‘How Far Is Too Far?:’ Sexuality and Sexual Violence on Christian Campuses

A young couple holds hands. Photo courtesy Peter Bernik/

Unfortunately, sexual violence on college campuses is a widespread reality. As many as 20-25 percent of women will face attempted or completed assault over the course of their college tenure. Contrary to popular myths about “stranger-danger,” 9-in-10 of those victims will know their attacker. 

For Christian college administrators, who take seriously the formation not just of mind but of spirit, the reality of campus-based sexual violence is challenging for many to admit. Yet it has serious implications for how students learn, understand, and develop self-respect and love for their neighbor.

In speaking with students, former students, and staff at Christian schools across the country, what’s revealed is that education about the realities and effects of sexual violence among college students remains anemic at best. There’s much to suggest that students are finding their way, but many — particularly at more sexually orthodox campuses — face frightening barriers to knowledge. When it comes to educating mind and spirit on sexual violence, Christian institutes of higher education still have far to go.

Mass. Alumni Don’t Want Liberty to Get Free Campus

Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The late Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder and chancellor of Liberty University, 2006. Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images.

Rankled at the prospect that "extremist" Liberty University might soon own the campus where they spent their prep school years, alumni of Northfield Mount Hermon School are petitioning to stop it.

In a letter posted Monday (March 5), more than 570 NMH graduates are calling on Mark Chardack, chair of the NMH board of trustees, to help ensure that when the 217-acre property is given away by a wealthy Christian family, it doesn't end up in the hands of a "homophobic and intellectually narrow institution."

"We consider the institutional presence of Liberty University on the Northfield campus fundamentally incompatible with the spiritual breadth, academic depth and community diversity we know and cherish at Northfield Mount Hermon," the letter says.