Background: This is my second year as an intern at
Description: I am going to give the website for the Courier Journal article on what happened in addition to my own description (http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007711071070). At
Analysis and Evaluation: The main thing to report here is that since I first read about what happened I have been completely resistant to blame the student for her actions. I have been defending her throughout because I can empathize with her situation. I am sure she was scared, confused and in denial at first. I cannot imagine what loathing something inside of you would do to a person after a time. Just look at super villains. I could not believe, and still can’t, believe how her reputation was dragged through the sewers both verbally and on facebook. It was odd to think that facebook was something we needed to worry about, but the first action we needed to get done was to delete her facebook.
There are 1,500,000 sperm and one egg, so someone else contributed to the situation. She didn’t give herself a reputation; no one said anything about the young men (there were 2 by the way) who had sex with the student. No one said anything about the people who were slandering her either. I found myself extremely defensive to males especially because they seemed insensitive to her situation. I absolutely could not believe the way the press covered the situation either. They were like vultures, lurking on the edges – waiting for a student to say more than they were supposed to. It really puts you out of sorts, kind of hyper-defensive I guess. Luckily, the press were not allowed on the private campus, but they swarmed around on the boarders of campus. The paper called the student a young mother and a murderer and I don’t think those are fair labels yet. She did kill her child, but shouldn’t she be innocent until proven guilty in the press. Most recently the courier journal reported her as a mother who murdered her child, and that is not unbiased reporting. I don’t think that having a baby makes you into a mother automatically, you have given birth to a baby, but you don’t automatically get the skill and aren’t ready for the mold you are expected to conform to as a “mother” in our society. I mean she was 19, she was a scared child herself, obviously.
Also, on the courier journal site there is a place for readers to respond to articles and the things people were writing just wounded my soul. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel like maybe Christians should have more compassionate opinions. I believe Jesus would have given this student a hug and had a conversation with her. We are not allowed to contact her either right now and as a part of the campus ministry office I think we should be. I agree that she needs to be held accountable for her actions; I also don’t think she deserves a chance to explain them, and to be forgiven. Redemption is a part of Christianity as well isn’t it? She also needs a chance to get some help and to figure out who she is in this instead of dodging stones for the rest of her life.
My supervisor agreed with me that a male perspective of a situation dealing with issues related to women, pregnancy and childbirth to be more black and white than the perspective of someone who could potentially host another being inside of them for about 9 months or so. That was a relief because I was starting to think I was the only one confused by their reactions. I cannot imagine being in her situation and having nowhere to turn. I would be terrified, but I am lucky to have a solid network of friends and family whom I know would help me through. I also have the great privilege of knowing my options, knowing where to go to get help. But not everyone knows that most clinics actual purpose is to inform people about their reproductive rights works on a sliding scale and is anonymous.
I finally came to the realization the affidavit came out that she might have planned this, though I wonder at what point she began to wonder what would happen when she went into labor. It also made me think differently about the movie Saved. What was that girl going to do if her friends hadn’t discovered her pregnancy?
The reactions at Bellarmine have been many and various since it happened. The captain of the golf team has been suicidal, a lot of this students friends have been suffering with guilt and from not knowing what’s happening because the school has not been exactly open. I believe the two suitemates came back and moved into a different room, I don’t know if the room mate came back. I can’t imagine being the parents having to move the students stuff out of the dorm, because she is suspended from Bellarmine because she is charged with a federal crime. The first part of the grief cycle is anger, confusion and denial and that has been apparent in the staff and students throughout the last few weeks. I have noticed it in me too. There were a few arguments and unfair actions by the Student Affairs office towards the Campus Minister that was just ridiculous and probably partially the result of residual anger. We did prayer services and offered counseling but those are ethereal/abstract and I feel strongly that we need to do something lasting and concrete as a reaction to and a way of healing from what happened. It would be something for the whole community, something that would last. People need to know that this isn’t going away and that we aren’t sweeping it under the carpet. I think a prayer wall, or a wall of lament would be a sweet gift, maybe when I get some time I will work on that.
Theological Reflection: This whole situation made me think a lot about how Jesus acted. I work for a Christian institution and I attend a Christian institution and I don’t understand why we haven’t done a better job reaching out to each other for help and for aid. We are connected through the Spirit and belief in Jesus Christ. Courier journal readers have condemned Katie already, as would a society that is obsessed with CSI, Law and Order and News programs that only report the bad news. If Jesus were here I believe he would stand up for Katie and remind everyone to examine the log in their own eye and rethink if they have the right to cast the first stone. I also think Jesus would be appalled at our inaction. Some things you just can’t plan for, but you can learn from and this is one of those things.