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September, 28, 2016

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Indignation after rape survivor's apology

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Months after an alleged sexual assault cover-up at Fu Jen Catholic University was made public, the assault survivor took to Facebook to publicly apologize to the faculty's dean and those involved, provoking public outrage on Thursday.

The Facebook post, written and made public by the survivor, surnamed Wu, on Wednesday, expressed apologies to Fu Jen Catholic University's College of Social Sciences Dean Hsia Lin-ching (夏林清), a professor of psychology, and others involved.

"All the problems and mistakes were caused by me," Wu wrote in the post, urging the public to cease slandering Hsia's reputation by pointing to the dean and faculty's attempts to paper over the situation. "It was not my intention to see so many accusations targeting Hsia."

The victim also apologized to the Fu Jen Psychology Department. Wu said that she had gone to the Education Ministry to clarify details about the ministry's ongoing investigation.

Public figures were quick to post responses and reactions to the apology, with many decrying a lack of justice and reason in a society that saw a victim of sexual assault apologizing.

Others slammed Hsia and the faculty's poor handling of the case, and many, including media outlets, suggested that the school had pressured Wu into apologizing.

A student also launched a protest on campus against Hsia, the faculty and the perpetrator, hoping to provide a platform for dialogue over the case.

Reports said that the perpetrator, surnamed Wang, had resumed studies at the university after being expelled. According to reports, Wang was expelled only after Wu filed a complaint with the school's gender equality committee, although Hsia repeatedly pressured her not to.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Hsia claimed that many netizens had twisted Wu's apology.

"Many have said that there was no need for Wu to apologize, and some have speculated that she was forced to do so," the post read.

However, Hsia said that by not allowing Wu to apologize for a Facebook post that "besieged Hsia and the faculty of false accusations," it would only "prolong Wu's nightmare" and force her "into a corner with no way out."

The dean emphasized that Wu's apology was in response to a Facebook post that had falsely accused her and the faculty of attempting to cover up the sexual assault and of attempting to paint the incident as a case of "intoxicated consensual sex."

Wu's boyfriend, surnamed Chu, first shared details of the case on Facebook in late May, accusing Hsia and the faculty of trying to cover up a sexual assault that took place on campus last year. He also accused Hsia of making offensive comments to Wu during an inquiry.

The post said that Wu had been raped by a younger student in the department, surnamed Wang, following an on-campus event that served alcohol. Wu was first found by Chu, drunk and nearly unconscious, while Wang was sexually assaulting her, according to Chu's post.

  Hsia later held a press conference over the summer in a move to restore confidence, as well as her own reputation and that of the faculty and school. Hsia claimed that the assault described in the post was a fabricated story made up by Wu and Chu, and published details of emails that were exchanged with Wu, despite Wu's demands that the correspondence be kept private.

The case is still undergoing review by the nation's judicial system.

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Fu Jen Catholic University, shown in this photo, has recently been embroiled in an alleged cover-up of a sexual assault case involving two students in the psychology department. (Stephanie Chao, The China Post)

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