A New Republic investigation into sexual assaults at Patrick Henry College, an elite evangelical Christian college in Purceville, Va. known as “God’s Harvard”, details allegations that school officials mishandled several female students’ reports of sexual assault.
The article describes Patrick Henry College as a privately funded college largely made up of home-schooled students whose families felt comfortable knowing it was “a bubble unto its own” where only people they could trust, “good, moral Christians”, would be found.
A culture of “courtship” is encouraged at the college and PHC administrators are supposed to be trusted to act as surrogates for parents who can’t be present to monitor budding romantic relationships.
In the article, several former students allege that when they reported sexual assaults by male students to the Dean of Student Affairs, Sandra Corbitt, she suggested the young women brought it on themselves by their behavior and dress.
The college disputes the article’s assertions.
While institutional mishandling of sexual assaults is not uncommon, the fact that Patrick Henry does not accept federal funding and therefore is not subjected to campus-crime reporting laws makes these allegations particularly disturbing.
A college must always make the safer choice when it comes to protecting its students. When victims of sexual assault are blamed for the crime instead of the predator, predators are empowered and students are not safe.