It started there.
I am a former student of Bob Jones Academy, the high school associated with BJU. I was there in the mid-sixties, which is a very long time ago (fifty years).
Shortly after joining Facebook, a friend of mine who knew my history sent me a link to a Facebook forum called “Bob Jones University Survivors,” the title being tongue-in-cheek and similar to t-shirts that read “I traveled the Alaska Highway and survived.” It was supposed to be a community for former students and grads. The word “survivor” had nothing to do with any sort of abuse.
Bob Jones is a very strict fundamentalist Christian college, with a pretty unique culture, almost incomprehensible to the uninitiated.
At any rate, I joined the group and then posted a bit and discovered this community of people who understood the world where I was raised. Some of them remain enmeshed in the religion. Others, like me, have fled. We still get all the jokes, though.
However, as is common in social media, there were some bad apples in the barrel. Three women in particular had become mega-bullies and over the course of several years, the whole damn thing fell apart. By then, I’d made some pretty good friends among those who participated.
The bullying made the Naugler saga look like child’s play. It involved the usual doxxing, and fake identities, and all the typical fake Facebook pages and identities, but so much of it was so cruel it’s hard for me to even describe. The victims of these bullies have families, and they went after the families. They went after children, spouses, siblings. A great deal of it was occurring not in the virtual world of Facebook, but in real life.
And the pages started, one after another. Facebook would take them down, and they’d pop back up. Everyone was trading insults. It was the sort of childish stuff we’ve come to see with “Charles Smyth” and Donny Cook and “Jack Schitt” and all the other characters in Nauglerland. And it was relentless.
One day, a friend of mine called me pretty much in hysterics. She was crying so hard that it took several minutes for her to compose herself enough so that I could understand her. She ran one of the pages. And they were coming after her with everything in their collective, considerable power. She had family they could really hurt. Relationships that would be irreparably damaged. She told me she was going to shut the page down and leave Facebook.
I asked her to give me one hour. She finally agreed.
And an hour later, Romancing the Victims was online. It was bare bones at that point, and only had two pages, but it was up. Her page was scrubbed clean and the only message on it was a link to Romancing. Within two weeks, she removed the whole page and only Romancing was left.
My idea was (and still is) that if you can get stuff off Facebook, you can eliminate much of the silly sandbox fighting. I decided to simply document the crap these three women were pulling. Yes, I do add my sometimes snarky commentary, but most of the website consisted of screen shots showing examples of what they’ve done, and how they’ve done it.
The goal was to warn the innocent, to try to limit the body count. I’ve said from the beginning that if somebody doesn’t believe me, that’s fine. I cannot help them. However, a lot of people do understand. There is no question that the influence of these three women has been significantly reduced. One, in particular, has gone nearly silent, and as a result, I rarely even mention her any more. [Cathy Harris, you narcissistic idiot, I am referring to Linda Fossen, not you.]
And that’s the briefest summary I can give for Romancing that would be intelligible to people who have no idea what it’s all about.
Because running a blog costs money, and running three of them costs triple the money, I have decided to combine all three here.
I am going to attempt to link here to all the posts that relate to the old Romancing the Victims website. I might be totally accurate, and then again, I might miss something. If you are really going down that rabbit hole, you can always search for the category “Romancing” and you’ll find them all.
I begin with the opening page from the old Romancing website. Below that are links to the archival material.
Bob Jones University
The name is synonymous with religious fundamentalism and rigidity, with racism and misogyny.
We are a few of its products. Set free after years of wrestling with the guilt and loathing that was instilled in us since childhood, we found community on the internet, in social media. Facebook, to be exact.
At first, it was great. We were all in different places on our journey, but we had come from a common root and as the tree grew, even though the branches spread out everywhere, in all different directions, we were all still attached to the trunk. We had a bond.
One result of that bond was a desire to help free as many of our compatriots as possible from the psychological prison that is religious fundamentalism. This included, but is not limited to, those whose branches were considered “not desirable” by the fundamentalist world of our youth.
Sometimes the branch is theological. We found that we collectively embrace almost every type of theology imaginable, including none at all.
Sometimes it involves sexual orientation, which varies almost as widely as theology.
Political views? All over the map.
And one issue that bound us, united at first, was sexual harassment/abuse, whether of adults or children. With the revelations of sexual abuse issues in the Roman Catholic church, our eyes turned to fundamentalism: was it guilty of the same coverups and incompetencies? The answer appears to be a resounding “Yes.”
Among us are those who are victims. Some of us have friends who have dealt with this first hand, up close and personal. Others have learned about the issues involved second-hand. But everyone seemed to be united in making sure that the tree that held our roots responded with accountability and transparency.
Sexual abuse and GRACE
Here are some links to the basic story about Bob Jones University and the GRACE investigation. It’s very tangential to the purpose behind this web site, so we won’t elaborate about it here.
This is an official statement from Bob Jones University.
And here’s the official statement from GRACE.
These are from the news media, including the New York Times where both the Scholar and the Victim were interviewed.
Accountability and transparency. That’s what we all collectively wanted. And that’s what we want now, from both the University and its critics.
Nothing is more disheartening than watching your allies adopt a philosophy of deceit, obfuscation, and outright dishonesty with the idea that anything is okay as long as it is for the cause. We cannot claim to be the champions of truth, those who demand transparency and accountability, and then refuse to hold those in our midst, especially those who have assumed a leadership role of some sort, to the same standard.
When the cause, whatever it might be, becomes more important than the truth; when expediency trumps honesty; when the end becomes more important than the means, the cause is the casualty.
This is about telling the truth.
There is a Facebook page called Truth Seeking Graduates of Bob Jones. It’s run largely by two women — the Victim and the Scholar. [NOTE: Camille Lewis is no longer associated with TSGofBJ.] We are seeking truth from them.
We cannot go to them directly and just ask. We’ve tried that, repeatedly. Asking questions, showing any doubt at all, results in having comments deleted and character maligned.
We’ve been down that road before. It’s what they do at BJU when you ask questions.
So I am presenting the evidence here. Read it and make up your own mind.
Gentle Christian Mothers, all files
Who is the Victim?
The Fake Victim
The Fake Writer
Victimizing the Dead
Letters From Dad
The Fake Attorney
The Wizard of Boz
The Fake Rape
Cathy and the Law
Cathy and the Wizard, Again
A Taste of the Tozars
Revisiting the Tozars
The Magic Paddle
Licenses: A Primer
Cleo, Carl, and the Canbys
Canby or Cannot
Clutching at Straw
Giving Away the Farm
Just For Daniel
Photos From the Cow Pasture
A List of Accusations
Cleo, Part One
Cleo, The Will
Cleo, Registering the Will
Who in the Hell Was Carl McIntire?
Cleo Probate, Part 1
Cleo Probate, Part 2
Other Documents, Part 1
Other Documents, Part 2
The Fake Scholar
A Form of Blackmail
Freedom of Speech
A Widow in Distress
A Form of Blackmail
Vengeance is Mine
A Sunday Sermon
The Fake Activist
The Fake Activist’s Words
This is Activism?
Book Review: Out of the Miry Clay
A Conversaton with Linda Fossen, Part 1
A Conversaton with Linda Fossen, Part 2
A Conversaton with Linda Fossen, Part 3
A Conversaton with Linda Fossen, Part 4
Standing on the Lies
Standing: the Reaction
A Few Blog Posts
Money? Mouth? Meet?
The Tozars Are Still Fake
Pictures: Worth a Thousand Words?
Oh, Bobby, Did You Have To Ruin It?
In the Footsteps of Franklin
Vive la Différence?
Presumption of Innocence
We Never, Ever. . .
Seeing the Light/
Blue Dogs and Slobs
Frank, Just For the Record
Racism and Greenville
The Tip of the IceBerg
Paulsen For President