HCMC school dismisses rumors of rape at military retreat

By Nhat Le, Dinh Van   January 12, 2023 | 01:38 am PT
HCMC school dismisses rumors of rape at military retreat
Nguyen Tien Son, political head of Zone 7 Military School, speaks at a press conference to dismiss information spread on social media that a student was raped at the school's Center for National Defense and Security Training, January 12, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
A Ho Chi Minh City university has denied rumors that one of its female students was raped during a mandatory military retreat.

Social media was ablaze Wednesday night with news that a female student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology (HUFLIT) was raped while undergoing military classes at the Center for National Defense and Security Training at the Zone 7 Military School.

A video circulated online captured the sounds of people screaming in the night, to which various rumors became attached. The most resilient rumor was that the screams were the sound of a woman being raped in the barracks, which at that time were occupied by students from the university on a school-mandated retreat for the fundamentals of military training, which is common practice at Vietnamese colleges.

At around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the center issued a statement declaring that the information online about the video was untrue, stating that the images and sounds had been "distorted with bad intentions."

"During group activities, there had been internal, personal disputes between two female students," the statement read. "Due to their inability to regulate their emotions, one student exhibited screaming and wailing. The incident has been resolved by management employees, without any consequence."

The center reported that all activities and military training programs would continue as scheduled.

A HUFLIT representative on Wednesday also said the information spread on social media was "severely untrue." The school has asked authorities to step in, identify whoever was responsible for spreading the false info, and deal with them in accordance with the law.

At a Thursday press meeting, Nguyen Tien Son, the political head of Zone 7 Military School, said that on Tuesday night, a student discovered that they had lost VND1.4 million.

Other students then accused a particular female member of their cohort of stealing. The accused student then rushed outside without saying anything. Once outside, she began screaming and crying because she believed she'd been falsely accused.

Another female student in the opposite building began to record the incident with her camera phone and posted the video online without specifying exactly what had happened, Son said.

After hearing the screams, one of the facility's managers brought the distraught student to an office to calm her down and call her family to come pick her up, he said.

Son said the video clip was circulated online Wednesday night, along with many rumors. The school has discussed the matter with the student who recorded the video, and she has rectified the matter on her personal account.

"On Thursday morning, we gathered all the head students of each room to hear the girl’s rectification of information," said Son, adding that many other people online also attributed other unrelated images to the incident at the school.

The Center for National Defense and Security Training at Zone 7 Military School, located in HCMC’s outlying District 12, is currently organizing military education classes for students at HUFLIT, as assigned by the Ministry of National Defense.

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