5 Myths About Us We’d Like to Bust

For several months, the volunteers of Dinah’s Voice/CASC have been repeatedly criticized by those who disagree with our goals or dislike our approach. Among other things, these people have made a variety of inaccurate claims regarding our behavior and motives. While we have attempted to respectfully handle these as they came up, and to address these claims directly with those who have been making them, the same false accusations continue to circulate again and again. So we have decided to address each of these misleading rumors here one last time.

Myth 1: CASC members called for a priest to be defrocked and/or bodily harmed through defenestration.

False. An alumnus priest sent an email stating:

“We will pray for our alma mater, Christendom College. Faced with diabolic attacks, we pray for Christendom and her president to be defended from her enemies, whether the shameful lust of some past students or the unprovoked attack of a vengeful blogger, etc.”

This priest also stated on a Facebook thread, “At any rate, it is a mortal sin to separate from your spouse without permission from your pastor.”

Given that many rape victims were and are accused of claiming rape falsely in order to cover up the sin of lust, this was a deeply hurtful and offensive message for them to receive, not only from an alumnus of their college, but a priest. Within the private support group for survivors of Christendom College (containing victims of many forms of abuse, not only sexual), the text of this email and the priest’s abhorrent remarks on domestic violence were shared. In response to the dangerous assertion that a person in danger from a spouse would be sinning to remove themselves from danger without waiting for a priest’s permission, and among other overtly tongue-in-cheek comments, one member commented: “I would say he should be defrocked, but defenestration would be so much more fulfilling.” (This quote has been revealed with the member’s permission.)

To claim that this is in any way an actual threat against the priest is ludicrous. As any alumni of Christendom College who had classes with Professor Mike Brown would know, talking or joking about defenestration is a widespread campus joke, and the above comment is no exception.

Furthermore, it is important to note that in the context of a private support group, many emotions are expressed. We do not tone police the support group. The point is that you are free to express yourself, and to process any emotions which may be coming up in response to abuse (this priest’s publicly stated attitude towards victims of domestic violence, for example, could certainly be construed as spiritually abusive and actively dangerous).

As a final note, the private support group was founded and moderated by CASC — however, being a member of the support group does not mean you are a member of CASC.

Myth 2: CASC has been revealing victim stories without permission for our own benefit.

False. With every interview and public interaction, every member of CASC has only told their own survivor story (and this has always been our stated policy). On the rare occasions when another survivor’s story has been shared, it’s been with their permission, and every statement about them was run by them for their approval.

When it was brought to our attention that some individuals were claiming that CASC members had shared their stories without their permission and/or put pressure on them to share stories which they did not wish to tell, our immediate response was to install Meg Anzalone as the Director of Human Resources to conduct an investigation. Ms. Anzalone requested that every communication from every CASC member related to such incidents, such as Facebook Messenger and Instagram screenshots, text messages, call histories, and copies of emails, be handed over for review. After an in-depth investigation of multiple claims, Ms. Anzalone determined that CASC had not violated any individual’s privacy according to HIPAA standards.

What was discovered during one investigation, however, was that — prior to the formation of CASC — one survivor had received permission from another survivor to anonymously reference an incident when telling her own story. Later, that second survivor withdrew consent. When CASC was formed and reshared a copy of the first survivor’s story, we were unaware of the withdrawn consent. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we removed the post that referenced both survivor stories immediately.

No further details can be provided without violating the privacy of the former members, which we still hold despite their departure and despite their accusations. We offered to make the results of our investigation public, and to take disciplinary action towards the member of the support group who violated consent, but the complainant declined.

Myth 3: CASC tried to get someone fired because they disagreed with us.

False. When the first stories about these assaults at Christendom first came out, an alumna in the Christendom College Alumni Facebook group stated:

“But ultimately, we don’t know whether it was consensual or not. However, reading between the lines (her mental health history) taken in tandem with this girl [Adele Chapline Smith] engaging in risky behavior (parked car alone at night in a park, making out, smoking and perhaps drinking) and telling everyone what happened because she did not receive her desired outcome of ‘justice’ suggests the possibility of an ulterior motive.”

Further stating: “Bottom line, she [Adele] seems to need attention, and not the positive variety.”

Further stating: “You have an admin . . . who is being attacked by a girl [Adele] with no evidence and questionable character, who also used a known nefarious mechanism to exploit the college (because it makes sensational headlines).”

Further stating: “These girls [Adele and another woman who is a survivor of assault but had not claimed to be a Christendom victim] are happy to play the victim at any cost without accepting any personal responsibility for underlying issues that existed previously. . . . Clearly, this chick had credibility issues. I am not victim blaming because there are real victims of rape.”

This alumna serves in a guidance role at an all-girls school (in addition to her job as a teacher). She was expressing that certain behavior might bring rape upon a girl, that mental health issues could imply a victim was lying for attention, that an alumna would lie about rape in order to exploit her school, and implied that these “fake victims” were different from “real victims.” Because of this, multiple concerned alumni — including the second woman accused by this alumna of “playing the victim”, who happened to be a member of CASC — contacted the principal of the school (in a private capacity, not acting as a representative of CASC). While we cannot speak to what the other emails said, we have been given access to the email sent by the CASC member, who stated:

“As you can imagine, these remarks are both personally devastating and rise nearly to the threshold of legal libel. I can’t imagine why you want someone who publicly mocks and dismisses rape victims and says they were complicit in their own rapes working anywhere near young girls. This is not Catholic; it betrays placing institutions over individuals, blind rage toward anyone criticizing her alma mater, and a fundamentally despicable cruelty toward women who have been sexually abused. . . . I really hope that someone who does such a vile thing to the vulnerable and the victim has no place in a Catholic teaching institution or shaping the minds and hearts of young girls. Imagine the heartless cruelty with which they would be treated if they revealed to her they had been sexually assaulted if this is what she says in a public forum — it’s unthinkable.”

While this member offered a strong condemnation of the employee’s cruel language, she did not call for the employee to be fired due to any disagreement between the employee and CASC, but expressed concern that a woman who blamed and shamed rape victims worked in close proximity to young women, who are statistically at the greatest risk for assault and rape.

The employee then proceeded to claim that CASC organized and sent a letter demanding her to be fired, a letter which allegedly included 18 signatures, including names of alumni from whom we never received permission. This is also false.

Myth 4: Dinah’s Voice/CASC is anti-Catholic, hate the Church, and want to destroy Christendom.

False on all three counts. While not every member of Dinah’s Voice/CASC (or every graduate of Christendom) is still Catholic, all of our policies are very much rooted in Catholic teaching. The patrons of CASC specifically are St. Maximilian Kolbe and Servant of God Dorothy Day. Simply because some alumni have left the Catholic faith does not mean they are anti-Catholic, hate the Church, or want to destroy Christendom.

We have all stated many times that Christendom gave us many happy memories and many good friendships. It is because we care for the college that we want to see the hypocrisy end. Christendom itself admitted to failing these students — and then they promptly dropped the subject, shut us out, and are waiting for everyone to get tired and go home. Christendom is a good school. We want it to be an incredible school, one where students know they can come forward safely to the college administration and be believed and taken seriously.

Victims should be believed, never belittled. Victims should be helped, never hindered. Victims should take priority over pride and paycheck.

Myth 5: Dinah’s Voice/CASC is pushing an anti-Christendom or anti-Catholic school agenda for our own personal gain and/or are part of a campaign (partly funded by George Soros) to tear down Catholic institutions.

False. No one in Dinah’s Voice/CASC earns any compensation, monetary or otherwise, as a result of our work. No survivor has received any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for sharing her story with the media. We are doing this work — often at personal expense and in our limited free time — because we care about our alma mater and want to see her be better, and we care about ensuring that current and future students can receive a good education in a safe, supportive environment.

As a final note:

Members of Dinah’s Voice and CASC have been harassed, blackmailed, bullied, lied to, lied about, and outed by name as also being members of a private support group for Christendom College alumni, due to one or more of the above myths being spread around the internet. What we have actually called for and what we still call for is the resignation of a president who admitted to failing his students and admitted that the college needed to do better; we call for safer policies that protect students with prevention & consent education, and policies that protect survivors of assault who still wish to pursue their education on campus.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources at meg.anzalone@cascoalition.org

In Christ,

The Executive Team of Dinah’s Voice/CASC