Ateneo de Manila Finds Reported Rape Case "Likely a Hoax"
In a memo released to the Loyola Schools community earlier today, Vice President for the Loyola Schools Maria Luz C. Vilches declared that the police investigation on the alleged rape on Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) campus found that the alleged rape incident "was likely a hoax, unless otherwise, if in the future the victim and/or witnesses of the said incident will come out and seek police assistance."
“No record of any suspicious movements in the alleged location has been detected by campus security,” the statement reads. The area in question is the comfort room on the 5th floor of the CTC building, which is under the surveillance of a CCTV and 24/7 campus security.
However, it should be noted that the anonymous post on ADMU Freedom Wall did not state exactly when the incident took place, and Vilches’ memo did not mention the time span of the CCTV footage which the police and campus security reviewed.
Despite the findings of the investigation, Vilches affirmed that “We continue to take steps to ensure the safety and security of everyone inside the campus. As part of our continuing efforts to take precautionary measures, we have deployed additional roving security guards and installed more CCTVs. We have also engaged the services of a security consultant to review the security systems of the school."
This is not the only sexual harassment case that Ateneo is currently investigating. On October 4, the school's University Committee on Decorum and Investigation began looking into sexual harassment complaints made by female students against a male professor.
“We will continue to work towards eradicating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence from our community until each and every one of us feels safe in this place we truly call home,” Vilches stated in a memo dated October 4.
As with the aforementioned rape allegation, the accusations of sexual harrassment were brought to light after an anonymous post on ADMU Freedom Wall revealed one student's uncomfortable experiences with a professor.
BREAKING: VPLS Maria Luz Vilches releases memo on sexual harassment complaints. Vilches assures the community that investigations will be underway, and that the University is committed to “eradicating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence” in the Ateneo. pic.twitter.com/U5PBig7OcI— The GUIDON (@TheGUIDON) October 4, 2018
This is not the only time sexual violence on campus has been in the news recently. Just a few weeks after the post about the alleged incident went viral, another Ateneo alumna shared the story of a traumatic high school experience—and its aftermath—on a Facebook post that quickly went viral: “I’m exposing this to the public because I want people to know the truth about what I went through. I want people to know the permanent wounds it left me with—wounds caused not only by Jiggs, but also by the culture that perpetuated the slut shaming, victim blaming, and passivity in the face of injustice. After days of reliving the agony and shame I felt, writing this was the only thing that gave me peace in my heart.”
Nicole went on to thank another woman, “for coming out with your story and empowering me to do the same.”
As cases of sexual violence on campus are being brought to light, more and more women are being emboldened to come forward, using social media as the venue to air their accusations and shed light on 'rape culture.' That there will be hoaxes is perhaps inevitable—how this particular one will affect women from coming forward in the future remains to be seen. We can only hope that any future hoaxes are nipped in the bud before they cause any damage.