Her child was molested at AUB… and they did nothing to catch the guy!

My daughter was playing with the kitties at AUB between the Agriculture building and the gym. A man of around 30 came up to her and asked her if she wanted to go for a walk with him. She said no but he grabbed her butt while touching his own genitals.

He picked her up and started carrying her to an alcove near the stairway. She struggled and kicked him in his groin and she got away. The man ran away.

AUB was totally unprepared to handle such a situation. As soon as my daughter ran to me in the gym and told me the story of what had happened, I ran out and called from the emergency telephone. But the security person on the other end of the phone could not understand my english well enough and spent 30 minutes trying to get the story right.

In the end he told me that I should not leave my child unattended on campus, at which point i spewed a volcanic erruption of profanity and gave up that they would ever catch the guy. O well.

Submitted by Anonymous

Location: American University of Beirut

Time of harassment:  16-20: Afternoon Rush Hour / العصر

Do you have a personal experience with sexual harassment or assault you would like to share? Please click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

هل لديك تجربة شخصية مع التحرش الجنسي أو الاعتداء تريد مشاركته ؟ الرجاء الضغط هنا وملء استمارة التقديم على الانترنت. وتنشر جميع التقارير مجهول ما لم تحدد


15 responses to “Her child was molested at AUB… and they did nothing to catch the guy!

  1. Mohamad Majzoub

    Yes; you are very right in this regarding AUB preparedness. They are indeed an American institution but within a Eastern society. So that was the expected way of how they would think. And even if they did know who the guy is from the way she described him, and they got caught of him, he can deny what he did if there are no witnesses. May I ask how old is your daughter?

    • Mohamad, what does being an Eastern society have anything to do with it? Do you think “Easterners” enjoy terrible institutions that allow their children to be molested?! Or should we just wait until our societies magically turn into Americans? I know women at colleges in America that have been raped and ignored by their institutions. The problem is that people don’t care enough to do something about it.

      To Anonymous, I’m sorry to hear that this happened to your daughter, but I agree with laurelharig that the more you bring this up with better English speakers, the better it will be for you and your family and any other potential victims.

  2. Mohamad, they could have at least TRIED to do some type of investigation, rather than instruct the woman how to parent her children.

    On another note, shouldn’t the security personnel be trained for better English proficiency?

  3. laurelharig

    This is very disturbing to hear. As an AUB student, I feel outraged that a young girl had to go through this as she was playing on the campus.

    At the same time, I do not think we can blame the security guard for not speaking English properly. Lebanon’s official language is Arabic and the security personnel are working class and have not been educated in elite schools like AUB. The university does offer language classes for staff but maybe he was new or he just did not understand because she was upset. If they did not understand you on the phone, you should have gone to the protection office next to the main gate. This is an extremely serious claim, especially if he tried to carry her away (rape!) and I urge you to keep pressing for an investigation.

    You can contact AUB Police at 03-334307 or go to the office and bring an Arabic speaker with you. We need to find out who this man is; if he is staff, faculty, resident, or if he somehow wandered in from the Corniche. You should give the police a description of the man so they can start an investigation. Near that area, there are always two security guards, one near the gate to the Corniche and another next to the business school gate. Maybe they also saw someone that day. I understand that we are all frustrated with the system in this country and the police often do nothing, but we have to keep demanding that they do their job and be accountable. I think that if you explain what happened, they will do something. Please update us on what happens.

  4. Similar situation happened to a friend of mine and they blamed her. AUB is as corrupt as the country.

  5. Mohamad Majzoub

    Yes Joseph; I understand well your point and I agree with you, but I’m thinking in the mentality that they think in as if saying internally “shu baddi fawwit 7ali bi hal shagli”, and try to excuse themselves out of the situation.
    And regarding the language, they can speak & understand English like a beginner in this language, so they may not understand complex phrases and/or a native speaker.

  6. farfahinne

    this is not the first complaint we receive about students being harassed at AUB. a campaign must be mounted there to pressure the administration to do trainings for the staff on how to deal with such situations and to put a clear policy against sexual harassment.. this is very serious.
    if you are an AUB student and would like to make a change around you plz contact us and let’s see how the Adventures of Salwa campaign can help!

  7. AUB takes sexual harassment very seriously. In the past year, there were three reported cases of sexual offense against individuals in the AUB community. In two out of these three cases, the victims and their parents helped identify the offenders, resulting in apprehension of the individuals followed by disciplinary action and an immediate dismissal from the University. Additionally, AUB’s published sexual harassment policies are especially progressive, particularly in a Lebanese context and compared to other leading Lebanese employers. Moreover, the University continues to review its policies to ensure maximum effectiveness.
    The University tries to balance the need for security, screening and surveillance with its desire to maintain an open campus environment – one that is not isolated from the public or its immediate community. Although the campus is extensively monitored by the Protection Office, it is impossible to completely monitor the entire campus at all times given the size, topology and nature of the campus.
    The University has increased patrols and continues to screen known offenders from entering campus at every entry point.
    Unfortunately, there are no criminal record databases that list sexual harassment offenders in Lebanon. As a result, the University does not have access to relevant information which would allow for foolproof screening of AUB employees, subcontractors or others that may enter campus. For this reason, when young children are concerned, the University requests adult supervision on campus to ensure a safe environment. In areas where children are known to play, such as around faculty housing, the University makes every effort to ensure that long standing employees with impeccable records are on duty – relying less on younger employees or those whose record is not adequately known.
    When incidents do get reported, the AUB Protection Office relies on the close cooperation of the victim and their parents in the case of younger victims. This is necessary to make a positive visual identification and for AUB authorities to move rapidly with apprehension and disciplinary measures. In addition to internal AUB disciplinary measures, AUB also encourages the victim to report incidents to the proper Lebanese authorities and provides relevant assistant to that end.

    Office of the Provost
    American University of Beirut

    • qawemeharassment

      We are very glad to hear about the policies in place, but I think we can all agree that the ACTUAL amount of sexual harassment incidents on campus cannot possibly be only 3 in the past year. The question, then, is why no one is reporting these crimes?

      Could it be that, while policies exist to protect women from sexual harassment and assault, and to protect children from molestation, campus security are not adequately trained in how to deal with actual cases?

      As the case above very well illustrates, the problem was not that there were no security officials; the problem was that the complaint was not taken seriously. Instead of blaming the woman for leaving her child, which is what happened, the security officer had the obligation to listen, file a complaint, and to start an investigation.

      So what are we suggesting?

      Have a serious, anonymous and confidential policy to fill and follow up on complaints when sexual harassment is the question, first of all.

      And secondly, perhaps more importantly given that you do already have a policy in place, is to have trainings for the staff and security guards on how to handle such issues in a professional way. It’s no use what your codes say if the officials in question do not treat women with respect and have the audacity to blame a mother for her child being molested on the secure campus of AUB.

  8. Dear Provost,
    Being an employee at AUB I can assure you that in rare occasions there are securities around the places where children plays. Actually, I wonder why you have security, as in very rare occasions they check for IDs (only when you salute them, as they consider you an AUB outsider, just for being polite).

    Having said this: “Unfortunately, there are no criminal record databases that list sexual harassment offenders in Lebanon. As a result, the University does not have access to relevant information which would allow for foolproof screening of AUB employees, subcontractors or others that may enter campus”. I think it is totally unacceptable as an excuse, I feel it too much against people right and privacy! Actually, I feel it not applicable, unless you suggest to check everyone’s records getting in and out of the campus, which YOU HAVE NO RIGHT AT ALL, under any condition… I personally personally do not know if it is legal “Reason” / procedure in your original country, but for sure not in any of the EU universities. I am glad that YOU have no access to such database, in case it will exist. In Lebanon we have something called “Sejel el 3adleh” and the data base available should be enough in some case, though reporting/filing cases is not. But as usual, it is always good to blame the country, the policy in it, the ….not the lack of security and the unpreparedness of it.
    I heard about similar stories, toward older girls, one happened on the garden near the hostler, and the guy was too pushy, most probably high. The AUB security did nothing as well, though it was register.

    To the person who is saying AUB is corrupted, I do not agree with it, especially when it comes to security, some serious efforts are done when things are reported, do not forget the number of students and the lack of Responsibility of students as well as the direction (as you can see from the response of the provost).

  9. There’s cameras in the Agricultural building in front of where the harassment took place (one of the rare places equipped in AUB). I am sure that if you explain the situation, the Dean’s office will help you having the images and hopefully identifying the psychopath.

  10. Dear Anonymous – I am very sorry to hear of this disgusting story, all too common in Beirut never mind AUB.

    AUB Provost – despite having various policies at AUB, I think the main issue here is that your ‘protection’ office does not provide adequate protection. I have personally had very difficult conversations with your security officers when merely trying to get a visitors pass to use the gym, every time I went the policy seemed to have changed in terms of allowing outsiders in to use the gym, despite me going every week. I would be subject to degrading taunts and accusations until I would have to eventually show my diplomatic pass in order to get some kind of respect from your guards… this is outrageous behaviour from staff who are there to serve the university and public. Also if this is an ‘American’ university surely your services should cater to those who speak ‘American/English’ just as much as Arabic speakers. I can fully understand the issue of having to explain this situation (above article) for 30 minutes before loosing all motivation… this is crucial time when action could have been taken to apprehend the culprit instead of teaching a lesson in ‘personal security’, a conversation I have similarly had when a security guard spent at least half an hour trying to ‘catch’ me around the running track while I was at the gym just to ‘check my visitor’s pass’… time which could have been spent ‘protecting’ little children as explained in the article above. I really hope you instill some discipline into your security guards… and being from a lower socio-economic class is no excuse for poor behaviour or a lack of sympathy in a position that requires the utmost compassion for people’s lives…

  11. Pingback: UPDATE: Story of Molestation at AUB | Resist Harassment Lebanon / قاومي التحرش – لبنان

  12. I had have heard that the young daughter of this woman was 10 years old during the harassment, I think she was very brave and confident to be able to kick the guy, Then being able to explain it. i really agree that the a.u.b Police should at least be able to understand English. And a week before this story, a janitor in a.u.b Kissed a young girl ( not even a teenager ). And yes, Carrying the girl could have led to rape, i have also heard that the man has come very close to raping the girl, what he did was, He put her on the floor as she struggled, try to push a bit, but this woman has told a friend of hers who is my friend, that the young girl, Had some knowledge about these pedophiles, and is aware of them before, but not as much as now, And she has known the meaning of “Rape” and “Harass”. that is why she had reacted fast. i am very sorry for your young Daughter.

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