In October 2010, a young woman was sleeping in her University of Hawaii dorm in Manoa when a co-worker she thought was her friend sexually assaulted her. Both were students working as resident advisors in one of the Hale Aloha dorm buildings.
Unlike most student victims of rape and sexual assault, she formally reported the incident — in this case, to administrators in charge of campus housing. But administrators may have botched her case from the very beginning, according to reports that were put together by a counselor who later helped the woman navigate the university’s internal disciplinary proceedings.
In fact, the school officials only made her feel more victimized as the investigation ensued.
Students at the University of Hawaii Manoa.
One administrator even emailed this note to residence staff, including the victim, shortly after the incident: “I wanted to let you know that (the perpetrator) is doing fine and we appreciate you giving him privacy over the last few weeks.”
The email, a copy of which was included in the reports, then went on to explain that he would transfer to another building but keep his job as a resident advisor: “(The perpetrator) and I ask that you continue to respect his privacy and wish him well as he transitions into a new area/community. You are all friends, so please continue to be friends!”
The school found the perpetrator responsible in an internal decision issued in November 2010, a month after the incident. But the man, according to the counselor’s reports, was still living in the dorms that December. And administrators didn’t give the victim a letter detailing the decision until January 2011 — after her third request for the document, according to the reports.
Photo Credit: PF Bentley of Civil Beat