Updated Response to the Sexual Assault Allegations

Two days ago I wrote about the (former) professor at Taylor University resigning over charges of “serious misconduct.”

Since then, I’ve learned the names of two accusers–and that each of them is claiming that Dr. Hensley went beyond coarse joking or awkward hugs and actively sought sexual contact with women other than his wife.

In the broader culture, the line between “making a pass” at someone and “assaulting” her can be blurry. But, by Christian moral standards, there is absolutely no excuse for seeking sex outside of marriage. Inviting women to sin with you, whether they consent to join or not, is absolutely wrong. And I believe Hensley knows that, regardless of the social awkwardness I mentioned in the last post.

My heart is grieved for the women who believed they were in a safe space in church settings, and that they wouldn’t need to fend off the advances of a practicing Christian.

But I also feel encouraged by the responses from brothers and sisters who have rallied around the whistleblowers and agreed that there IS a time to demand justice.

I’m thrilled not to have seen ANY warnings that it’s “not our place to judge” when it comes to a man using his platform to lure women into bed. It’s my hope that we can use this situation to reacquaint ourselves with the practice of Church discipline, which has gone out of vogue in the age of “nobody’s perfect.”

A more detailed account of Hensley’s sins from one of the women can be found here:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10100513241638415&id=197401568

Note: I don’t agree with all of the tactics employed by Ms. Redding. (I’m not convinced she was motivated by a desire to protect others so much as by the satisfaction of watching the “mask come off.”) But hopefully this can lead to a discussion about restoring sinners vs trying to get even. And, again, now that the Church is being invited to judge the Hensley matter, I’m hopeful the various victims will be open to light criticisms about their own conduct as well.

———

Updating again on 7/15/18. Hensley still denies any wrongdoing. (In this interview he doesn’t address the accusation that he “tried to touch the breast” of Ms. Redding.)

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/16/prominent-taylor-university-professor-leaves-amid-sexual-harassment-allegation

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9 thoughts on “Updated Response to the Sexual Assault Allegations

  1. insanitybytes22

    Something I wrestle with in our confused culture, this kind of thing is obviously wrong, but is it “a crime?” We’ve blurred the lines so much that someone behaving inappropriately is now practically equated with rape, which really is a criminal act. But is it a crime to proposition someone? To sexually harass them? Unless we are talking about children, it is not, it is simply a civil matter and for good reason. One can be a boorish creep, but that does not necessarily make you a law breaker. While most of us can agree about what is creepy, a “boorish creep” is still a somewhat subjective matter of opinion.

    One problem is that we are treating these things as crimes, but they are not, so we are trying to handle them outside the justice system. Due process is suspended, fair trials, and we just proceed to this revenge based kind of vigilante justice. That is really problematic. In a criminal case, crimes are never against a victim, but rather against the state. Rape is a crime against the state which actually puts distance between a victim and the accused.

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Yeah…
      I have a lot of thoughts I’m not sure whether I should share.
      I just can’t help thinking about the girls meeting alone with movie directors in Hollywood, some of whom AGREED to let their bodies be used because they wanted to be famous. (They were using those men just as much as they were being used.)
      I can’t call that situation “assault.” It’s gross and wrong, but there are TWO victims and TWO predators in those cases.
      I’m absolutely certain that Dr. Hensley found a few willing partners in sin over the last few decades. That type of misconduct ought to get him fired from a private Christian University as well. But I can’t call him an “abuser” just because he came onto women who turned him down a few times.
      I’m keenly aware there are people calling for his head now who would suddenly switch to the grace and mercy team if he had been “making passes” at men for three decades. They would say “Nobody is perfect, and it’s not our place to judge his personal life.”
      That’s wrong, of course. It IS our job, and everyone should continue to call out the sexual misconduct of this disgraced professor because he needs to know he’s being watched and that we don’t tolerate unrepentant sin in our midst.
      I’m simply saying: It’s amazing, and a little frightening, that even our relativistic, don’t-judge-me culture can so swiftly abandon “love” for “justice” when it comes to an unattractive white male…

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      1. insanitybytes22

        I hear you. Something I wish we’d do is clarify the meaning of the word “assault.” What is an “assault?” In the olden days we were clear it involved some kind of force and physicality. Today we can “assault” people with our opinions or even our thoughts, which is simply crazy.

        So in my mind this is not “sexual assault” and neither was the Hollywood mess. It’s clearly wrong and it does a lot of damage, but it just doesn’t rise to the level of “sexual assault.” It’s more like violation of trust, serious, a sin for sure, but not a crime.

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      2. mrsmcmommy Post author

        Whew. I’m glad you said it and not me.

        Of course, even more details could come up.

        But it can be pretty dangerous to attempt a nuanced conversation in the middle of emotional upheaval, and we may be headed for trouble right now…

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      3. insanitybytes22

        Hensley is clearly lying and attempting to justify some inappropriate behavior. He’s violated his position of authority and blown trust. Still no obvious “criminal” act, but love, mercy, all the things we stand for, would indicate he needs to retire and to be ministered to himself. It doesn’t make him evil or condemned, it just means he has some broken parts that need to be addressed. Near as I can tell from what little I have read, this case is progressing exactly as it should.

        If I were a victim in this case, my biggest challenge would be forgiveness, mercy not towards him, but towards all those others who failed to protect me, who failed to respond to the first set of allegations. That “failed to protect me” button is often huge in women. We tend to turn towards men in times of trouble and when they drop the ball forgiveness is tough.

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      4. mrsmcmommy Post author

        My trouble is with women who don’t understand why the administration is in a tough spot and the Church CAN’T just “believe her” whenever she points and says “abuse.”

        I struggle with forgiving women who do the lying, because it makes it harder to trust women who aren’t. (I have a friend on Facebook who shared a story of a male coworker who was fired because the company explained they HAVE TO take swift action whenever a complaint is filed…and a few months later, she admitted to another co-worker she made up the story.)

        I also have personal experience with women who claim to have been assaulted multiple times. Because there are women who cry “rape” we can’t bring out the pitchforks whenever that claim is made. Both men and women are sinners and both are capable of lying. I struggle to forgive women who can’t understand that…

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