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Opinion: BYU’s Slut-Shaming of Victim Proves That The School and LDS Church Enable Rape Culture


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) prides itself on being the “one true religion” and the church-owned Brigham Young University (BYU) is its most prestigious and most powerful asset at its disposal.

It is also a university that is in the midst of national ire for its continuous misogynistic and abusive Honor Code policy that has been discovered to have controversially and maliciously punished sexual assault victim. The final straw that could not avoid the media limelight came in the form of 20-year-old BYU sophomore Madi Barney.

This past September, Barney was attacked by 39-year-old Nasiru Seidu, who deceived her using a fake name and a fake age of 26. They were in her bedroom; they began to “engage in consensual sexual relations” and then she felt uncomfortable, wanted to stop, but he did not. He then undressed her and raped her.


It took Barney four days to go to the Provo police and report what was done to her. Why?

Because she was scared that word would get back to BYU and have to face discipline. BYU and its sister universities easily have the strictest Honor Code that students have to follow and infractions are taken very seriously.

The rules of the Honor Code are eclectic to say the least from the obvious (no cheating on schoolwork, no illegal drugs) to the bizarre and borderline invasive (No coffee, no tea, no alcohol, no “homosexual behavior,” clean language only).

Students found to be in violation of the codes face penalties as strict as suspension from school for multiple years. This has been the case for years, but what has led this to hitting the national news is that despite Barney not contacting BYU at all, they still were contacted.

After receiving the police report of Barney’s case, BYU decided that school resources would best be served with an investigation of rape victim Madi Barney. Because the events the police report detailed before the attack and those events (which have not been fully disclosed) were in violation of the Honor Code and are subject to discipline.

Barney was contacted by the Honor Code Office, who insisted on a full statement. Barney, at the advice of the DA’s office, has refused to comply at this time, and the DA’s office has asked that BYU back off until rape case has been concluded over the upcoming months.

BYU, like a petulant child, has refused to do so. It wants what it wants and it wants it now.

So until Barney does as they ask, she’s in limbo.

Barney cannot register for the next semester (Barney has since decided she will not attend BYU next semester) and her transcripts have a hold on them until she cooperates with the Gestapo-like committee that has totalitarian command over her.

Her rational reasoning behind not speaking is because rape victims should not have to relive the psychological stress of their rape and giving multiple recounts of the rape often leads to missed details because memories fade (in this case thank God), but defense attorneys will go after the missed details on cross examination as a way to break down the credibility of the victim’s testimony because that’s their job no matter how low an act it is.

Does BYU care? Does BYU have any semblance of a soul? Where is the sweet compassion that the church behind the school is supposed to have as a pillar of their “Christian” religion?

The answer is it doesn’t exist there and it probably never did.

How BYU found out about the incident and then STILL proceeded to persecute this young woman x-rays the largest group of “Christian” hypocrites in the state of Utah, reveals the malignant pitch-black deformed organs they call their hearts and proves the depths they’ll go in the name of their so-called righteous Honor Code.

Barney’s attacker, Seidu, happens to be friends with a Provo deputy named Edwin Randolph. In this past February, Randolph conspired with Seidu to get back at Barney after Seidu posted a $25,000 bond. Randolph delivered a copy of the confidential police report with Barney’s statement and gave it to the BYU Honor Code Office.

This is where the scenario becomes incredulous because it defies any reasonable course of logic. Let’s clarify this a bit so nothing is murky. The Honor Code Office…after seeing that this a police report where their student is a victim, not the offender, continued to read it. The question that anyone with a fraction of a brain must have is why?

This is a confidential police report that has no reason being at BYU. The deputy Randolph, a former BYU track coach, is delivering this report to them. BYU cannot claim ignorance forever. Once they concluded the rape happened in an off-campus apartment and the perpetrator was not affiliated with BYU in any form or fashion, that should’ve been the end of it. They should’ve seen what evil act this so-called “deputy” was doing.

Randolph was using the school as a sword to attack the rape victim who his pal violated as a way to make the case could fall apart. If Madi Barney breaks under this insane amount of pressure and decides not to testify because the abuse is too much, then this rapist goes free. BYU should’ve seen it and the report should’ve been thrown in the trash can, jammed it in a shredder, or lit a match to because it clearly isn’t their business if the rape victim doesn’t come to them. It certainly shouldn’t be on their agenda to help a rapist go free.

Sure, Barney may have broken some of the rules of the Honor Code. But even if any of us can take the reptilian logical approach of acknowledging that this girl broke the BYU Honor Code and should be punished; anyone with an iota of humanity can easily see that the crime committed upon this victim is a copious amount of suffering.

Punishment is overkill if not sadistic in this case. Yet, BYU has decided to show its true colors (all shades of black) and persecute the victim, potentially help the rapist who preyed upon her, and have the audacity to claim that they still encourage rape victims to come forward and report when they are raped.

Yes, indeed, they even got a woman to spread the word! “While I cannot talk about an individual case, I can assure you that we would never put a hold on a student’s registration because she reported her rape to the police,” BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins told NBC News.

I thought lying was against BYU’s Honor Code. Because that’s exactly what you did, Ms. Jenkins.

If Barney doesn’t come forward to the cops, the domino effect that led to the school suspending her doesn’t happen. The school can dress it up and say they are punishing her for her acts prior to the rape, but it doesn’t change the fact that if she doesn’t report, she isn’t punished. At all.

Excrement.

That’s what I think of that statement by Ms. Jenkins. The truth is this. BYU is more concerned with protecting their Honor Code than they are in catching sexual predators. There’s a common practice in District Attorneys’ offices everywhere. They make deals. The drug mule gets a pass if he gives up the major dealer. One robber gets a reduced sentence if he gives up his five accomplices and reveals where the cash is.

The hit man gives up the person who hired him. See where I’m going with this?

That’s not to imply that I think Madi Barney did a single thing wrong. I’m not as narrow minded and archaic as the heads of BYU. But I’ll take their pathetic ancient logic as the standard for a moment.

Even if I want to say that Madi Barney did something wrong. She’s the drug mule. I want the dealer. I want the rapist. I want Seidu and his head on the metaphorical pike (maybe not even metaphorical) because that’s how this school and it’s supposed loving religion should be.

It should be in a rage!

This creature that calls himself a man manipulated and violated this girl in the most sacrilegious and most traumatic way possible and they should be pressuring the district attorney for a conviction. They could maybe even should be hiring a private investigator to follow Seidu around while he’s on bail so that if he slips up just once then they can put him back in jail while he awaits trial because he’s a danger to women everywhere while he’s out.

Maybe that’s overkill, but if BYU truly cared about Madi Barney, they’d consider taking these actions and at the very minimum, they should be embracing her and saying that she’s God’s child and he loves her.

But their solution is to force her to talk and then once she does, she’ll be prohibited from attending there for two years for violating the Honor Code. That’s how that backwards school and their Honor Code think.

They are the antithesis of what Christianity is about because they are the “perfect people” and those who are no longer perfect can no longer join their special clubhouse and attend meetings in their beautiful temples that are untaxed and are paid for by 10% of every single member’s income while they brag about how their churches don’t have paid pastors or priests etc.

Don’t be mistaken. Sure, some of us may have the thoughts of, ‘What idiot thought this was a good idea?’ but this is not the actions of a politically insensitive or even brain-dead school making an egregious and foolish error. This is a malicious and heinous move calculated by the worst kind of sexism that is prevalent in parts of the Mormon church.

At its core, BYU is a sexist hateful place that will defend the sins of males in order to keep the females in their so-called “rightful place,” because that’s the only logical explanation for their “investigation” against the victim. I say this with a whiff of hesitancy because it’s a deep accusation that must not be made lightly, but it’s the only explanation.

BYU is more concerned with promoting “chastity” amongst women than it cares about rapists being convicted. These women break any part of the Honor Code that can include kissing, fondling and other acts of affection that BYU frowns upon and they will punish the women even if they are raped.

Because by punishing the victims, it tells the other girls that they deserved to be raped and they deserved to be expelled if they break the Honor Code. Then rapists lick their teeth because they can use the student’s own school as a weapon against them. BYU may not be saying this out loud, but they are implying it with their actions and their hollow press conference statements can’t undo their acts.

BYU has proven what’s already stereotypically known. LDS, like any religion, has a sect of it that uses its faith and interpretation as a reason to swing a sword rather than extend compassion. The problem with the LDS religion is that I’ve found there to be quite a significant number of sexist misogynistic elders who wrap their prejudices behind teeth-flashing smiles and a firm handshake.

Having lived in the Salt Lake metropolitan area for two-and-a-half-years, I can attest that BYU has always been slightly or somewhat misogynistic because the LDS religion itself can be manipulated into a misogynistic viewpoint. For the most part, it’s just pro LDS and anti-anything else. The 99% LDS student body and doubled tuition rates for non-LDS students speak to that.

And, despite the inequality and hypocrisy, BYU still churns out quality graduates. At least two of my family members that I can recall have degrees from BYU (one a female with a Masters) and a third cousin currently enrolled. Notable alumni include a variety of businessmen, writers, politicians; even former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The university gets results and it avoids backlash because the local press and public just accept it for the most part.

But the university has leapt over the blurred line and gotten caught with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar. The pressure is now on and victims and their advocates should pray it increases and the school either changes or the federal government comes in and crushes their power.

Now, there are plenty of people in the LDS church who not only will disapprove but be revolted by the university’s action. The ones that will not will either be the sexist men and the families they have under their thumbs. They’ll hide behind the subzero logic that it doesn’t matter that Madi Barney is a victim.

What they’ll say is that she broke the rules and those who break rules are punished. They’ll ignore that by punishing Barney, they’re potentially discouraging others from speaking out against sexual assault on or off the campus which means that predators will get away with their crimes. Not even Mr. Spock would see this as a just action.

Madi Barney doesn’t. Neither should you. Don’t just be horrified by the facts outlined here or in the articles on the Huffington Post, the New York Times or the Salt Lake Tribune. Take action! No one is safe at BYU until it happens.

Below is the petition with, at last count, almost 111,000 signatures on it demanding that BYU give amnesty to victims of rape. SIGN IT!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/503/967/285/

Then SHARE this article. Tell your friends, your family members, people who will be just as angered by this atrocity done by BYU. This is not a lost cause. The church is historically known for adapting its views whether it’s got to do with female missionaries, African Americans, or homosexuals.

Show them it’s time to upgrade their religions outdated software and spread the world.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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