“Are you willing to get over it?” Video of Bob Wood’s Seminar on Abuse Counseling Surfaces at the Worst Possible Time for BJU

Video of a 1994 seminar entitled “Scriptural Principles for Counseling the Hurting” taught by lifelong BJU executive Bob Wood has appeared on DailyMotion, sparking outrage from critics of BJU for its callous descriptions of sexual abuse victims.

The three-part video was featured on Stuff Fundies Like yesterday, with the usually playful blog calling the video “an abomination.” The publicity for Wood and BJU comes as the University scrambles to answer claims by alumni of sexual abuse and improper responses by BJU admins. The G.R.A.C.E. investigation, meanwhile, continues.

BJU has made no attempt to distance itself from Wood’s remarks in the nearly twenty years since this video was made; in fact the seminar was still for sale from BJU’s online store as of last year (see pg. 22 of this .pdf).

 

We’ve called out some of the most memorable portions from Wood’s seminar below. You can view the video here, or via the embedded box above.

“Are you willing to get over it? Are you willing to accept the fact that his happened and there’s nothing you can do about what happened in the past? Are you willing to believe that it was the least important part of you that was offended? Are you willing to believe that God forgives and forgets and can give you the right thoughts?” (52:50)

Wood repeatedly refers to sexual assault and rape with the victim-neutral term “offenses” rather than their proper terms (“a man offending his daughter”, 19:00). In fact, the word “rape” is not mentioned in this video.

Wood describes abuse victims in condescending and demeaning terms: ““You know what happens to people who are abused? . . . Their every view is inward: ‘Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. This happened to me. I can’t get over this. I’m mad about me. I’m mad that they did this to me. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been offended.’” This description is given in a mocking tone, apparently to approximate the selfishness of victims.  (45:30)

The main thrust of Wood’s seminar is that victims need to stop questioning why God allows abuse to happen, accept His will and stop “being selfish” or focusing on themselves. Wood emphasizes over and over the foolishness of not recognizing the “simple” reasons why God lets abuse happen.

Wood describes a hypothetical sexual abuse victim who can’t understand “why God allowed this to happen.” Wood then says “there’s a very simple answer, but the minds of people are very perplexed about why God didn’t stop this.” The reason, Wood says, is that the abuser was being “controlled by their body.” (4:00)

Wood also lists a group of people who he thought “needed killing” when he was a younger man: “dope addicts, alcoholics, bank robbers, wicked people!” (9:28)

Wood describes how in counseling abuse victims he comforts them that “the least important part of man is his body…it’s the throwaway part!” Wood accuses abuse victims of allowing Satan to use their abuse to “destroy their soul.” (33:45)

Wood says of victims, “some of them haven’t sinned, and some of them have…” (37:15)

Wood describes the emotional damage of sexual abuse but recommends only “biblical” treatment. No mention of police reporting or of licensed counseling is made in this video (Wood himself has no counseling credentials–or degrees of any kind. He holds an honorary doctorate from Maranatha).

Woods notes that love “can endure evil, injury and provocation without feeling resentment, indignation or revenge,” presumably to remind abuse victims that forgiveness and not being angry at abusers is key. Again this is done without any mention of the necessity of reporting crimes, bringing justice to abusers, etc.

Wood recommends that abuse victims say to their abusers, “I’m sorry it happened, but I’m glad it happened to me instead of you, because I’m strong enough to handle this.” (46:40)

Wood spends the final fifteen minutes or so listing all the qualities of “love” that abuse victims should embrace. Giving others the benefit of the doubt, not thinking badly of others, enduring all things.

 

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6 thoughts on ““Are you willing to get over it?” Video of Bob Wood’s Seminar on Abuse Counseling Surfaces at the Worst Possible Time for BJU

  1. Bill

    I disagree with many things that BJU says, but in this case, I really can’t disagree. He’s not saying that the victim deserved to be abused, just that they have to find a way to live with it. I don’t hear him excusing the crime, and sexual abuse is a crime. I don’t hear him asking the victim to excuse their abuser.

  2. Windbag

    First, the man has no credibility because he lacks the proper credentials and certifications/licenses.

    I used to swallow this stuff hook, line, and sinker without ever daring to question what I was being taught. I was taught to never question the people “in charge.” To do so was disrespectful. As a result I missed all the clever little propaganda techniques employed in their “brainwashing.” For example the mocking tone when speaking of certain people or a class of people. His comments about people who should be exterminated reflects a really warped mentality and zilch of Biblical understanding–he thinks he is being funny–in reality his remarks reflect a sick and disturbed mind. And, then we hold men like this up as great men of God and master teachers. It”s NUTS. They are NUTS. And BJU for endorsing and promoting such teaching is NUTS too! This isn’t Bible!

    The war veteran who was burned and maimed, carrying the scars and effects of the injuries to his body can come to terms with his injury, can learn to cope with his injuries, and can move on with life. But he cannot deny the scars or conceal the lingering effects of them–he has to live with it. But he can never deny it; neither can anyone else. So if Mr. Wood’s philosophy is Biblical and right, then lets hear him help an injured veteran apply it. Ha, no one in their right mind would attempt that! Any sane person would recognize that the injured person needs professional help and therapy to heal and learn to move on with life in a productive way. It such help and healing may take years . . . perhaps the rest of the person’s life.

    Men like Mr. Wood are long on the hot air talk, but short on real world understanding and any semblance of Biblical wisdom.

  3. sarahelizabethflood

    This is as appalling as it was when I first saw the video. Will it be helpful if the victim can stop focusing on their abuse and instead focus on the future and the needs of those around them? Well, of course, and every abuse victim ever (well, I’m sure there are exceptions) would agree that they would LOVE to stop thinking about their problems and issues, and if they are intentionally staying stuck that’s a problem. But browbeating somebody for being selfish isn’t helpful. That’s like berating somebody who’s been in a horrible accident for focusing on their injuries. You don’t drag them out of bed and expect them to be fine. You help them, nurse them, love them, ease their pain, and while some tough love may be needed at some point, telling the victim that they should be glad their abuse happened to them instead of the abuser (that doesn’t even make sense, and no, few people are strong enough to deal with abuse on their own. Jesus is; they aren’t… But BJU doesn’t really do much Jesus) is deplorable. And yes, counseling is all about the victim. Isn’t that why you’re there as a counselor? For the victim?
    One last thing: I recently heard somebody say that the most loving thing you can do for the perpetrator of abuse is to seek justice. It stops the abuse, saves any current and future victims from further abuse, and hopefully also acts as a wake up call to the abuser, who can no longer live in denial about their sin and crime and pretend that they are normal, either to themselves or those around them. The hope is always that an abuser will repent and understand how wrong they were. Simple forgiveness of the abuser without any justice is not loving: it is enabling. Many abusers, particularly pedophiles, feel that they cannot help their behavior. A part of them may hate that they do it. Turning them over to the police and seeing them incarcerated may be the only way an abuser will EVER be able to stop what he is doing. So to all those so very concerned about the well-being of the abuser: their arrest and conviction may very well be for their own good, as well as the good of any victims past, present, and future. One of the main reasons rape victims are encouraged to testify has nothing to do with vengeance; it has everything to do with saving potential future victims from being raped too.

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  5. Rick Patton

    It might help to consider whether Bob Wood’s concern was for how to counsel the abused in the aftermath of the bringing the abuser to justice. There is an aftermath folks. I speak from personal experience, and frankly, I found Dr. Wood’s advise to be extremely helpful. Unless you’ve been the victim, you won’t appreciate this point. Ask the rape victim about their breakdown AFTER the arrest and conviction, and perhaps you will begin to get a sense of it. Ask the abused child how many times he wondered why his own mother or father HATED him long after the abuse was “outed.” What did I ever do to deserve that hatred? You make an enormous mistake if you think justice brings healing. It’s a start, and an absolutely necessary one, but I assure you the hole in one’s psyche is much much deeper than that. The legal system can’t fill that hole. But the grace of God can. There is healing in His wings. Go read Isaiah 49:15. If you think you can bring healing to those who have no voice by the sheer force of your will or good intentions, you are sadly mistaken. The answers that heal are found in the biblical principles that teach those of us who have suffered abuse that we live in a broken and sin-cursed world. We know that better than most. The answers that heal are found in the recognition that God did not do this to me. God rescued me. The message that heals is the one that encourages me to move past the abuse and accept that I am still worth more than many sparrows, despite the damage done. I still have value in His sight. I am stilled loved. The message that heals is the one that says God is still good and that the evil inflicted upon me need not define me. I AM more than my body. It is temporal, a “vapor that appears for a little while and is gone.” It is the “throwaway part.” That was never intended by Dr. Wood to be insensitive. It was intended to give perspective, and I for one have found it to be an extremely helpful perspective. I am so much more than what I see in the mirror. My soul remains intact by the grace of God, even if I bear in my body the marks of this broken and sin cursed world. One day this corruptible WILL put on incorruption, and the “corruptible” will be thrown away. Perspective people. Dr. Wood is a good and decent man. Go pick on someone else.

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