Adele’s position that the schools administration often placed more importance on outward appearance than on the students themselves. The fountains are a great examples. Or when the College brags publically about the entire student body attending The March for Life, but conveniently omits the fact that attendance is mandatory on pain of punishment. Other great examples are those made by Anonymous in the comment section that “the college is spending MILLIONS of dollars on a new church when students were *literally* living in dorms with mold, eating not-healthy food, and forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition with no federal aid.”

    I had a good friend who had significant health repercussions from the mold in the dorms and her complaints were belittled and met with skepticism. At Christendom were are taught that the human person a soul/body composite, but little emphasis is put on the health of the body. The food is extremely unhealthy and very poor in taste. These complaints are also met with skepticism and belittlement. What we put in our bodies is no small thing. It effects our mental performance, ability, moods/emotions etc. These are only a few examples. Steve Jalsevac, “Why on earth did [I] actually choose to attend this college that totally unsuited [me]?” Because good orthodox Catholic colleges are few and far between, and there are many many good things about Christendom. There is still much to improve. I also strongly agree with Anonymous when she says “Christendom College – while it has very good intentions to foster morality and Catholic life – fails when it comes to treating students like adult individuals – which then results in a spirit of resentment within the students.” I’m glad the Student Handbook now addresses sexual assault. I’m glad the College has improved its mental health services and resources. However,
    as long as the current administration is in power the college will not receive one red cent from me.

    1. Well said. There is whole article on how Christendom could be addressing the issue of stewardship, which, in neglecting, makes all the modesty and other pontificating seem hypocritical. Why they pick and choose their cultural battles has mystified me. The culture of death exists in our supermarkets and on our plates too. Worrying about skirt leangths and not the fact that most of the meat served at the school is from animals that live in inhumane conditions is hypocritical. You can’t make a big deal out of one and not the other. . . . . . . . Further why are we promoting food values that don’t align with the Church’s call to environmental stewardship. Student gardens, anyone? Students working to be involved in their food production would make all the philosophy, theology and literature classes twice as effective.
      Its frankly embarrassing to the rest of the world that we are not taking the lead here especially since there was a time that was ripe for that at one point in Christendom’s history .
      Back in my days at Christendom (class of ’03)students hung their clothes on laundry lines and read Wendell Berry . . . . . . sigh.

      1. Student gardens would be awesome, and it would be wonderful if the school could source its meat from humane conditions (I don’t know where the school sources its meat and other food). But please don’t call Christendom hypocritical in picking and choosing its cultural battles. Managing skirt length is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from managing all that is involved in feeding 500+ people three times a day, every single day. I don’t know all the details involved in how to feed such a community for every single meal, but costs and logistics are a big part of it. And if providing humanely treated, organic meat is anything like shopping at Whole Foods, it’s freaking expensive. There is way more involved in the whole meal process than there is in requesting that the students dress decently and professionally. I don’t see how you can compare the two and say that Christendom is hypocritical, especially when the food industry is what it is, and eating clean and green on such a large scale is not a simple fix.

        We still read Wendell Berry, by the way.

        1. Yes, its true that skirt length is not financial and food is. I guess that is what makes it all the more frustrating. In a sense Christendom can afford to make a big deal out of modesty because it costs them nothing. I agree it is an issue that should be addressed–but calls for a different model of approach in which modesty is fostered in an integrated manner and not one which treats the students as children who need a ruler for their skirts. That approach is not for adults. I am sorry, when you get to college, you are an adult. You need to take responsibility for your behavior. And if your parents have forced you to go to Christendom and you rebel by running around in a mini-skirt then we need to address parenting issues, not modesty issues.

          I guess I am questioning the overall model of the student life. It needs to be reworked to take human scale into account. Might something along the lines of Steubenville’s households make more sense? Of prime importance would be communal eating on a smaller scale with small kitchens available in all of the student housing and students themselves taking responsibility for some of the food prep–similar to a co-housing coops in Denmark and the Netherlands where the burden of meal sharing/planning is shared. The commons could still be offered for students who didn’t want to cook every night but giving them another option would be much less wasteful and foster small scale community. Forcing everyone into the commons needs to go. Yes large scale community is important especially for celebrating feasts, speakers, dances, etc. But small scale community is where accountability is built. Its also where problems are opened, aired, and discussed in a relaxed and non-charged environment. Further if eating areas were available to the opposite sex–not bedrooms, eating areas, this would largely solve the problem of not having safe semi-private spaces for couples to hang out in and foster the growth of physical intimacy between dating couples in healthy environments. Lastly, it would also help build friendships which are the basis of support networks (in the case of rape/harassment etc.)

          Glad to hear the students read Wendell Berry. Now if we could just get Jordon Peterson down there. . . . .

    2. Mold? Fountains? March for Life?
      I thought the issue was sexual assault??

      Oh, I get it — pile on.

      Bringing up so many other totally unrelated issues really weakens the case that this is about sexual assault.

      1. Agreed. I can’t give credence to any account where the accuser doesn’t go to the police right away. We are drilled as American citizens from the time we know numbers to call 911 and go to the authorities immediately. It would be nice if we could just have our male relatives/guardians deal with the culprit, but women have been liberated in our freedom of movement. No chaperone means no witness, which means the law needs physical proof and a regrettably invasive examination. Eliminating this would be denying due process for men. Having an XY chromosome doesn’t make any one automatically guilty, and Fisher’s assertion that the campus’s moral standards caused this alleged crime is patently absurd. Why then are ultra liberated campuses hotbeds of sexual assault then? (Allegedly)

      2. Juana,

        It’s about about the schools inadequate responses to student needs. It’s about dismissive attitudes from the administration. The attitude of the Christendom admin is one of the reasons
        this piece was written in the first place. I thought that was evident from Adele’s quotes in the article. There are many Christendom students who love the college but take issue with the administration.

    3. FACT CHECK:
      “Or when the College brags publically about the entire student body attending The March for Life, but conveniently omits the fact that attendance is mandatory on pain of punishment.”
      This is false. There is no requirement to attend the March for Life.

      “the college is spending MILLIONS of dollars on a new church when students were *literally* living in dorms with mold, eating not-healthy food, and forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition with no federal aid.”
      This is false. No one is forced to pay any amount of money. They are free to be un-enrolled at the college (as evidenced by the approximately 7 billion people not enrolled in Christendom)

      1. Anon,

        I attended Christendom for three years and graduated in 2012. There most certainly was a mandatory requirement to attend The March for Life. I would have attended regardless but we were told not attending wasn’t an option.

  8. Adele’s situation is tragic and I hope with all my heart she gets the justice she deserves, but her case was an anomaly. These articles give the sense that Adele’s situation is commonplace or indicative of Christendom’s overall atmosphere. That is incredibly dishonest.

    By Christendom standards, I was a vicious brute and a total scoundrel, but even in our “bad boy” circles at Christendom, fraternal correction was abound at the slightest whiff of sexual misconduct/ creepy behavior toward women. We fostered that and truly held those values sacred. This article portrays the opposite.

    Simcha clearly did not fact check or multi-source her information. Even people quoted in the article have complained that their words were used out of context. The fact that she never attended Cdom coupled with her one-sided testimonies makes her seemingly omniscient perspective of Cdom’s environment laughable and makes her motives suspect.

    This article is rife with half-truisms and outright lies/ misinformation. The world is full of creeps; no school is immune from that, but what Christendom has to offer is lightyears better and safer than 99% of colleges out there. Do not trust this hack piece.

      1. Talk about it. Name the accused. Women give up too easily. Why is all this energy being put into bashing a college instead of protecting women by naming those behaving like animals?! I have not, and would not give up seeking justice and safety for myself and others when someone breaks the law. As a woman I am appalled at the accusations and lack of follow through on the women’s part. Nail them!

        1. We do have a criminal justice system.
          Shouldn’t a complaint be made to that authority and use made of the legal system?
          Replacing that with trial by social media will lead to witch hunts — and the modern equivalent of burning at the stake.

      2. Anomaly: something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

        I didn’t say rape doesn’t happen at Christendom, I’m saying it is far from being the norm as this article dishonestly portrays.

    1. A number of your fellow alumni had a very different experience than you, CJK. A number of women were abused, harassed, assaulted, and raped. The fact that you did not know about it does not mean it did not happen.

      Intellectual honesty is engaging on the issues. It is not ad hominem attacks against the authors. It is not discounting the experience of many alumni that are contrary to your experience.

      I am sorry that you were vicious, a brute, and a scoundrel. That must have been very difficult for the people around you, and wounding to yourself as well. I’m sorry to explain that your mutual fraternal correction could only cover what was seen and known, not that of which you were unaware.

      1. I am sorry that a small number of my fellow alumni had bad experiences, however their experiences were anomalies and not symptomatic of Cdom’s atmosphere/ administration. Please don’t put words in my mouth- I didn’t said sexual assaults never happened, I’m merely contesting that they were casual or commonplace as this article suggests.

        Perhaps you should brush up on your logical fallacies: Nowhere did I direct an ad hominem against the author.

        By Christendom standards I may have been a brute, but I was always a gentlemen to women. I was aware of sexual assault while I was there and handled it accordingly. I had a lot of friends at Cdom so I couldn’t have been too hard to be around.

        My sisters both went to big state schools but they spent significant time in Front Royal/ hanging with Christendom folks and they were very impressed with how respectful and gentlemanly the majority of the Christendom guys were.

  9. I was one of these women. Not raped, but harassed and physically threatened. While I am devistated to learn that the administration did not handle other situations appropriately, I feel compelled to share my story and Christendom’s response. I received elaborately decorated letters from a young man describing how he wanted to treat me. He carved my name in the snow (with an ice pick) in huge letters across a very public area of campus in an effort to embarrass me into a relationship. Apparently that was his idea of a romantic plea. When I persistently refused, he grabbed me at a public campus dance and forced me into a dance that left bruises on my wrists. He was clearly mentally unstable, and strangely obsessed. I showed the letters and shared the other details to a guy friend and he immediately walked with me to the dean’s office where my concerns were taken very seriously. Knowing that the young man came from a difficult background, I begged that he not be expelled but simply told to stay away from me. In retrospect I know I should have pushed for him to be expelled but I was young and wanted to avoid drama and gossip. I did feel that I was well supported by the staff. The young man was interviewed by police and given mandatory psych treatment. The staff followed up to be sure I felt safe. My main point here is that they asked me, as a adult, how I wanted the situation handled and they followed my wishes accordingly. I was raised in an extremely traditional catholic environment but that did not mean that I did not know how to stand up for myself or how to recognize abuse. I was a 20 year old woman, subjected to violent harassment. I owned it and got the situation handled. The fact that other young women did not know the word “rape” or felt that they could not say “no” to a man is not the fault of Christendom. Nor is it Christendom’s fault that they felt too ashamed to report it (though I agree that more should be done to encourage reporting). These issues go much deeper into adolescent upbringing. No parent should ever send their kid into the world, bubble or no bubble, without at least the language to handle these types of situations. All this being said, I agree that the PDA rules were too strict and yes the open house events were really weird. My roommate and I locked our door and left for the day. Dress code: let me just say, When Ave first started, they did not have a dress code and people show up to class in their PJs . The Christendom Dress code has a lot more to do with self respect and respect for an educational environment that it does with avoiding wandering eyes. I went to all the dress code talks, yes modesty is important, because we are Catholic!!! Supposedly respectful of the human body and sexuality and so we dress in such a way as to please Our Lord in these matters. Never once was I given the impression by the administration that I was responsible for the thoughts of other men on campus.

    I am profoundly disturbed by these stories and my heart breaks for all those young women who were so horribly abused and ill equipped to deal with it!! But let us not swayed by the misdirected accusations and angry tone taken by these articles. Staffers of NBC felt that they could not report on their colegues, I can guarantee you NBC house rules are not as strict as Christendom’s.

    Obviously this is an issue that needs to be discussed, I think Simcha has done a terrible job of opening the discussion with a smear campaign. If she is going to call out all the bad, at least a nod to the good (of which there is much) is in order. It might even make her more credible. This discussion needs to be taken to the ground level by the administration, it needs to be openly acknowledged that these thing happenand that they they will not be tolerated.a practical solution would be to have a meeting on parents weekend giving stats of incidents, info for parents to recognize changes in their kids and how to open discussion with them before and if something happens. The same topic could be covered with the students. Let’s not forget that the rest of the world, not just Christendom, is just now waking up to the issue of sexual harassment. But as Catholics, let’s not follow the way of the world with one smear campaign after another, and throw the baby out with the bath water. Christendom is a beautiful place and I value my Years there as some of the best of my life. The professors were invaluable, selfless and inspiring people. Is everyone perfect? Obviously not. Am I surprised? no. Satan loves to see the good lost in chaos. In my case, the wrong was acknowledged and I was allowed to thrive. I feel that the same justice should be shown to the institution of Christendom college now. Acknowledge the bad, make a plan, deal with it, and allow all the beautiful and wonderful things about it continue to thrive.

    1. I think this is one of the most mature comments I have read in this whole discussion and I thank you for sharing your experience and your perspective on this.

    2. That’s what Christendom is being asked to do. Acknowledge the bad, apologize, and make positive steps to continue to make the college a safe place. A better place.
      Fisher DID acknowledge good points about the college.

      Satan loves to see good lost in chaos. But he also loves it when people hide their sins in the darkness. Christ calls us to shine light into that darkness, acknowledge our sins, be contrite, and do better.
      Christendom needs to acknowledge they messed up. They need to apologize. Its a good place. It can do better.

  10. Simcha is failing to give the whole picture. I am a Christendom alum. There was an incident when I was there, not mentioned in this article of course. A girl in my freshman class and the senior class president, they were drinking, lines were kinda blurred, an accusation was made and he was expelled, 3 weeks before grad, so it wasn’t tolerated. It was dealt with swiftly . . . Again the accusation wasnt made 1.5 years later and the College was able to handle it immediately. Did I meantion the accused that was expelled when I was there was the son of a politician and donor?

    While I am sorry for the victim in the story, if her story is true, which we have no way of validating, it is not the College’s fault that she DIDNT EVEN KNOW WHAT RAPE WAS.

    After being fired from the National Catholic Register and openly attacking other Catholic mothers Simcha is just looking for clickbait.

    1. There was no call for your ad hominem attack.

      Many other Christendom alumni have described the college reacting similarly to the way they treated Adele. Your experience of a swift response is wonderful. But by no means universal.

      It is quite normal for victims of trauma and abuse to have very great difficulty in accurately naming their trauma and using those words to describe what happened to them. It does not mean that Adele was stupid, or ignorant, or anything other than she went through something traumatic and had a normal trauma response. Please don’t mock that. It is very serious.

  11. We went to Christendom because we thought it would be different from the secular state university, and surprise, it wasn’t. That’s why some of the women might feel betrayed.

    Anyone who lived in Blessed Margaret remembers how you were cautioned not to walk around in pajamas since there was a male alum who lived in the Shores who would, quite frequently, skulk around the building and peek in the windows. And there was another upperclassman who had a track record of seeking out innocent underclassmen women, grooming them, and then well, you get the idea.

    So to any male student or alum or parent who says “You don’t understand” and “This is an attack on Catholicism”, I say, “No, sir, you don’t understand”, and “This has nothing to do with Catholicism.”

    What happened to female students, either blatant or subtle, is wrong no matter where it happens, but yes, it is worse when it happens somewhere where we were taught that we were the guardians of Catholic culture and morals.

    1. If you “went to Christendom because [you] thought it would be different from the secular state university” and then found “it wasn’t” you had to be nearly deaf, dumb and blind or just perhaps absent from classes and many of the activities all the time you were there. Why did you have this pathetically negative experience while most others experienced a Catholic college life that they treasure for the rest of their lives? I am pretty sure I know why.

      I strongly suggest that the real story here is that the Fishers and commenters such as yourself just can’t stand a truly Catholic college – or, rather, I should say that you were fed that poisin by your previous false Catholic formation that deprived you of truth.

      What you can’t stand is that Christendom is not “progressive”, “inclusive”, etc and does not place a priority on liberal “social justice” issues, it requires an act of fidelity to Church teachings by all professors at the beginning of each school year, has behavioural and dress rules for students, sends all of its students to the March for Life every year, prays in front of abortion clinics in D.C, etc.. On the other hand, you and the author don’t acknowledge that the right to life is by far and away the most important of all social justice issues, bar none. That was verified by Simcha’s post on her blog 15 hours ago, “Hey, the president is going to be at the March for Life. Let’s put pro-immigrant and anti-racist slogans on our signs.”

      These comments betray a clear agenda to this article and all who support it. If the issue were simply that a few incidents of sexual abuse were not dealt with as they should have been, that would be one thing and well worth looking into.

      However, the language, the general belittling of the college (“a bubble”) and its many traditional Catholic policies tell me that the sexual abuse incidents are mere fodder being crassly exploited for a wider agenda of assaulting the very existence of such a thoroughly orthodox Catholic faith-centred college. That means a college that places spiritual matters and the eternal salvation of all of its students and those they later come in contact with at the very top of its priority list.

      There are now only a tiny handful of Catholic colleges that do that anymore and according to the progressives, it seems, the existence of even one of these is offensive and they must be forced to get with the times and its worldly seamless garment.

      1. Steve,

        This is your boss. You’ve been using a company computer to leave comments on articles, while clocked into your shift, yet again. We checked the search history–you searched “rape articles” in six different search engines. You even used archive.org, Steve.

        We checked the timestamps. 6000 comments in one 8-hour shift, Steve. Why? How?

        Please take your work here at the Red Flag Factory seriously, or we’ll be forced to take more corrective measures.

        Sincerely,

        Mr. Lester Hecksema

        1. Right. So you have a grand time writing fiction and demonizing people who disagree with you. Again I ask, why on earth did you go to Christendom? It was clearly not the place for you.

  12. I am laughing myself to death reading your two articles. Do you actually mean that ‘high standards’ are the cause of rape off or on this campus??? Have you ever dealt with any number of rape victims? Well I did for many years and let me tell you standards that were too high was never a cause of any of those rapes! Between your very ignorant sense of values and Pope Francis, before we know it confession will no longer be needed because there will be nothing sinful. Why you might ask, because standards are lowered so much, we all end up wallowing in the gutter. Society is where it’s at because as Catholics we have not held the bar high enough.

  13. Hello.
    I’m not here to get into an argument or discussion but I am a recent alumni and would like to leave my own opinions here.
    I do believe this story and that all of it is true, because although I was never a victim of rape on the campus, I did experience and hear other people’s stories.
    Due to being anonymous, I will not give a timeline. However, a few years ago, there was someone in my class who sexually assaulted girls off campus. The police were involved, yet the college did not do anything about it.
    One of my other friends was sexually harassed by a member of the faculty at Christendom College. Other girls received the same treatment from this individual as well and nothing was done until the college was forced to respond.
    Other incidents happened in dorm rooms and in the woods, but I will not share those details at this time since they did not involve me.
    If you ask various young women who graduated from the college, they will have similar stories.
    In no case did the college offer support or counseling.
    Instead, Christendom College – while it has very good intentions to foster morality and Catholic life – fails when it comes to treating students like adult individuals – which then results in a spirit of resentment within the students.
    Students are forced to go off campus to drink or be with their partner, which can often be dangerous.
    The school would rather patrol the campus to watch for girls whose skirts are not down to the crease of their knees and give them a fine for “breaking dress code” based on their not at all realistic standards than care for students’ well beings.
    This is one reason why there are problems at the school. Young women and men at the school are brainwashed with the idea that if girls are not dressed from head to toe, they are immodest. Young men then view girls wearing normal items of clothing as immodest. In turn, it becomes the young women’s faults if they are not dressed a certain way. Young women are literally punished if they do not have skirts that reach to the creases of their knees or tops that reach their collarbones. What is this telling our generation of young Catholics? That it’s okay to shame women into becoming little clones who follow arbitrary dress code rules that aren’t even standard in the real world?
    Also – I agree with the article. Perception IS important to Christendom College.
    Let’s talk about the fact that the college is spending MILLIONS of dollars on a new church when students were *literally* living in dorms with mold, eating not-healthy food, and forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition with no federal aid — because again, receiving federal aid (which would be extremely beneficial to students) would cast a bad shadow on the college’s Catholic ideals.
    According to the school’s calculations, I will be in debt until I am nearly 40 years old. I pay $1,000 a month in loans with a 10% interest rate. Yet millions of dollars are being poured into this new church – while students are suffering. I call to mind a Bible verse where Jesus is talking about hypocrites who are more worried about cleaning the outside of a dish than the dirt from within.
    No student should have to choose between groceries and gas or student loan payments.
    Perhaps Christendom College needs to take a good hard look at itself. Start treating your students like adults. Adults can drink, adults have relationships, adults dress themselves. Yes, teach them the Catholic Faith and promote good values, but do not force women to dress how YOU want and relationships to proceed how YOU want. You are making rebels of students who would otherwise thrive.
    I am Catholic and I am proud of it.
    But I do not buy this “bs” apology. The college can not call facts in this story “misleading” when I have witnessed similar stories first hand and know them to be true. Christendom — you can’t throw stones from glass houses.
    I hope these stories will empower other alumni or current students to tell their stories as well because we are not alone.

    1. Why on earth did you actually choose to attend this college that totally unsuited you? That comes through loud and clear in your rant. You want the college to change many of its policies to suit your preferences and views rather than just pick another college that you would have found much more amenable to your worldly priorities. What gives?

      1. Steve, there is no reason for you to attack the person of the commenter. That is neither charitable nor appropriate

  14. This is literally like saying someone got raped inside a store and it’s the stores fault and now the store is an unsafe place to go. This is the most passive aggressive article I’ve ever read. Plus this is the same story of every rape case ever. Rape is awful. But just because it happens at one place doesn’t make that place evil. It happens every day at other schools yet you do not point them out. It’s just more obvious at a super small school because t happens so much less often.

  15. I’m glad someone spoke up. There were a lot of things going on at the college that student life turned a blind eye to. One of my friends experienced sexual harassment at the school and nothing was done about it. Instead, the school chose to make sure dresses hit the crease of girls’ knees to meet their standards of “modesty” rather than the mental well being of their students.
    Sex was considered taboo and everything was hidden from everyone and everything. If you did experience harassment, assault or rape you could not speak up because everyone would know and most everyone would judge you. They might say you weren’t modest enough or you let it go too far.
    I am a Catholic and proud of it, but Christendom has a lot of work to do. Stop focusing on the ridiculous dress code and PDA standards and focus on loving and helping students. The strict rules are hurting the college – not helping. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

      1. Steve,

        This is Mr. Hecksema again. The security tape confirmed our suspicions. You were in the bathroom with the computer for three hours today. That computer belongs to Dixie Red Flag Co, and don’t appreciate you ignoring your work here. We haven’t checked the tapes from earlier this week, but we will.

        We need to talk, Steve. Please turn your phone on.

        -Mr. Hecksema

      2. Juana, the commenter didn’t say get rid of all the rules. The commenter said that while at Christendom, they were more concerned about being stickler to those rules than in caring for their students. You blew what was said completely out of proportion

  16. So one time I crossed the stream on the way to the river with a boy went left instead of right and we started making out, he kept putting his hand down my pants even though I told him to stop several times. Thankfully I heard a friend of mine coming up the path and called out to him. The boy I was with let me go and I stumbled out of the bushes, my friend thought I had gotten lost and lead me back up to campus. That was the first incident on campus, that lead to a relatively self destructive year.

    1. I got that you told him to stop and he didn’t.

      How is that the school’s fault?

      You were off campus. You ignored everything the school had tried to teach about decent (and safe) human relationships and you didn’t tell the school.

      Tell me again why this is the school’s fault.

      You made a really poor decision that thankfully wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

      1. Of course the guy was a predator, but if you didn’t report him to the police, you left him free to assault again.
        He tricked you into thinking it was safe to go off in the bushes with him. Filing charges can make it more difficult for him to trick others.

      2. When I told someone I was raped he looked me up and down laughed and said “you weren’t raped” with disgust. I got the distinct impression this was the prevailing attitude (because I’m not that private and I did share this story with a lot of people looking for support) so did my best to get past it on my own.

        What did the school teach about relationships? Relationships (even puppy crushes) are forbidden until you are a junior? Holding hands is punishable by fine even then? Relationships at Christendom were like blankets in the agoge, it had to be stolen and you couldn’t get caught. I’m sure you can see how this can lead to unhealthy decisions.

        I don’t think anyone is calling for Christendom to allow sex on campus or women to dress like they’re going to a club. I think what is being brought to light here is the need for an attitude agustment when it comes to women and less dragconian standards. Christ said go forth and sin no more not “you’re damaged goods” (actual quote from upperclassmen I confided in).

        Perhaps all the faith at Christendom is seen as a clanging gong because there is very little love to be found there (with some exceptions). At least that is the case in my personal experience.

    2. Hey Ren, I remember that year and feeling worried about you, but I didn’t know that happened. I’m sorry a guy did that to you. I missed your sense of humor and mischief when you left.

  17. This story is an incredibly sad one and sparks a lot of anger in people; some, because their experience of life and study at Christendom is quite different to the one told by these two women and others are angry because this. just. keeps. happening.

    I’m Australian, I have never been to Christendom know little about it except it’s a Catholic Liberal Arts College in the USA. However, I do have one small thought that has been on my mind, especially as my Church begins dealing with the fallout from a Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse.

    Catholic Institutions and the people who in habit them are human. There is no possible guaranteed 100% foolproof method of detecting and preventing predatory behaviour. Just like poverty, this problem will ALWAYS be with us. The real challenge is in responding to the sin with truth, mercy and healing AND just boundaries and sanction for both the victim and the perpetrator at all levels of our schools, work places, parishes and communities.

    The parable of the Lost Sheep is something that sprang to my mind with this story. As explained by many commenters, most of what Christendom College does is good and most students and staff experience safe and productive life at the college and its surrounds. Only a small number of students have a very different experience of trauma and indifference from the institution, even if there was little it could do in the legal complexities apparent in college rape.

    Here’s the thing, the shepherd in the parable was not content to let his work be limited to 99 sheep who were safe, happy and fed. He went after the missing sheep that was lost, injured and frightened. If we are going to trust institutions with being shepherds, their true mettle is not in the welfare of the 99, but how they handle the one lost one. Christendom may (or may not) have done right by it’s lost sheep, but the worst thing it could do is pretend that there were only 99 sheep to begin with.

    We as Catholics and the institutions we run, need to be merciful and human when it comes to facing these tragedies and we have no excuse for not being on the ball and ‘state-of-the-art’ when it comes to rape and sexual assault. If we claim to know humanity in all it’s glory and depravity, we need to be prepared to deal with the depravity and it’s victims, especially if they seem like ‘good Catholic boys and girls’.

    Two Australian cents for consideration. 🙂 I’ll keep these women and the staff and students of Christendom in my prayers.

  18. I graduated from Christendom in ‘08, and I am totally distraught about all this. First and foremost because my friend’s sister was raped. Secondly because I love the school and the mentors and friends I met there, and it is painful to watch the ugliness come out. Just the other day I was thinking, “wouldn’t it be terrible if Christendom had a pervnado?” Well, shit.

  19. “She says that the rules against romantic public displays of affection were so restrictive, it drove couples off campus. Because Christendom is in a rural, isolated spot with few restaurants, clubs, museums or theaters, going off campus generally means going into the woods or into a field.”

    This is utter nonsense. She drove to Skyline Drive. To do so, she passed a half dozen or more fast food places. Spelunkers. Burger King. A Thai restaurant. A couple pizza places. Coffee houses. Starbucks was the same distance from the school as where she was allegedly raped. Restaurants. A movie theater, if they wanted to neck.

    If she just wanted to walk and hold hands, why not the cute little downtown area, complete with gazebo. The library has a little internet cafe where they could have sat and talked.

    There are several parks that would not have been as isolated as the one she drove to.

    Many young girls are naive and get into situations where evil people take advantage of them– but it was hardly the college that made her naive. Why does the college seem to be blamed for that?? Had she no preparation for college, life, dating, men? Her parents? Previous schooling? Siblings? Grandparents? Friends? Media?

    A regular part of the orientation to Christendom is an address to the students counseling them not to date as underclassmen. Warning that most are not mature enough yet. They are regularly advised on the risk to virtue of going off alone with romantic partners.

    All ignored.

    No one deserves to be raped. The victim is not at fault.

    But why is the college blamed when the students systematically disabled everything the school had put in place to protect them from immoral consensual sex — and rape?

    1. I hope that from now on the student orientation will include the warning that “female students have reported being assaulted by male students in the past. Here are the details. We like to think that our fellow students are safe, but unfortunately some of them may be hiding a predatory nature. Here are some red flags to watch out for, and here’s what to do if a student or employee assaults you.”

      1. Yes! Be up front about it. Warn people. This is ESPECIALLY important if the school is deliberately courting naive students from the Catholic Bubble.

      1. The events in the article happened years ago.
        They cannot be changed.

        But, folks reading this could learn something about keeping themselves safe.

        We are told to teach our young children — literally pre-schoolers — about stranger danger, keeping to safe places, making a HUGE LOUD fuss if anyone tries to touch them or makes them uncomfortable. That is NOT victim shaming of the children who were abducted or abused. That is trying to prevent other children from sharing the same fate.

        Surely, if we are to teach this to 4-year olds, we can remind 20 year olds of ways to keep themselves safe.

        There are many, many safer choices for young people in dating situations that do not involve the risk to virtue, reputation, and bodily integrity that are inherent in getting into the back seat of a car or alone in an isolated wooded spot with a guy.

        It is not victim shaming to say that. It is trying to prevent other young women from being taken advantage of. — Or wasn’t that one of the points of publishing this in the first place??

    2. Yeah, that was the drive-by quality of the articles, which undermined the legitimate – if so it proves – critique of the Administration’s response, to the charges, the parents, the investigation. Perhaps picky, but couldn’t help notice O’Donnell’s letters says in retrospect, Administration ‘could have’ done better, when surely the operative words there are ‘should have.’

  20. “The school had lots of fountains,” she said, “But the carpets were the original carpets. They were thirty-eight years old. If you lived in the dorm, you were going to be sick. They installed fancy fountains, visible to everyone. But in student living, you can’t get new carpets.”
    Seriously? I suppose the the TP keeps running out and the the water cooler jug is getting low too. I’m not an alum but you could write such stories about any college in the country. Why would you choose Christendom? And are 20-somethings that clueless? I was home schooled and very sheltered, but I knew right from wrong in these matters. I learned it from my parents, not college. If they have students who are really this oblivious, it’s the parents’ fault not Christendom’s, and from someone who has worked in higher ed, kids this clueless do exist and come from all kinds of backgrounds.

    1. They could have done more to create a safe place for their students. They could have done more to respond when she came to them. When they decided that the guy was guilty of harassing her, they could have done more to actually address that at a proper level.
      The fountains and carpets were a metaphor. Not the point of the article.

  21. Hi, Simcha and Damien. I have a couple of questions for you:

    1. If you were in Christendom’s administration and had the authority to do so, would you have expelled the male student? If so, on what basis?

    2. Sexual assault cases are unfortunately common on college campuses. In many of these cases, there are no witnesses and no real evidence one way or the other. They’re “he said-she said” cases, in other words; the woman accuses the man of rape and the man denies it.

    Generally speaking, how do think college administrations should deal with such cases? Should they accept the woman’s word without questioning it, and deal with the male student just as they would if there were definitive evidence proving the woman’s version of the story? Or should they do something else? If so, what?

    1. The text message he sent, his harassment of her, her plummeting GPA, her sleep interruptions and anxiety, and the fact that others had noticed there was something wrong– all point to the truth of what she is saying. Your comment is suggesting that there is no way to know, but that is just not the case. Furthermore, his version of the story is so improbable that in this particular case the school could have had a very high degree of certainty from the start and still can.

      1. And at the very least could have done a great deal more to protect her from what they acknowledged was continuing harassment.
        Rape aside, he was chastised for harassing her. Mildly. That harassment was unacceptable, and their tepid response to the harassment was equally unacceptable.

  22. After reading all of the comments, I’d like to point out a couple of things. I don’t believe this article is trying to smear classical, Catholic education. What it is pointing out is the kind of baggage which affects these kinds of institutions.

    For those who feel unjustly slighted, I’d like to point out one, HUGE, thing you are overlooking:

    We have sat at your tables, we have listened to your political thoughts and ruminations. We have listened to your lectures, and read your books. There was so much good–yes, it was so good that you gained our trust. We used to believe everything that everyone in the little Catholic citadel taught! We were faithful students of team catholica, and avid defenders to her detractors. But the Holy Spirit has this way of penetrating even the most brainwashed mind. The Holy Spirit sifts and broods over the waters. The Holy Spirit brings truth and beauty and refreshment. The person of good will begins to recognize that something is amiss–that there is something else in the garden–only it doesn’t bring quiet, and refreshment.
    The person of good will begins to sit up and take notice, examining where the disquiet comes from. He searches his soul. When he finally finds the source, he can’t believe he ever entertained it, or didn’t see how shoddy the facade really was. Simply speaking, he finds *hate*, and it is really quite thinly disguised. You may say that hate is a strong word, but that is what contempt is, and contempt is what many catholics have for other human beings. (Not the least of them being our Holy Father)*Extreme conservative catholicism is a cult that promotes hate*: hate for other religions, races, hate for people who are homosexual, hate for people who are political and economic refugees, hate for “anchor babies”, hate for people who question capitalism, hate for women who try to bring equality to the work place, and in marriage, hate for women that can’t or don’t conform to their mindset, or simply because her body is beautiful and looks like the body of a woman.

    So let me say it again. We were witnesses. You frightened us, you bullied us, you made us feel the wrath of your god. You peppered it with lurid threats supposedly from the mouth of Our Lady. Oh how you loved to speak of evil! Of devils and wrath and coming chastisements from the hand of God.

    This creates a duality in the human soul. It leads to double lives, because human beings aren’t allowed to be human. It creates injustice, because those that are given stewardship to protect the weak, bow to their manmade kingdom instead. They choose honor and prestige. They choose *money*. All of this duplicity comes before individuals and communities. Then they dress it up to look noble, with finery and hints of the classic and a quote from a doctor of the Church..

    Don’t fool yourselves. The presence in the midst of the garden that brings disquiet to the soul is not just hate. It is a mystery of Iniquity.

    1. Ah, thanks for your frankness. Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty of what this article is all about – hatred for true Catholicism, for genuine Catholic moral teachings, for the uncomfortable words that Jesus and his disciples said about the very narrow gate to salvation.

      Many of in the pro-life, pro-family orthodox Catholic promoting movements got there from a life perhaps similar to your own. Somewhere along the line someone had the courage, love and grace to invite us to repentance, conversion and a new life devoid of the resentments, pride and sinfullness of our very dissatisfying old lives.

      We encountered Jesus Christ, the scales fell from our lives, we saw clearly for the first time, forgave those who hurt us and lied to us and began a far more meaningful new life in Christ – a spiritual life focused on eternity. I thank God constantly after that heppened to me in 1977. My mission since then has been to try with all my heart to help others to not continue to live as I did and to make the serious errors that caused myself and others so much grief.

      I wish the same for you. It is not really all that difficult because the grace is there for everyone. True humility is the first needed disposition that leads to the opening of all the wonderful doors. Bitterness, hatred, pride, resentment, anger, unforgiveness (above all) closes all the doors.

      Jesus did not just say nice things nor indicate the way to eternal life with him would be anything but difficult. Here are many things that many modern Catholics would like to pretend that he never said – absolutely necessary things that too many shepherds withhold from their flocks for fear of causing discomfort, offence or shame. They will pay a terrible price for such negligence of their sacred duty to be guides to eternal life:

      https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/divisiveness-and-the-politically-incorrect-hard-sayings-of-the-real-jesus-c

      1. Mr Jalsevac,
        I am a practicing Catholic. I am happily and gratefully a daughter of the Church.

        I’m humbled by the length of time it took for me to discern the evil that was slipped in with all of the goodness, disguised as “orthodoxy”.

        I believe you to be completely and utterly brainwashed. You are mesmerized by your stories and strange conspiracy theories, wasting time and energy on what is not essential. Consider the fact that you are doing damage to the Church and causing scandal to the weak –a stumbling block to young Catholics who might rashly throw it ALL away, based upon the message of hate you insert with the gospel of Jesus.

        Despite it all, I know Jesus loves you and would release you from your bondage if you would let him.

        1. “hate”, it is always “hate, because there is no convincing comeback. Don’t any of you ever tire of instantly lobbing that grenade at those who simply don’t agree with you? “brainwashed”, “bondage”, “conspiracy stories”. What a low level of dialogue. Don’t you feel just a little ridiculous about responding with those accusations? And, what is a “practicing Catholic to you?” It has always meant one who accepts, believes and tries to live ALL of the true teachings of the Church. It’s not complicated, but it is difficult.

          1. If you voted for a man that ginned up a crowd to chant “build a wall” and “go ahead and beat him up–I’ll pay for your lawyer”–you are in the deepest denial.

            When did I not obey the Church? –You don’t give birth to 10 children and bury two of them with a Catholic priest officiating because you play fast and loose with the law. You don’t hang on through thick and thin to your marriage of 32 years because you are part of a throw away culture. Oh, and you don’t have your appellate ruling,in favor of Planned Parenthood, citing RICO turned over by the Supreme court of the United States if you weren’t struggling to bring light and help to the desperate. (We paid their attorney fees with a check that had the little Mexican children we saved from abortion printed on it. My husband and I stood up at the baptisms of two of them.)

            I love the Church. I am deeply disturbed by impostors. A virus does the same thing. It injects DNA into a healthy cell to confuse it so the disease is able to replicate itself.

    2. Do you suffer from multiple-personality disorder?
      Are you royalty?
      Trans and opting for a plural pronoun?
      Is there a reason you write in the first person plural?

      1. Oh my gosh. Crazy. I’m a married woman, Catholic, with 8 kids. I love my husband and have been with him 32 years. What. is. your. problem. ?

        1. “We.” That is the problem. You wrote in the plural.
          Who is the “we”?
          For whom do you claim to speak and when were you elected their spokeperson?

          It is indeed crazy (as in seriously deluded) to pretend to speak for some vast, unnamed mass of people.
          I guess you do so to try to imbue your personal remarks with more weight and authority then they merit.

          1. My family–that is who I speak for. It’s a big one. Some of them are still brainwashed too. They can’t discern that disliking immigrants isn’t Christian but boy were they homeschoolers (and boy do they love our predator in chief)! When one of my older nieces wanted to kick her faith to the curb, I reminded her that just because Catholics sometimes act like monsters isn’t Jesus’ fault.

            I have apologized to my older sons for forcing them to go to a school like Christendom. If I hadn’t, it might have damaged our relationship permanently. Both of them can see both the good, and real rot in that school, and have been able to sort it all out. (At least the older one has). It made them very wary of the ultra conservative Catholics. They pity them for being so sucked into their strange, blood-drained cult.

            At the end of my son’s senior year, even the old, kind priest let loose on the “Skirts” (boys and girls). He yelled at them in front of the whole school and more or less told them to stop acting like such sanctimonious jerks. He said the confessional was NOT there for them to go twice a week to report their room mates’ sins. –The rest of the school gave their chaplain a standing ovation. –See? Most the kids were sane, (just mildly distraught) and most of the faculty too. But in terms of conservative schools, what people are saying about Christendom sounds like higher octane crazy, with way more Skirts.

          2. p.s. Do you even bother to read what people have written about being traumatized? Out of control Traddery has been around for decades now. Insufferable puritans have been around since humans became humans I suppose.

    3. As per Theresa Scott:

      “You frightened us, you bullied us, you made us feel the wrath of your god. You peppered it with lurid threats supposedly from the mouth of Our Lady. Oh how you loved to speak of evil! Of devils and wrath and coming chastisements from the hand of God.” = NOT a personal attack

      “Who is the “we”?
      For whom do you claim to speak and when were you elected their spokeperson?” = personal attack

      1. You are confused. I wrote those words not Theresa–and I stand by them.

        At least at a secular institution nobody claims to be a mouthpiece for God. Kids between the ages of 17 and 21 are especially vulnerable to *spiritual* abuse as well as physical abuse. Clearly, spiritual abuse has a particularly pernicious ability to set a victim up for physical abuse.

        Like night follows day.

        But you won’t be able to see it unless you take the blinders off.

        1. “My family–that is who I speak for. It’s a big one. Some of them are still brainwashed too.”

          She even speaks for the family members who (“still brainwashed”) disagree with her!

          Amazing.

          1. And you are probs some guy named JD that is acting and speaking as a latina named “Juana”.
            Hahahahahahahahahahaha
            How ironic is that?
            Spicy.

  23. This article is vicious. I see many have already commented before me, but here goes:

    1) The descriptions of the PDA rules and campus culture are not at all accurate; they are a freaking joke. If you’re gonna pretend to be “journalists,” at least make an effort. It’s not that hard to ascertain things like this.
    2) In no sense does Christendom promote or protect sexual assault.
    3) I was personally involved with supporting Adele through her ordeal. The college did everything it possibly could under the circumstances, including assisting Adele in notifying and cooperating with law enforcement.
    4) This article contains many outright lies, as well as half-truths and disingenuous insinuations. Case in point: OF COURSE Jesse Dorman didn’t return your calls. HE CANNOT TALK ABOUT THIS OR ANY OTHER DISCIPLINARY CASE WITHOUT VIOLATING CONFIDENTIALITY LAWS. How the hell can he defend himself? You can write whatever you want, with no regard for truth or justice, and he can never speak up.
    5) I have no idea what’s actually motivating the Fishers’ vicious smear campaign against Christendom College, but I cannot help but feel utterly betrayed that fellow Catholics would act this way. Over the past 11 years, I have taught hundreds and hundreds of Christendom students, and the overwhelming majority of them are young men and women of whom I could not be prouder. Men and women of virtue, joy, and accomplishment. Young women, for example, who go on to get Fulbrights and graduate fellowships and law degrees; young men who go on to medical school or to become entrepreneurs, scholars, or priests. I can think of so many, and I could not be prouder of them or of this institution. I feel like the Fishers’ smears and lies are an assault on all of them. As well as on myself and my colleagues.

    I would love to say more, but I’m too busy preparing for class. Peace out.

    -Brendan J. McGuire, Ph.D. (B.A. Christendom ’03)
    Associate Professor of History
    Christendom College

    1. From my point of view, from the September of 2008 to me graduating in 2011 Christendom had its ability to protect vulnerable students degraded to unacceptable levels. I went to report a suicide attempt by another student, and I brought along my mom for extra support. Both of us were floored by the indifference. She deals with many HR situations as part of her job and this just completely blew her mind. To this one particular, specific instance that I witnessed, I simply can’t attribute that to a lack of capability or not knowing what to do.

      There were a few other cases throughout my time there that you would hear about that were disturbingly similar, which inidicated to me that my experience wasn’t a one off. Justified or not, there certainly was a feeling among students that you were on your own in terms of something like this at that time.

      I would say most faculty and staff members were at least aware of an urgent need for improvement in this area, and a couple who were quite outspoken. From what I’m hearing now, they succeeded in improving things but those resources weren’t in place at the time Adele and I went to school.

      Addressing the Adele case specifically, putting her the same class as her alleged rapist and allowing grades that were clearly impacted from the trauma of the event onto an official transcript were grave, grave mistakes that clearly impacted her mental well-being and future academic career.

    2. It’s a shame, Brendan, that your first move in your comment is to attack the character of the Fishers. A number of other alumni have stated the the PDA rules and campus culture were exactly as Adele described them, so maybe you could be a little less “vicious” in accusing the Fishers. Especially since your characterization of the event calls your self proclaimed friend’s honesty into question, which is pretty awful.

      If you read more carefully, you will see that the Fishers acknowledge that the school is a good school, with many fine virtues to recommend it. They didn’t attack the educational quality of the school.

      You, as a former student and now an active professor, have a very different view of Christendom than many of the women. This is understandable. Women face completely different social pressures than men in the same environment, so you’re experience is going to be different from the get go. Add to it that other alumni have disagreed with you about the rules of the college and the culture which they experienced, and the many experiences of women who were treated indifferently by the administration… Perhaps if you read through what your fellow alumni have to say, you will see that the experience you have of the school is not universal, that many students have had quite the opposite experience.
      This does not mean that the school is trash, or worthless, or even bad. It means it has flaws that need to be addressed in order to help her grow into a school which is even greater. A school in which a much larger percentage of the population can feel safe, and treated with their inherent dignity. A place that strives even further to live up to its Catholic calling.

      1. I think Dr. McGuire’s criticisms of the author are valid.

        The general crux of it, that Christendom had a serious problem with crisis management which seriously hurt several people for at least a time is accurate. But the lady’s tone is certainly hostile and interviewees are now coming forward saying they were misrepresented and there are several inaccuracies in describing Christendoms’ rules.

        This is an important conversation, but Simcha’s clear bias is actually distracting from important topics.

        1. One thing that I think is helpful to bear in mind is that it’s obvious to me that the older alumni and happily a lot of the newer alumni are the ones most incredulous of the accounts, while those who attended during the last half of the previous decade during the same time as Adele and I lean heavily in favor of the articles plausibility. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

          I don’t think anyone is in denial. It’s evident that the experience of the students shifted drastically during a certain timeframe, then apparently shifted back.

  24. My goal here is to prevent slander of Dr. Marshner by omission of facts. The date of the rape was October, 2009. Apologetics and Moral Theology were the core classes that Dr. Marshner taught. I took Moral with him in the spring of 2008, a year and half before the tragedy Adele described. In that class, I distinctly remember him using the scenario of an unfounded claim of rape on Skyline Drive as an example in his class. I remember because a friend and I were discussing how difficult it would be deal with a public, though unfounded rape accusation. My comment was that it would never happen to us since we stuck mainly to the Dam, the River, and the Turnaround. So, just to be clear, Dr. Marshner had used that example long before anything untoward had occurred between Adele and herboyfriend. I have it from multiple other alumni that he used at least very similar examples as far back as 1994. Dr. Marshner knew enough about student hang-outs and fallen human inclinations to make an educated guess as to what type of activity might go on at certain spots, whether it be drunkenness, vulgarity, or that which he loved: loudly sung Irish music and loudly praised Irish whiskey.

    Please, don’t read anything else into this statement than that which I have stated. I mean exactly what those words denote.

    1. The smear of Dr. Marshner was the absolute worst part of this article. He and Jski are both excellent men who probably both did their best in this situation.

      As for the rest, I’m not sure exactly what the college could do in this situation- it’s essentially a he said, she said scenario, and there is no real solution to this that is fair to both. I’m incredibly sorry for what Adele says happened, and I tend to believe her, but one can’t make a huge decision on a gut feeling that impacts another’s life forever, can they?

    2. That a “problem” of widespread false accusations was the even topic is appalling. There is a very small percentage of false claims, but that is dwarfed by the huge number of cases of abuse. That your professor even framed the argument in this manner speaks loudly about the culture of this institution.

    3. The details of Marshner’s behavior were the most crushing thing to me, so I appreciate the context you added. Unfortunately, I don’t think this exonerates him. If he has been using this false rape analogy since the 90s, what that means is that he is automatically prejudiced against claims of rape, and he has been teaching this prejudice to his students. Then, finally, a student DOES say she was raped on Skyline Drive. What does Marshner do? He believes the man’s side of the story and even takes him into his home, undermining the college’s official punishment. I don’t like what all of this says about Marshner, but I can’t unsee it now.

      1. “If he has been using this false rape analogy since the 90s, what that means is that he is automatically prejudiced against claims of rape, and he has been teaching this prejudice to his students.”

        No, actually. It doesn’t. You’re making an assumption. It means he was speaking in terms of a hypothetical situation in order to illustrate morality/ethics.

        Look, I had Dr. Marshner and I didn’t even like him. He was a poor professor. Hell, I wish I had transferred out of Christendom after a year or two – I found the atmosphere stifling and small. However, to say that the professors and administration are okay with rape is absurd.

        1. Wrong. It means the professors aren’t ok with hypothetical rape. But when it really happens, they fail to recognize it.

        2. I’m not saying Marshner was “ok with rape,” I’m saying he believed that women commonly lie about being raped when they regret sex. He used that anology over the course of many years, apparently. Then when it was no longer hypothetical, and a student did say she was raped, Marshner believed the boy over her and even let him live in his house. In other words, he believed the boy’s story that Adele seduced HIM and lied about it. In any case, how could he have missed the implication of including this analogy in his lecture AFTER the whole school knew the story of the attack? Either he was on autopilot and recycling an old lecture, or he knew exactly how his analogy would be interpreted. The younger students couldn’t have known that he came up with the analogy a long time ago.

    4. Ouch. So he’s been using an example for years which serves to straddle the line between victim blaming and discussing why it isn’t ok to make false rape accusations. Which are rare.
      Which basically brings it back to years of victim blaming, not just Adele victim blaming. Ho obscene.

  25. The underlying problem here is that there is no good solution for what a college should do about accusations of sexual assault made by one student against another student when the state has declined to prosecute the case. The state has investigators and lawyers who are trained in these matters, subpoena power to compel testimony from witnesses, etc. A college has none of those things. To expect a college to act as a police force and prosecuting attorney–in cases where the real police force and prosecuting attorney have declined to act–is to ask for something beyond their competence. That seems to be why some colleges have taken to abandoning due process and assuming that the male student is at fault and handing out punishment accordingly; but recent court cases have shown that isn’t a viable strategy either.

    1. No. Not true. There are effective and smart ways to deal with campus rape allegations and this college was pitifully unprepared. As if it would never be an issue for THEM? Until 2013? REALLY?
      That’s just inexcusable.
      AND please stop mystifying sexual assault. As if there is simply no way to know.

        1. Juana, victims of this trauma are quite often in denial about what happened to them. In fact, victims of any form of abuse often have a hard time using the words which accurately describe what happened to them.
          It doesn’t mean the victim was stupid, or ignorant. It means she was traumatized, quite understandably, and like a lot of victims of trauma, needed outside help to name her trauma for what it was.
          This is part of the way the brain deals with trauma: it denies it, builds walls around it, tries to recategorize it, looks for ways it could have been avoided (for future self defence), and because of that, often engages in self blame. This is very normal, and not due to a fault in the victim.

      1. Claire, there’s a difference between knowing and proving. If a college takes action against a student based on unproved accusations, that will just land the college in court, as has happened and continues to happen to colleges which implemented relaxed standards of proof to comply with the Obama Administration’s Title IX interpretations. If there were some best practice in such situations which would satisfy the dictates of law and justice, why wouldn’t every college implement that practice? But at least until now, that doesn’t seem to exist.

      2. KC64 brings up some very good, and very rarely discussed, points concerning this and countless other instances of alleged sexual assault involving post-secondary students. Sexual assault is a crime no matter where it happens. Law enforcement therefore has primary responsibility for investigating, and if appropriate prosecuting, criminal complaints. I don’t see much criticism of local or federal law enforcement for a lack of prosecution from those convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that sexual assaults occurred in the situations discussed in the Fishers’ stories. If the alleged victims’ allegations are as compelling as some appear to believe them to be – and that’s a very big “if” – the real story to me has much less to do with CC’s alleged failures, and much more to do with local and federal law enforcement’s failures to prosecute clearly criminal behavior.

        This, then, places a burden on those who believe themselves to be victims of sexual assault to report allegations immediately to local law enforcement. It’s here where parental upbringing and alleged victims’ responsibility come into play. Each has a burden to do its part to maximize the likelihood that justice can be carried out.

        Point is, campus kangaroo courts must be bypassed completely in situations like this. Yes, there’s the issue of sensitivity to alleged victims that’s often treated roughly in the arena of criminal prosecution and defense. But in the end, what is this is about? Did a crime happen, or not?
        Due process. Administration of justice. Secular law enforcement does this for a living, and it should almost (note the qualifier) always be trusted to carry it out fairly to all parties.

        To put it mildly, and perhaps flippantly, this often sucks for the alleged victim. Big time. We’re talking always life- altering, and sometimes life-ruining big time. But that’s the measure of the stakes for the parties involved. No college or university administration, anywhere, should be trusted with administering justice in cases like this. Provide counseling, and perhaps advocacy, for alleged victims, by all means, but never, ever a pseudo court of justice.

        It is how high the stakes are that must be impressed upon the hearts and minds of post-secondary students everywhere. By parents. By university administrations. By everyone. Lives will be ruined – forever- if you do stupid shit like this. It will be your life that happens to if you so choose. Victim and perp alike.

        Once that’s made clear to everyone – it won’t be easy, and it won’t happen tomorrow- I think then you’ll see people looking at Church teaching on human sexuality and seeing how incredibly beautiful, loving, safe and correct it really is. Looked at from a secular point of view, it’s essentially a safe harbor ethos that prevents a lot of trouble, and that makes an awful lot of common sense.

  26. This article again is confusing a common misconception about applied Catholic moral teaching (for instance, on modest dress) with an entire campus and whether it is a rape situation waiting to happen.

    Sweeping rape under the rug is wrong. This should be dug into. This should be denounced. This should be pursued.

    Ranting about guys only being required to wear ties to Mass (with what, tshirts and shorts? nope.) and that this modesty code encourages girls to blame themselves for horrible situations or NOT QUESTION A GUY who wants to take them on a date alone in a car is JUST wrong. How is the college responsible for a person’s moral or social upbringing that they should have received prior to college? I’m sorry, this is the parents’ job. And dressing appropriately is expected of both men and women in businesses as well as at Christendom. It is a common courtesy not related to who is to blame for sexual harassment or worse.

    If you have an issue with conservative Catholic culture, do not rant about it in the setting of a rape that has been covered, because those are two VERY different issues, barely connected by a thread.

    Oh and let’s point out very clearly that the Front Royal Police are not part of Christendom College and maybe a serious investigative piece could be done to relate how the police are not doing anything when a rape is reported.

    But stop blaming a serious situation on the very atmosphere (mis-reported since there never has been a ban against sitting next to someone) which should encourage clean wholesome relationships.

    1. One of the many points in this informative article is that Christendom College has nothing in it’s handbook about the issue of rape. That it gives the facade of being a safe bubble of Christianity where everyone is on board with following Christ. This post is a great warning for parents in my opinion.

      Having lived near Christendom college for a number of years ( about 10 years ago) I can tell you that there was a ton of drinking in the woods near the college campus. A friend who had bought a home near by this area moved because of the student ‘traffic’ to this area. It seemed to be common knowledge.A priest friend not associated with the college but knowing the president and professors, once told me that his opinion was that the students have too much trust in the sacraments, meaning that they get drunk and do other things, then just go to confession. My boys attended Franciscan University about 15 years ago and they told of kids fornicating in the bushes, and in dark corners all over, drugs, and alcohol etc. There also the sisters there would break up the students from holding hands, or showing any signs of affection.

      My daughter attended a Catholic college ( no longer exists) in Georgia about 8 years ago where this small school just starting up had to shut down due to the gang rape of one of the girls there. My daughter told me that kids were ‘hooking up’ the first day of classes. This was a very conservative Catholic college. Nothing was done there either when complaints were made by parents until one of the founding members had their daughter raped, then they lawyered up. A female student also died there mysteriously. Her body found in the water near the school.

      In full disclosure I am a recovering right wing conservative Catholic who homeschooled all my children and I made the stupid mistake of thinking I could place them in ‘bubbles’ at conservative Catholic colleges and universities. I regret the choices I made and the effects on my adult children. I hope that this article that Simcha has written will warn other parents.

      1. So you describe yourself as a “a recovering right wing conservative Catholic” and expect readers to take your comments seriously. Really?

        1. Yes, there are always some students who do wrong things at these and many other good colleges. The influence of the culture is insidious.

          However, despite the reprobates, the large majority of the students (at least all that we have known) come out of Christendom much strengthened in their faith and enter into wonderful marriages and family life. So, why is it that most gain all these benefits and some just become “a recovering right wing conservative Catholic”. I suggest there has to be more to your story.

          1. Steve Jalsevac, it is inappropriate and against all charity to engage in personal attacks on other commenters. Please stop with the personal attacks. Stick to the issues under discussion.

        2. And who would believe someone who runs a site that disparages the Vicar of Christ? That features dissenters against the Vicar of. Christ?

          I have lived long enough to have seen the dissent of the left , and now I see the dissent of the right. Fundamentalism is a most dangerous path whether you are a Moslem, Protestant or Catholic.

          1. Rather the Vicar of Christ is disparaging the Vicar of Christ with very much evidence to prove it and with numerous Church leaders pleading with him to stop this and defend Christ’s teachings.

            We don’t disparage. We objectively report. We leave disparaging up to Pope Francis and his closest associates. They are frequent disparagers of others often using the most offensive language and character assassinations, totally unbecoming true successors of the Apostles.

      2. Kathy S.,

        “One of the many points in this informative article is that Christendom College has nothing in it’s handbook about the issue of rape. That it gives the facade of being a safe bubble of Christianity where everyone is on board with following Christ. This post is a great warning for parents in my opinion.”

        If that is what you took away from the article, then either you have failed to read closely or the authors have failed miserably in their attempt to convey the truth of the situation at Christendom.

        Below is Christendom’s new sexual assault policy, which frankly goes further than many people think it should (see intelligence squared debate at the end of comment).

        “6. Sexual Assault Policy
        Christendom College, as a Catholic institution, strives to uphold and protect the dignity of every
        person and provide an environment in which students can thrive in their academic and personal
        development. Acts of sexual assault, misconduct or harassment will not be tolerated by the
        College and, upon discovery or disclosure, will be investigated through the disciplinary conduct
        procedure. Students are encouraged to report sexual assault, harassment, and/or misconduct
        immediately to a professional staff member in Student Life.
        • Sexual assault constitutes sexual contact without consent ranging from forced kissing and
        touching to forced intercourse.
        • Sexual harassment and/or misconduct constitutes unwelcome sexual comments, advances,
        and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is meant to intimidate,
        degrade, or coerce another.
        Sanctions up to and including dismissal from the College may be imposed if the accused is found
        to be responsible through the disciplinary procedure. Both the accused and the accuser are
        entitled to the same opportunities to have others submit testimony for the disciplinary proceeding.
        Furthermore, both the accuser and the accused shall be informed of the outcome of the
        disciplinary proceeding. Any student who is the victim of sexual assault during their enrollment
        at Christendom College is encourage to contact a professional staff member in Student Life who
        can provide resources and/or direction in proceeding with a disciplinary conduct procedure.
        If a student is assaulted by someone outside of the Christendom community (e.g. a non-student),
        the College is committed to providing available resources and counseling for the student, though,
        as a non-student, the accused is not subject to the internal disciplinary conduct process. A
        student may request a non-student to be banned from campus if the non-student is found to
        have sexually assaulted or harassed a student. Students are always encouraged to contact law
        enforcement if they believe a crime has been committed.
        Student Life can also recommend confidential counseling services and other on or off-campus
        resources to students who are victims of sexual assault. The College will consider requests for a
        change to a victim’s academic and living situation, provided such options are reasonably available.”
        https://www.christendom.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final-2017-2018-Handbook.pdf

        There is a huge debate about whether colleges are even equipped to handle such investigations.
        https://beta.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/courts-not-campuses-should-decide-sexual-assault-cases

      3. I was one of those Christendom students who drank in the woods—wow, that makes me sound like such a deviant and rebel! I don’t know if Simcha is aware, but “The River” is literally the Shenandoah River. Students go to a certain spot on the riverbank every weekend to have a bonfire, drink some beer/cider, and sing Irish songs. Sometimes people would even bring instruments—I brought my fiddle one time, others brought a bodhran or concertina. I never got all that drunk, and I was never sexually harassed there. It was very friendly, not like a frat house atmosphere. I did hear a rumor that people had stayed after hours and gotten completely shitfaced, leading to hooking up. Which is bad, obviously. But binge drinking and hookup culture are a HUGE FUCKING PROBLEM at pretty much every college. Drinking in the woods may not be super pious, but are there any rowdy college students that your friend would prefer to live next to? I am confused. Are we too uptight and conservative, or not conservative enough?

        1. You know, The River doesn’t exist anymore, and bonfires are now banned without permission. As a result, nobody holds these parties anymore – at least, not nearly as often and the way they used to. Sometime between my freshman and my junior years at Christendom, people stopped getting together to sing songs and hangout out the fire, have a good time with a few beers.

          And when that stopped, so did one of the best community-building parts of campus. As result, people now drink in their cars, dorms or in more isolated spots in the woods. Which is more dangerous than hanging out by the river. It was sad to see the difference over the years.

          1. Aw, seriously? Well my night just got a little more depressing. If I had any wine in the house I’d probably start drinking it now. :/

          2. I’m sad to hear that the college squashed the River without trying to encourage another event to take its place. While it may have been a liability for the college, it was the main social event of the week for many students and my experience of it (I went most weeks for a couple of years) was similar to Meredith’s – pretty friendly and laid-back, never saw anything that would have shocked my own parents. Because of the curfew and the lack of suitable spaces to hang out, there really wasn’t anywhere on campus people could have gathered to socialize even without alcohol involved.

      4. Kathy S., I didn’t notice your story about the defunct college in Georgia until a second read through. WTF that’s insane.

    2. Absolutely yes about Front Royal police. Can personally testify that they are corrupt. There is some real investigative journalism that could and should be done regarding their methods.

    3. How many times are boys dress coded in comparison to girls. There was one day a girl was dress coded three times in one day she wore a burka in protest and was dress coded for that. I was personally told I could not go to class until I changed out of a perfectly professional outfit. Interfering with a women’s education because she is full figured is wrong.

    4. Julie, I graduated Christendom in ’09 and I was told at a Christmas dance by an RA that my girlfriend of 4 years and I were sitting too close. (We weren’t even touching) It honestly ticked me off and I was sorry it made him uncomfortable but that’s ridiculous and I wasn’t moving. He said we would be fined. We left that dance and went to the park across from Wendy’s instead where I can assure you we sat much closer. Make no mistake I’m not defending the article as a whole, just stating one fact for the sake of clarity on the PDA rule.

  27. I don’t see Simcha as being malicious. I think she is opening discussion that clearly needs to happen. The comments here are proof enough. I find it humorous that some commentators find this to be “liberal feminist propaganda”. (They clearly have not read very much third wave feminism literature –believe it or not Simcha is not trying to topple the patriarchy –just make it accountable. Just because someone might not be alt-right doesn’t make them some sort of Neo-Marxist Feminist. That kind of talk just screams of ideology–further adding weight to Simcha’s arguments) This problem is all over conservative Catholic circles–I went to Christendom and have lived in the circles for years. It’s very real.
    Puritanism views the body as an object just as much as hedonism does and it is in some ways more vile in that it parades itself as virtue. Which begs the question for parents and for Christendom. What’s worse? A wolf in sheep’s clothing–or a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.
    I have known very many fine people from Christendom and several stellar and upstanding professors. There is a good deal of good that is happening there. Simcha’s story of Jeneslowski seemed to me to show that she is trying to be fair in her assessment of the institution and show impartiality.

    The point of the article isn’t is Christendom good or bad– but that there needs to be dialogue here. We need to work on ourselves first. We need to be having these discussions. Or we can just keep our children in the dark and keep raising ultra-modest anxiety riddled rape victims and sexually repressed rapists and patting ourselves on the back for our orthodoxy.

    Where the hell is GK Chesterton when you need him. . . .

      1. I agree with Anna’s comment ^ in that it needs to come out in the open that sexual assault can happen anywhere and no amount of breathing Catholic air will protect your children from that reality. This has made me think about the kind of conversations I need to have with my kids (girls AND boy) in the future. That being said, on reading over everything, I think these blog posts are written in a light that is unfair to Christendom. There is a lot of mixing facts with innuendo by unnamed sources.

        1. All these chicks who are saying, “we need to have a dialogue.” Yikes. You are being used by a malicious source to take advantage of your good will.. Report the truth, change policy. All of this emotionalism stokes the fire and aides the enemy by conflating facts with feelings.

    1. If Simcha and you want to make life better for your kids, you will work to topple th patriarchy. This girl suffered because all conservatives teach that women are only useful as bodies to produce proof ofthe man’s virility and should die before the poor mistreated guy ever has to see a grey hair or extra pound. Also, sex is filthy and it is always her fault for being a filthy disgusting woman.

  28. Not buying the way this article interprets the facts. I’m sorry, but I cannot be expected to believe that Christendom is a bubble in this way at all. If the parents of this poor girl actually fulfilled their basic duties to inform and discuss with their daughter what rape actually is (which should not have to be taught by any institution) instead of dancing around the issue because they lack the moral courage to call a spade a spade, then perhaps this “bubble” would not be so prevalent. This article sets up a series of exaggerated strawman examples and arguements that paints the christendom environment as one of prudishness and puritanical sexual repression. I’m sorry to hear about these incidents of sexual assault, but I am finding it hard to believe that the school promotes a rape culture when the subjects of these assaults have not been given a proper understanding of rape itself (which is not the school’s responsibility for adult females) and when these events take place off campus in a setting niether under college jurisdiction nor control. Can you imagine how darker the picture may have been painted if this kind of ignorance found its way into a campus that allowed for heavy consumption of alcohol, intervistation, and no dress code? Of course these schools make it very clear what rape is because they create an environment for it…Anyways, blaming the school for handling these assaults with a certain lack of poise is understandable (albeit remembering that one has to follow legal protocol in all aspects of dealing with these things), but to levy allegations that claim the school’s environment promotes rape evidenced by certain quotations that do not truthfully represent reality at all, then is perhaps throwing the baby out with the bath water off of a cliff. Read between the lines of this hack piece because it smells a little like horseshit when you consider the hotly contested subject under which this thinly veiled attack is branded.

    -a current student of Christendom College

    1. K, instead of ad hominem attacks, why don’t you explain what the reality you experience is, point out the strawmen in the articles, and engage with what the college IS doing to make the school safe? Why not stick to positive proof and good argumentation? It will go much further than ad hominem attacks, and might actually help push the dialogue, and convince people of the truth.

      1. ad ho·mi·nem
        ˌad ˈhämənəm/Submit
        adverb & adjective
        1.
        (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

        Really? I am not attacking anyone, just this ridiculous article. Please brush up on your own understanding of the principles of rhetoric.

        The campus is safe. Period. Ask any student.

  29. Not saying this did or did not happen, but many of the details in this article are radically inconsistent, and blown out of proportion. Don’t write articles bashing the college whilst attempting to seek justice, it just gives bad publicity to the school. Assuming the person was raped, you can’t just blame the school for it happening. Bottom line is he’s a shitty boyfriend. Don’t brand the rest of the males on campus as rapists or sexual predators either. Just because there has been a reported incident of said male doesn’t make all men on campus the same.

    1. Which details are inconsistent? Which are blown out of proportion?
      Why do you disagree with journalism which points out error and negligence and challenges the institution to do better? Why is bad publicity for bad behavior wrong?
      The Fishers never said that the rest of the males are rapists and sexual predators. They said that these were not isolated incidents. They said that it happens too often, and is mishandled by the administration.

  30. The comments here are troubling. Women were raped. Women plural. In that tiny community where everyone knows everyone several women have reported rape only to have it swept under the rug. I hate to be the one to say it, but most sexual assault isn’t reported, so it’s a safe bet that these stories are not isolated.

    I’ll say this: I don’t think it’s a problem unique to conservative “bubble” colleges. Rape culture is pervasive. Doesn’t everyone remember how many women shouted #metoo? It’s everywhere. Anyway certainly there are other colleges hiding these crimes because they don’t want to face them. The college should do the right thing. Apologize, of course. Then work to make it a safe place. Talk about how you’re going to handle sexual assault. Bring in victims and ask what would have helped them. (Other than, you know, being believed.) Maybe work with other Catholic colleges to brainstorm an appropriate way to handle this. Sweeping it under the (dirty) rug isn’t ok. I have three daughters. None of them will be allowed to go to a college which doesn’t have an explicit policy. It’s far too common to ignore. Women are not expendable. We’re not toys at college for the amusement of the scholars. Catholicism is pretty clear.

    Honestly, I think the bishop would be within his rights to intervene.

    Thank you, Damien & Simcha. I hope this story pushes this college to address this. If they’re smart, they can be leaders here. Get it right.

    1. I went to Christendom after these events are alledged to have taken place. I can safely say that while I was at the College I was unaware of anything like this going on. If what happened to these women is true, I have no reason to deny or confirm this happening, I apologize as an alum.

      However:
      THERE IS NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR RAPE OR SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE STATE OF VIRGINIA.

      If this did happen, I, along with every other decent man and woman, would want these men brought forward and prosecuted.

      There are people referencing “rape culture” – where are the proponets of this rape culture? If it is so culturally ingrained in society that rape is ok, who is defending it?

      If there is to be justice served publicly by the College in any of these instances, then those victims should go forward to the police.

      1. Without witnesses or physical evidence, the sad truth is that these crimes cannot be prosecuted. Another sad truth is that the legal system around here doesn’t care to bring charges. This is probably an even bigger scandal than the Christendom one.

        1. All you need is the victim’s testimony. Sexual assaults (maybe not in Front Royal – I don’t know what they do or do not do with cases and why) can absolutely be prosecuted without witnesses and without physical evidence. Hard to prove, yes. But it does happen. And it’s not exactly rare.
          A conviction was just reached two days ago in a neighboring county for an assault that happened more than 5 years ago and there were no witnesses. I think what you mean to say is that “Without witnesses or physical evidence it is harder to prove and therefore charges are not always made.”

          1. From the post:

            “An official whom the first woman describes as “the battered woman counsellor” told the second young woman, “I’ve seen a lot of these, and I can tell you right now it’s not going to go anywhere. This is Front Royal; no judge is going to convict a rapist, even with evidence.””

  31. Was a police report ever filed? If not, how can the College justify public punishment of these people (which they would deserve if true) if those people making quiet claims in dean’s and professor’s offices are not going to the proper legal authorities?

    I said it on part one of this hack job: the statue of limitations on rape in the state of VA is 20 Years. If it happened, bring it forward. Don’t just smear the College. Justice won’t be achieved by vomiting our veiled accusations at this institution. Prosecute the individual who committed the crime.

    1. But uncovering error can help the college to make changes that will make it a safer environment for women, and can make it easier for women to know that the administration will help them to get such things as medical treatment and a legal response, as well as fair treatment from the school itself when they have been raped.

  32. I am simply commenting to say that the second quote of me is irresponsibly out of context, and I have never meant to convey an idea of systematic repression of justice in the administration of the college.

      1. Damien, Prove it. You are basically calling her a liar. That’s a dangerous thing to do to a source when you are trying to act as a reporter.

        My best guess as to what happened is that Ms. Foeckler and Mr. Fisher were talking past each other. She was trying to say one thing, and he was hearing another. For Mr. Fisher to stand behind his understanding of his notes rather than Mrs. Foeckler’s assertion of what she said regarding a specific quote is a dangerous road to go down. Unless Ms. Foeckler is a lying pos like Cardinal Kasper and Mr. Fisher can produce tape like Edward Pentin, most people are going to be inclined to believe Ms. Foeckler.

        I believe this shows that Mr. Fisher has an agenda and isn’t even willing to consider the possibility that he may not have gotten everything 100% accurate. I’ll probably continue supporting the Fishers on Patreon, but if this unprofessional crap continues, I’m done.

        1. I know Mrs. Freckled very well and can assure you that she’s no liar. It’s a shame her quote was misused and poor journalism to refuse to amend it.

        2. DCNM, it is also possible that the truth is somewhere in the middle between the two extremes you describe, in which Mr. Fisher has an accurate account of the words which came out of her mouth, she doesn’t, but she knows what she wanted to say, what she meant to say, and her memory of what she actually said might not match up. Because of stress, or faulty memory, or lack of sleep, etc. In which case they could both be acting with integrity.
          Damien isn’t calling her a liar, so much as defending the attacks made against him. He is accurately reporting her words. His credibility was attacked. He defended it.
          His defense of himself doesn’t automatically equate to calling Foeckler a liar.

    1. good you made that comment because I was a little taken aback that a Foeckler happened to make that comment. 🙂 Makes sense that it was out of context.

    2. Can you elaborate? What other context is there? How could your comment be taken in any way that would show Christendom in a positive light? I understand that maybe you regret being interviewed with all the backlash here, but say that you regret being interviewed, not that the comment was “out of context,” unless you’re willing to elaborate.

      1. If I may, I would like to provide some outside elaboration. I am Elizabeth’s sister and was chatting with her on the phone the day she was interviewed. She mentioned that she had been interviewed by Damien on the phone. I responded to the effect of, “Cool. I am a fan of his wife’s Simcha’s work.” She said the interview itself was an interesting experience and that she was told the topic of the article was rape on college campuses (note campuses in the plural), and that she was being interviewed because of her relationship with Adele as her friend, room-mate and later RA.

        She then told me that it was an interesting experience in that Damien was very friendly in the discussion before and after the interview, but that during the interview she continually felt like she was being encouraged (even groomed perhaps?) to give a statement disparaging the Christendom administration, and that she was not going to do so because that was not her opinion. We both found it interesting that she felt such pressure since if Damien had wanted to find an alum who wanted to make disparaging remarks it wouldn’t have been that difficult, but that negative remarks DID NOT represent Elizabeth’s opinion. We had this conversation days before the article was published.

        My sister and I may have differences of opinion of how the Christendom administration handled the situation, but she deserves to be accurately quoted. She was told that she would be given the opportunity to review any quotes for accuracy, but then the article was published without that happening. She does not have any issue with the accuracy with which her statements are represented in the first part of the series, only in the second.

        Finally, while I believe that this series is accurate on the basic facts, there are glaring omissions and journalistic negligence that weakens it. While it is fine to discuss how the college failed to change the policy in a timely fashion, and the puratanistic total ban on PDA ten years ago, people deserve to have the facts about the current Student Life Administration’s policies. I have not seen the current student handbook relevant sections published, or an interview with the new student life administration. I level these criticisms not in an attempt to undermine the article, or disprove it in its main points, but because justice to all parties demands an unbiased examination of the facts. Adele and the other victims deserve to have their story presented fully and in an unbiased manner so that it is not dismissed.

        1. This is an inaccurate, at best, characterization of the interview. I never agreed to show Elizabeth quotes before publishing. That is something I do not do as a matter of practice and that is not something that was discussed during the interview. I stand by my reporting.

          1. I am merely presenting our conversation from before the article was published. All I can report is her perception of her conversation with you, which at the time was overall positive, albeit that she felt you were trying to spin what she said. As I mentioned we had this conversation days before the article was published.

            At this time, I am doing my best to maintain a hope that this is just a misunderstanding and not an outright falsehood. Suffice it to say at the very least there was a severe breakdown of communication and one of the sources wishes to retract one of her quotes not because she is ashamed of giving the interview, but because she feels it is a gross misrepresentation of what she said.

        2. …but it’s not out of context. It’s very telling that even someone who wants to paint a very positive portrait of Christendom is on the record as saying “…there’s a tendency to whitewash anything that did happen.”

          This is why people often refuse to speak with reporters, because they can’t always keep track of what they’re saying to them. I’m sorry that Elizabeth regrets the interview, but it’s not hard to see why. Even in the comments here, someone is clutching their pearls: “I was surprised a FOECKLER would have said such a thing!”

          Well, it just goes to show how deep the sickness there must be.

        3. Katherine Scott, that still doesn’t explain what possible context could make the quote mean something else. Your sister has been invited to explain what it did mean. If she meant something else by it, then by all means, please, say it.
          Secondly, the handbook was linked to. All anyone had to do was click through the link and read it on the school’s website for themselves. The link was provided.
          Thirdly, the Fishers cannot force student life to an interview. Or anyone at the college. They have to agree to an interview and actually be interviewed before they can be quoted in an article. The lack of a response from the college cannot be laid at the feet of the Fishers.

    3. Elizabeth Foeckler, a better response, instead of inadvertently pitting your word and Damien Fisher’s against one another, perhaps you could explain what you did mean. That might be more helpful than protestations. More than one person has indicated that they would like to know what you DID intend to say.
      Giving a positive statement of intent, giving your own understanding of the context, might help you clear the air.

      1. Luke Marrazzo, if they were outright lies, the college would have grounds for a law suit.
        But their response has not been a cease and desist letter, or a demand for retraction, or any other obvious legal recourse to slander. Instead, their response was a very poor apology which they are so far too embarrassed to put on their own website. Their own response shows that they do not think the articles are lies.
        They claimed inaccuracies. But they aren’t even willing yet to detail what those inaccuracies are.

    1. It is clear the men involved have no integrity and this would not happen. What should happen is the women who are being mistreated in this way should be encouraged to file a police report.

      Again, if these women are serious and want justice to be serviced publicly, a public accusation must be made. Statute of limitations in VA for rape is 20 Years.

  33. Both of the parts of this article are filled with so many ludicrous claims. Former student here. I’m sorry but I don’t even know where to begin this is so chalk full of bull. Guys are only told to wear ties to mass? WTF? Does anyone believe this? Modesty and chastity are big parts of the education there for both sides.
    The PDA policy literally has never been “no touching” that’s just stupid.
    I mean honestly I could go on and on about how blatantly false both these claims are by how many facts they got wrong but it’s honestly too low IQ to waste more time on.
    This is a hack piece written by the alum of a college that tried to be like Christendom but failed miserably and is a failing institution. I can’t pin down the authors exact motivation for this hit piece but it has nothing to do with a pursuit of the truth

      1. Boys have to attend mandatory seminars throughout the year on what it means to be a real man. And in these, chastity and gentlemanliness are heavily emphasized. They’re taught to fight temptation, not expect others to fight it for them. Obviously including modesty. Girls are taught to not make it more difficult than necessary as a PART of it all because we are all in this together. Purity is a team effort.
        The PDA policy is that there are to be no over the top PDAs. So no kissing in public for example.

        1. The rules have changed recently, and hand-holding is now allowed. It wasn’t in my day, or these women’s day. It was up to an RA’s judgment, but usually anything more than a handshake or brief side-hug could get you in trouble.

        2. Your answer is too vague. 1. What precise guidelines on dress are boys taught? 2. What does Christendom teach boys about female sexuality? Specifically, Are boys taught that nice girls never ever want sex, even after they are married? 3. Are boys given any instructions about what to do if a woman comes on to them?

          1. Karen,

            1) Go to Christendom and/or dive into their (publicly available on their website) student code of conduct and find out for yourself.

            2) Go to Christendom and find out for yourself, or take the word of people who actually went to Christendom that the characterization you’re relying upon isn’t reliable.

            3) Go to town, of course. I mean, she asked for it. … right?

            [insert eye roll here]

      1. K, At least Luke Marrazo is using his real name and calling out specific things that he regards as inaccurate instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks.

    1. Luke, if you look, one of the previous comments is from a man who graduated from Christendom and states that he was fined for sitting too close to a female student. So you might think the claims in the article are ludicrous, but there are other Christendom alumni who are verifying them. Your fellow students and alumni.

  34. There is an urgent need for the administration to explain how the current policies are designed to, and effective at, keeping students, especially young women, safe and supported. And how the College has become wiser and more knowledgeable about these issues. Every institution has had historical problems with preventing and responding to sexual assault. Everyone knows that. What matters is whether people are confident that the school has grown in understanding and wisdom in this area, and now “gets it.” Please assure parents and supporters that Christendom gets it, and is a safe and healthy place for our kids. The Adele Smith story is truly heartbreaking.

  35. “She describes the PDA policy in the same way as Smith did.

    “It was almost like you’d see in a prison: No touching! Even just to sit next to a person, you had to go off campus. Which made it easier to go further,” she said”

    I haven’t attended Christendom nor spoken with anyone who has to ask whether this is accurate, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test for me. Since when has any Christian university forbidden men and women from sitting next to each other? That strikes me as bizarre and very unlikely to be true. Can someone, please, confirm this one way or another. The current student handbook allows hand holding, which is a heck of a lot more than just sitting next to each other. Even if hand-holding was previously forbidden, I have a hard time imagining that sitting next to the opposite sex would be against the rules.

    “She later told her friends she and her boyfriend had broken up, but never said why. She blamed herself for not being a good enough girlfriend. “Was I not dressed modestly enough?” she asked herself.

    After the rape, she saw herself as “a complete failure, as a Catholic, as a woman, as a horrible girlfriend who had caused him to sin.” She repeatedly apologized to him, hoping he would “forgive her” and maybe take her back as his girlfriend.”

    Who apologizes repeatedly to their rapist? This gal sounds highly unstable. Maybe it was because she was raped, but this seems more like excuse making to me for someone on a character assassination campaign for facts that don’t fit the narrative.

    Maybe I’m cynical and biased because I’ve been falsely accused of abuse myself (physical not sexual, and I have courtroom tape where my accuser admits to perjury). However, when I read the article, things just don’t add up in my mind. There seems to be a whole lot more to the stories than is being presented in this article.

    1. You want to know how a woman could have this happen and blame herself? Read the comment below yours. We are taught we are to blame.

    2. “Who apologizes repeatedly to their rapist? This gal sounds highly unstable. Maybe it was because she was raped, but this seems more like excuse making to me for someone on a character assassination campaign for facts that don’t fit the narrative.”

      Spot on.

      1. To answer your question: someone who was repeatedly taught that women are responsible for men’s behavior. This is pernicious in both Catholic and purity culture.

      2. Or maybe she was distraught, traumatised and struggling to make sense of what had happened to her in a setting where she was taught that women are to blame for leading men into sin. Just a thought.

    3. I’m a current student at Christendom. The PDA policy is not like that anymore. Couples are now allowed to hold hands and exchange hugs, but long displays of physical romantic affection are still discouraged.

      I’m a shamed that this has happened at my school. I will be showing this blog post to the director of Student Life.
      Thank you for posting. This was hard to read, but I’m glad I now know the truth.

    4. Former student here. You are correct. The handbook never, at any time (I was there around the same time as Ms Smith) banned sitting next to each other. Hand-holding was banned, as was other forms of PDA on campus, but that was changed recently.

      As a former student, I can attest that the school is notoriously ineffective in dealing with these kind of situations. We used to discuss this and try to work on it. Rape, sex, it all happens at Christendom, just as it happens at every school.

      I can also understand that women are very hesitant to come forward with rape accusations. I fully believe the story told.

      However, as mentioned in comments below, asking a school to levy punishments on accusations without evidence is hard. It becomes “He said, She Said.” Tricky legal business.

      It’s the same with all institutions.

      1. Ben, ’09 grad here, I posted it one other place above, but again I was threatened with a fine for sitting next to my girlfriend at a dance. We weren’t even touching but we were told we were sitting too close. I can’t imagine that my experience with that was the only one.

    5. DCNM, that is actually a normal trauma response. One of the responses to trauma is for the brain to deny that the trauma happened, and when it can’t rid itself of the horror, the brain goes through several other methods of trying to contain it, explain it, and minimize it.
      Women are frequently made to feel that they are responsible for the horrible things which happen to them. A lot of Catholic women, upon being raped, are confused as to whether or not their loss of physical virginity means they have committed a sin. Which of course they haven’t.
      I know a lot of rape and abuse survivors, and several people who have dedicated their lives to helping these men and women put their lives and psyches back together.
      Self blame is a very normal response. A horrible, terrible, tragically normal response.

  36. What is this weird obsession she has in unearthing every detail? I mean, detail is good in a cook book, or maybe the Summa, but in regards to this, I’m sure just saying the word “rape” would have sufficed.

    And please stop blaming an institution for all the bad things that happen in your life. Parents need to nip this problem in the bud by being real with their children instead of raising them in a fairy land bubble where life is unicorns and rainbows. Rape doesn’t just happen because some sex crazed Catholic man wanted to have a ruck in the hay. Sorry, but if this is rape, then I was raped at least 5 times when I was dating. But you know what, I realized that it takes 2 to tango, and after the dirty deed was done (in large part due to FALLEN HUMAN NATURE), I went to confession, received communion, and talked to my boyfriend about what we needed to be better people. THAT is called being a Catholic. And we tried, and we got better. And we continued having a grand time together…until we broke up. And that’s my story. Why don’t you write about that?

    1. If what happened in this story happened to you, yes you were raped. I see why denying it is easier for you, but the truth is what it is.

        1. *If* the story in the article is accurate, it *clearly* meets the legal definition of rape.

          If those details also match your experience, your experience also meets the legal definition of rape. No one here has to have been there– your comments simply need to be accurate.

        2. Jean val jean, I’m so so sorry that you were treated like that. That should never have happened to you. You deserved better than that. You God given dignity demands better than that. I’m sorry that he couldn’t see and respect that dignity. I’ll pray for him. And I’ll pray for you.

    2. Forcibly holding a woman’s mouth on your genitals when she says she doesn’t want to and then forcibly penatrating her while she says no and tries to move away is not a “ruck in the hay.”
      It’s rape. Point blank.
      If you have been forcibly held as described in the story (which I imagine is why Simcha included such details- namely that she was FORCED) you have been raped.

  37. Your report alarms me, and I am looking for more of a response from the College than you’ve had so far. I hope you’ll let your readers know if you hear more from the administration.

    1. I agree. The administration needs to address the story. My wife and several of my kids are Christendom grads, so I’m a friendly commentator. But I was troubled when I read Tim O’Donnell say the school has an obligation to maintain a safe campus, but seemed oblivious to the fact that the campus is not “safe” for a survivor of sexual assault while her assailant is going to classes with her . That is a clue to me that some real education about the nature and aftermath of sexual assault needs to take place. Perhaps it has. Tim is obliged to provide a timely explanation about how the school is wiser and better now.

      1. While this is a shocking series of articles, how is the school supposed to make a life altering punishment to a young man if the woman involved does not file a police report?

        She and the writer of this article would argue that going to legal authorities could be traumatizing and difficult, but that’s what needs to happen here.

        Additionally, being a recent Cdom grad, I can tell you there is a lot of bs in the way this article describes the relationship between men and women.

        It sounds as though Adele has had a serious problem and the College did not handle the situation well, but are a lot of falsehoods in this article.

        1. Being a recent Christendom grad, and being a man, is it possible that your experience is so different from what is described precisely because other men don’t behave that way in front of you? And because some minor changes were made between the time period being discussed and the time period you attended?

          It is normal for men and women to have very different experiences of a school or workplace, because the problems women experience don’t tend to happen where other men can see them. Predators act when they think no one is watching. That’s why not having public safe places to get to know each other is so dangerous.

      2. Yes, David, agreed. And after reading Adele’s Father’s letter to Dr. O’Donnell, which is heart-wrenching btw, his response leaves me cold, especially the paragraphs about in loco parentis, which are clearly CYA referencing his attorney consult.

        Very disappointing.

  38. Bottom line? Women aren’t safe *anywhere* when they have been brainwashed. Even their marriages aren’t safe if women have been taught that they are not their husband’s equal. Both young men and young women in environments like you describe are the victims of modesty that has been perverted into a fetish. They have a plethora of agonizing fears planted in them. Young women are easily taken advantage of when what is good and natural makes them feel guilty, weak, and lacking in confidence. Predators can smell it a mile away.

    Ultra conservative catholics are so intent on appearances and their artificial way of looking at life that they create mental health issues in their children.

    Puritanism, and all of the accompanying manias that go with it must be one of the devil’s favorite angles for subverting Christian love.

    He doesn’t care if you’re Muslim or Catholic, so long as you follow the handbook.

  39. This is a very nasty article with a clear agenda of animosity towards a totally orthodox Catholic college. You give yourself away with this, “A source close to Christendom says that people send their children to Christendom because ‘they’ve raised them in a bubble and they want that bubble to continue.’ She said mothers of students have told her they don’t want to talk to their children about consent, because it might make them curious about sexual matters.”

    That “bubble” talk is the old canard used against colleges like Christendom by liberal, modern “social justice” Catholics who can’t stand that such a college even exists.

    Four of our children have graduated from Christendom. They are not now, nor ever been “bubble” Catholics. Three met wonderful spouses the college. ALL are doing well in life. One was the recipient of extraordinary generosity, kindness and truly miracle-inducing prayer as a result of a near-fatal accident at the entrance to the college. Because of that incident, we saw the awesome Catholic spirit of the college proven to the nth degree over at least the following several years.

    The college is not perfect, some of the students were wrongly pressured by parents to attend the college, some wrong things do happen now and then – not because of anything the college does or does not do, but because of flawed human nature that will be present in any institution no matter the best efforts of the institution.

    However, all in all, Christendom is an incredible college that I can only praise given our family’s experiences with the college. It is a very bright light in an otherwise dismal situation of Catholic college education in North America.

    There will always be some that you can find who will have a grudge against Christendom. I have learned over the years that those chronic critics usually have something in their own lives that they have not yet properly dealt with. There is nothing that anyone but they themselves can do to correct their personal problems. Blaming the college is almost always a diversionary tactic away from the real source of their unhappiness.

    1. I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but you missed the point.
      Simcha here explains that the college has good intentions, that it’s founded on Catholic values and that the professors are truly caring and good people- however, as you put it, there is flawed human nature.
      I know plenty of wonderful people who attended Christendom, my family remains good friends with several priests from the school.
      The school as an institution is not necessarily the problem- but rather the (flawed and human failures as you mention) which affect us all, but particularly in these cases, those who are supposed to protect the students.
      It’s not an evil place, but it does have a culture which has aspects that can, at times, facilitate the exploitation and abuse of naive women.

      I don’t think this is a malicious piece and I don’t think it’s denouncing Christendom… As she quoted above “go in with your eyes open.”
      And for heaven’s sake, teach your children (both male and female!) about sex and consent BEFORE sending them out of your home.

      1. He’s a bigoted conspiracy loon who thinks Jewish monsters live in his closet. Honestly, are you so stupid that you think militant atheist Muslims actually exist? Of course anyone who believes that Angela Merkel and George Soros are conspiring to take you personally out would believe that women exist entirely to grovel to men and that all sexual assault allegations are false.

        1. Hah! Typical. When you don’t have a credible comeback resort to name-calling and tearing down the messenger. You’ve obviously got nothing else. That report is the result of almost 40 years of experience defending life and family on the front lines. It was read by almost 200,000 people and comments were overwhelmingly positive. Many learned things that they previously had no idea about and greatly appreciated the information.

          What you betray is that you are either very closed-minded or just simply have no idea about what is really going on.

          1. You posted it on a crazy right-wing website that bans all disagreeing comments. Try posting the same pile of crap someplace where liberals have a chance to obliterate your pos arguments and see what happens.

          2. It’s a great example of a parody piece of conspiracy theories. I shared it with friends and we all got a big laugh out of it. Comments were deleted for some reason that did not take its bizarre foil hat claims seriously. Next time, can you mention how Elvis lives and rides the Loch Ness monster? Thanks!

          3. You are actually making fun of yourself. There are a lot of corroborating links within the article. Thousands took it very seriously and passed it on to others. 3/4 million readers does not happen to a “tin foil hat” story. Many of those who expressed gratitude were clergy. From you comment it is no wonder whatever comment you made under the story was deleted. We don’t give a platform to ridicule.

          4. Oh, and please talk about the third secret of Fatima, how Freemasons were behind Vatican II, and how Pope Benedict is still the true pope. Add a bit about how Trump is the second coming of Constantine, too.

          5. LifeSite has NEVER written that Freemasons were being Vatican II or that Benedict is still the true pope. As for the Third secret of Fatima, there is widespread belief, including among bishops and cardinals, that we were suffering the consequences of the consecration of Russia having never been done exactly as it was requested. Historically, that cannot be denied.

          6. Oh, and most of the links in you “piece” were links to other lifesite articles. Can’t you cite a mainstream source instead of your own website if there is truth to your “George Soros got Pope Francis elected” claims?

          7. All of our reports quote or refer to other sources. Everything is verified. We do not rely much on mainstream media simply because they cannot be trusted and their journalists are frequently not free to report the truth on the issues that we cover. I have personally known prominent journalists who were fired for insisting that the truth be reported. That is exactly why LifeSite was formed.

            The Soros reference was not presented as definitive in the article, but the linked article presented substantial material to give the claim much likely credibility. The photos, quotes and noted close associations are indisputable. You appear to have a substantial denial problem or inability to assess credible information.

            We refer mostly to our past reports because we know they have all been very well-researched, professionally written and credible. Mainstream bias has been filtered out of all of them.

            We really don’t care what closed-minded, ideology dominated persons such as yourself claim. One reason is that many of us were there ourselves in the past and understand the emptiness and futility of such thinking. Our reports are aimed at anyone who is at least open-minded enough to objectively consider what they present and to test the validity of the reports without malice or prejudice. It is amazing how many hearts and minds have changed for the good as a result of doing just that. I know, because that sort of thing happened to this previously pro-abortion, pro-population control, agnostic and much more person 37 years ago – especially thanks to a
            Conversion experience.

          8. “When you don’t have a credible comeback resort to name-calling and tearing down the messenger.”

            Which is what you have done to the Fishers.
            You can’t actually discredit the article. So instead you have several diatribes against its authors.

    2. I should have added that we personally came to know a large number of other families and students associated with Christendom. There are some for whom it was not the best experience, largely due to their personal situations, poor formation or personal academic interests that were not offered by the college. The large majority have positively benefitted far more in their spiritual, professional and family lives than likely few Catholic or other colleges could ever claim. Christendom College has been a precious treasure for our family that I have often encouraged other youth to seriously consider because the solid personal foundation that it offers can forever transform their lives and the lives of many they will encounter in later years.

      1. There is this amazing thing you can do where you can deeply treasure something while simultaneously denouncing its flaws. Do we as Catholics love the Faith any less because of the priest sex abuse scandals? Certainly not.
        But when one loves deeply, one must not be willingly blind to faults, rather in love, correcting them.
        Christ said that to whom much is given, much is expected. Christendom has been blessed with a beautiful campus, a (generally) wonderful faculty, and a student body hungering deeply for Catholicism, tradition, and a firm foundation.
        If so, and if we likewise believe the tragedies the women Simcha and Damien spoke with, Christendom College must be held accountable and likewise must hold the student body accountable- because we love it so.

        1. I don’t believe the article’s accusations. There are too many indications of an ideological
          agenda in the article for it to be credible. The tone and language are common give-always of a strong liberal/feminist slant.

          1. Of Course rape is wrong but whether the situation accurred as written in the article is questionable given the very problematic manner in which the article was written. It should cause any reasonable, objective person without any axe to grind to have serious concerns about the claims in the article. It has too many red flags.

          2. Apparently following normal journalistic guidelines makes the article not credible?

            I’m sorry, Steve Jalsevac, that you have no compassion for those who have been hurt. As Amy Lorelli said, it is possible to love a person or institution and also recognize their flaws and faults. Christendom would be stronger for addressing these issues in the open rather than struggling to keep them behind closed doors, and hoping to maintain a pristine appearance.

  40. I can’t say that I’m surprised. Dating and interacting with the opposite sex is a dance, and you have to learn the steps to prevent getting or being hurt. It needs an open floor with other pairs and instructors mingling around to help you identify what are good steps and what are not. And even that is no guarantee of not being hurt.
    Just as children learn limits by watching others and trial and error for themselves, these students (children in the art of dating) need to be able to make their first forays openly. Forcing them into hiding, instead of providing healthy outlets and situations, lets the aggressor seize the upper hand before, during, and after.

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