Religious Colleges

Religious Colleges

Students who attend religious colleges encounter the same challenges and opportunities as those who attend secular schools, however the fundamental difference is the sense of community on campus. Most large colleges have a variety of different values, beliefs, and predjudices  present on campus at all times. However, religious schools such as  Christian Colleges generally tend to experience a common connection between all of the students on campus, that being their faith in Jesus Christ. Secular schools usually don’t offer educational courses on religious studies, and if they do it is outside of the classroom and optional for those students who may be interested. Religious schools however, incorporate these discussions of faith into the curriculum so that it is an obvious part of campus.

Students will make poor decisions whether attending a secular or a religious school, however I believe religious colleges tend to have fewer troubles on campus because of the constant reminder of  ethics and morals that comes along with most religious studies. Another factor to consider is the weight of the consequences of the offender’s actions. In a secular school, students can be reprimanded by teachers for minor infringements and major infringements which usually refer to violent or criminal acts and things such as plaigerism, can be punishable by suspension or expulsion. The fundamental difference in discipline between secular and religious schools is what constitutes a minor or major infraction. What would be considered commonplace behavior in a secular school, such as chewing gum or inappropriate language, could be labeled a major infringement at a religious school. This sets the bar for the way religious students act, and lowers the chance of religious schools facing the same troubles that keep secular schools in the headlines.

Another fundamental difference between the rules of a religious school and those of a secular school are the policies on dating. A secular school would probably never be able to actually enforce such policies, however religious colleges such as Bob Jones University enforce such rules as banning interracial dating between students. At Patrick Henry College, campus officials encourage “courting” instead of dating in which a young man is supposed to reach out to a young woman’s father in order to recieve his permission for them to date. At Magdalen College, students are prohibited from dating all together. These rules serve as a way to better control students, and in doing so they achieve in lowering the problems that many secular schools face.

I believe that even though these rules that religious schools enforce are successfully lowering troubles on campus, however they are probably successfully lowering other things on campus such as interest in current events and diverse opinions and beliefs that encourage secular schools to thrive while giving their students room to grow and progess.

Domestic Violence

The book “Domestic Violence: a Cross-Cultural View” by Elaine Leeder explores the forms of domestic violence that occur in many different cultures. For example, wife beating is a form of domestic violence that is very common in India. She reveals this horrible truth as more of a cultural norm in Indian society, stating that only 22% of women surveyed  admitted to having had been beaten. This seems like a generally low number, however as Leeder mentions, we must take into account the fact that in India it is unacceptable to admit to being abused and only those women who are seriously suffering from the effects of such abuse would admit to it. Shockingly, the majority of women getting abused wouldn’t even think to mention it as a problem because the practice is so commonplace. Many believe that such violence is prevalent in Indian households because of family norms practiced by this culture. Such violence is socially acceptable under certain circumstances such as a woman’s infidelity, dowry problems, neglect of the household duties, or disobedience to her husband. Wife beating has become so tightly knit into Indian society that it is not seen as a problem unless it is very extreme, in which case an intervention occurs by the village monk.  The same goes for child abuse, as the Indian family values strict discipline and obedience of children.

Industrialization and modernization have influenced such domestic violences, and has lead to a rise in child abuse in India. This is because these processes lead to rising economic expectations which the family must endure. These pressures are released in the household and put on the children who will be beaten and abused in hopes that this corporal punishment will lead them to be socially skilled and responsible adults.

This leads to the discussion of visible and invisible forms of violence. Visible forms of violence are directly seen in behaviors and actions taken by the violator. While invisible forms of violence are those that are not necessarily violent actions or behaviors, but things such as a violent culture or a structure that is violent by being too repressive or exploitative. These forms of violence feed off of themselves in a cyclical nature in the sense that cultural and structural invisible violence can be the cause of direct visible violence.  For example, as we see in India, the invisible violence of the culture is directly causing visible violence in forms of domestic abuse.

By Serene

Prostitution Discussion

Many people believe that prostitution is a free choice. However, after researching several studies of prostitutes, Melissa Farley disagrees. Since 1993, Farley has been researching prostitution and human trafficking in several countries. Her research shows high rates of post traumatic stress disorder among the women studied, who worked as prostitutes whether on the street, in a brothel, or in strip clubs. Farley and her coauthors found this research to contradict the popular myths about prostitution such as the idea that people who are in prostituion have freely consented to it. Farley’s research has lead her to believe that prostitution is commonly not a free choice. Farley reports in her studies that 89% of the respondents interviewed wished to leave prostituion but lacked the means to do so. I agree with Farley and understand that this ‘profession’ is a dangerous and life threatening one. I don’t believe that any person would willingly dream of becoming a prostitute, however I understand that in some circumstances it becomes the only way for an individual to survive. For example, 84% of women interviewed in Farley’s studies reported a history of homelessness.

It is debated whether legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution would reduce it’s harmful effects. For example, countries such as Germany and New Zealand have legalized  prostitution. The differences between leagalized and decriminalized prostitution are not experienced by the prostitute. Legalized prostitution is a state- sponsored activity in which the state collects taxes from this profession, just like any other. Decriminalized prositution means that all laws regarding prostitution would be removed,  resulting in prostitution and all it’s forms becoming legal. Melissa Farley is opposed to both legalization and decriminalization of prostitution claiming that it does nothing to decrease the harmful effects both physically and psychologically that the women in prostitution endure. It is not the legal status of prostitution that causes the harm, it’s the act of prositution itself. Some claim that legalization or decriminalization of prostitution would decrease the shame and isolation that many prostitutes feel because of their view in society, however women in Dutch prostitution rarely register as legal prostitutes, depriving themselves of legal benefits such as retirement, simply because they are ashamed to be labeled as one. I agree with Farely and do not believe that prostituion should be legalized or decriminalized, simply because I do not believe it would allieviate any of the problems caused by prostitution. We can see this proven by the countries who have decriminalized prostitution, many of them seeing an increase in illegal, hidden and street prostitution. Countries who have legalized prositution are seeing an increase in human trafficking which brings new horrors and more problems to deal with.

Prostitution can be seen as an intersection of race, sex, and class oppression due to the fact that oppressed people are forced into this type of work by poverty and lack of education. People who view prostitution as a free choice and form of sexual liberation should analyze more closely the relationship between sexual liberation and prostitution. Sexual liberation implies the release of oppresive factors such as people, beliefs, and conditions that would control a person’s sexuality. However, studies such as those found by Melissa Farley assert that prostitution degrades and exploits those who engage in such acts, ultimately contradicting the values that sexual liberation promotes.

Thinness Discussion

In a world like the one we live in today, where technology and social media are essential to the daily tasks of most civilians, our values as a society are rapidly changing to meet the social requirements and stereotypes of our generation. The media becomes a source of information on how to look, how to dress, and basically, how to live your own life. This may seem fine in moderation but when people take these values and stereotypes too far, it can be seriously detrimental to their health, both mentally and physically. For example, teens and adults choose to put their own health at risk by using sunless tanning beds, and actually pay moneyto be exposed to harmful UV rays. Another example would be the eating disorders that have resulted from this cultural obsession with thinness that our society seems to value. The rise in eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, has affected as many as 7 million women and 1 million men, ages ten to early twenties.

There are three theoretical methods used to better understand and treat these eating disorders that millions of americans are struggling with each year. The first method used in describing the reasons many people develop such eating disorders is called the biomedical model. This model tends to assert that eating disorders are caused by biological factors. These factors could be things such as an imbalance of hormones in one’s body to malfunctioning neurotransmitters in a person’s brain chemistry. The biomedical model points to a person’s genetics and innate physiological features as factors that contribute to the development of such disorders, excluding the many social and cultural factors that people face. The second method, known as the psychological model, views such eating disorders as a multi-dimensional problem and includes biological, psychological and sociological factors as the causes for developing such disorders. This model indicates that these disorders may stem from a range of personal issues that an individual may be facing, such as low self-esteem or strained relationships in a person’s life. Theorists that focus on this model hypothesize that the repressed emotional problems of the individual become expressed through an abnormal relationship with food, while the cultural aspects that society tends to value simply reinforce such behavior that emphasizes thinness.

The psychological model can help explain the relationship between sexual abuse and eating disorders, in which there seems to be a definite correlation. This model suggests that the control an individual has over what they eat may serve as a mechanism for gaining a sense of identity or control over their life. Most victims of sexual abuse feel an immense loss of control over their bodies and even their life in general after being abused. Victims will often feel ashamed of their body afterwards, and may carry a sense of guilt with them for the rest of their lives. Some feel a need to push others away, in order to protect themselves and some turn to addiction to cope. Whether a person turns to drugs or food, binging offers a sense of comfort and control while masking their emotions of pain and anger. Purging may serve as a way to cleanse the victim’s feelings of being dirty and violated, or in some cases it serves as a means of self-punishment. Survivors of abuse often suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, and as the psychological method states, this types of emotional suffering drastically increases their chances of developing an eating disorder.

The third method of understanding these disorders that are dramatically increasing is called the feminist model. This model was created by feminist researchers who focused more on analyzing the nature of these diseases and the way they were classified throughout history to better explain their role throughout society. The feminist model asserts that these eating disorders are not specific to race, but rather to gender. It uses the history of women’s right to show how these eating disorders have formed and how the societal views on women throughout history have reiderated this obsession with thinness.

All three of these theoretical models help us to better understand how these disorders play a role in our society today, and mostly likely in any other society around the globe as well. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are not confined to the “white americans” and can be found in almost any society today. The fact that racism and class standing have their own contributions to such eating disorders can go overlooked, due to the fact that African men and women and those who live in poverty with these diseases can go undiagnosed and untreated. As the psychological model explains, the emotional state of an individual can have a huge impact on the likelihood of developing an eating disorder. Therefore it can be assumed that people who suffer from external social stressors such as racism and those of class standing, would be more likely to develop these disorders.

All of these models offer useful explanations that aid in understanding how eating disorders can develop, how they can be treated, and how they play a role in the society we live in today. However, I do not believe that these eating disorders can be fully explained by understanding just one method, but rather by understanding all three methods as a whole. The bottom line is that it would be impossible to try and define the reasons for these disorders with solely one method. We must look at each method of analysis to completely understand this cultural obsession with thinness and the many effects it has had on our society.

By: Serene