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Ateneo investigates alleged campus rape case

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University is investigating an allege rape case that happened within the school's premises, a school official said this weekend.

Mira Ofreneo, head of the Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools Sexual Misconduct Task Force, confirmed the investigation in a statement Saturday, November 24.

Ofreneo was referring to an anonymous post on Saturday in the Facebook group "ADMU Freedom Wall." In the post, a student said two men sexually assaulted her in the comfort room of a school building. The post did not mention when the incident took place.

"We are taking the anonymous report seriously, and verifying the information starting with whatever leads are available from the post. If the post is confirmed, we will bear down on the perpetrators with the full force of the law," Ofreneo said in a statement.

Ofreneo said the university's administration was "shocked" and "outraged" by the report, and called on those who may have witnessed "anything suspicious" around the area to come forward with information.

"Rape is a heinous crime and is a grave violation of a person's bodily integrity and human dignity. No one should be made to suffer such an act of sexual violence," she said.

Ofreneo said the university does not condone any form of sexual violence on campus, and apologized to the female student who reported the incident on the Facebook group.

"To the girl who reported, we are truly sorry for your pain and suffering. Our hearts go out to you and our doors are open to provide you a safe space and the necessary support and assistance," she said.

The incident comes on the heels of a sexual harassment case filed by Ateneo's student council with the university last October 15, against a longtime male professor who has allegedly sexually harassed several students. (READ: Ateneo professor faces sexual harassment complaint)

The student council filed a case with the university after it received several complaints, which also stemmed from anonymous posts on the Facebook group "ADMU Freedom Wall."

Maria Luz Vilches, vice president for the Loyola Schools, earlier said the school started its investigations into the said incident, with the case now elevated to its official investigating body, the University Committee on Decorum and Investigation.

Ofreneo assured the public and parents that safety of students on campus is of "paramount importance" and that security in the school has been "reinforced." – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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