As a follow-up to the sexual abuse awareness training seminars held in September, the University will provide additional seminars on Nov. 11-13 and Dec. 3-4 for all students, faculty and staff who did not attend the first seminars.
Sexual abuse has become a prevalent issue in today’s society, and the BJU leadership is providing opportunities for all students, faculty and staff to receive training on how to recognize and react to sexual abuse. Gregory Love, founder and director of MinistrySafe, will again conduct the seminars.
Sexual abuse offenders have no visual profile, meaning most appear “normal,” said Love when he was on campus in September. “You have to recognize them by their behavior,” he said. According to MinistrySafe.com, approximately 90 percent of sexual abuse offenders do not have a criminal record, and around 90 percent of victims know and trust their abusers before the abuse occurs.
Students majoring in nursing, education and ministry, or who are involved in outreach ministries attended the first seminars. Now, according to Ms. Carol Keirstead, BJU’s chief communications officer, additional 90-minute sessions are being offered to enable the remainder of the university community to benefit from the training.
After attending one of the first seminars, Matt Ashley, a senior elementary education major, said, “I wish this was something required for everyone, because it is something that will potentially affect everyone.”
According to Keirstead, Dr. Stephen Jones desires to heighten everyone’s awareness about this serious issue. He plans to attend one of the seminars, Keirstead said, and he asks everyone to work one of the sessions into their schedules.
Dr. Eric Newton, dean of students, said that this training is very beneficial, and understanding the problem of sexual abuse can help us find ways to prevent it at church, work and in the community. “[This training] also serves as an incentive to aim for the kind of homes and environments that deter such behavior,” he said.
Micah Felber, a graduate assistant majoring in ministry, was impressed with the way Love handled this potentially difficult and awkward topic. “He managed to present [the material] in a way that relieved the awkwardness, and he tastefully added humor where appropriate to make his point.”
One reason Janelle Newcomer, a senior piano pedagogy major, enjoyed Love as a speaker was because he used specific examples and illustrations. She also said he was easy to listen to and very clear.
Following the initial sessions, a number of students requested written information about how to recognize and report sexual abuse situations, and according to Keirstead, resources will be available at the upcoming seminars and on the intranet following the seminars.
If students wish to talk with someone after the seminars, Ms. Colleen Reilly, a Student Life counselor, will be available for any discussions or questions and to provide students with additional resources.
Once students have attended a seminar, they will receive an email with a link to a 25-question MinistrySafe quiz to receive their certification. The quiz isn’t difficult, as Love mentioned in the initial seminars. “It’s intended to be passed,” he said.
According to Keirstead, around 1,300 students have already attended the training seminar, and more than 1,200 have completed the quiz to date and are now certified.
“The seminar taught me to be more aware of the world today and how to be more aware of how my own actions could be misinterpreted,” Newcomer said.
“It really opened up my eyes and gave me a better awareness of [the sexual abuse issue],” Ashley said.