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Dear Editor,

Sexual harassment is a federal crime that should not be ignored just because we have not adopted the law. It is a crime that is plunging us further backwards in time eroding our basic values as human beings. It is also a red flag for the federal funders that support DPS, DHSS, CJP, etc., etc.

Vulgar and obscene behaviors such as reportedly demonstrated by senior police officers Siaosi Aiono and Manuele Lito, according to them are acceptable behaviors in their workplace.

A toxic and infectious working atmosphere has been created to further oppress the victims — an environment that has negative impacts on the productivity, protection and safety of the DPS mission.

There was no shame, fear or respect for these female police officers when violated by their brothers in the force. The offenders had no concern or thought given to the impact their families would suffer. Nor did they care of any adverse consequences within their profession. Their confidence in crossing the line of indecent unprofessional behavior shows the lack of conscience, common decency and respect. They were making a mockery of their authority, uniform and the badges they wore.

After all who would believe these junior women or care if they reported the offense. These officers admitted what they did was no big deal. It implied the victims are just objects, playthings in the office to laugh at. Who cares if they are wives or someone's mother or sister. The confidence in the offenders’ actions spoke loudly of their arrogance, power and connections.

I'm concerned with repeated decision practices by Police Commissioner Lei Sonny Thompson, Deputy Commissioners Vaimaga Maiava, Falanaipupu Taase Sagapolutele and senior supervisor CID Pou Supapo. These cases were suppressed.

Their collective decision alone demonstrates to us the failure to provide protection for victims within their own department. It proved their power and influence to protect the offenders and obstruct justice.

Within the Department of Public Safety, working in pairs or using the buddy system provides confidence, protection and backup while in the field. The effectiveness is based on trust and reliability. When you are molested or violated by your own buddy, just how effective are you after being violated and ignored by the supervisory level when it’s reported? What is your mental state while handling a loaded weapon or responding to a domestic violence scene? The same emotions apply to a rejected offender.

How pervasive is the stench of sexual harassment within this administration? Is it just an isolated incident or have we fallen away from grace that it’s identified as just a passing phase? A phase in which threats from high levels and chambers are quickly leveled against a victim to protect a sex offender.

These are just thoughts to provoke discussions. We carry and protect our own mamalu/ dignity. No one has the right or power to lay hands on you. Nor have they the right to subject you to obscene and vulgar conversations, sexual implied body language or applying implied or force threats. No one has the right to force or coerce you to engage in sexual or vulgar conduct. YOU have the power to say NO and REPORT.

If you still find sexual harassment a laughing or joking matter, bring it into your homes. Expose yourself and your spouse to these behaviors. Watch how effective it is to see family members, friends and guests subjecting your children, grandchildren and spouses to this degrading and emasculating behavior as you look on. Watch how your family becomes helpless, shamed and reduced to paralyzed pieces of objects.

These vile acts were all premeditated and done intentionally. They are not accidents or lapses of judgment. The offender does it for his/ her own power and personal gratification. Neither was it one of those “ oi? ” moments.

Apologies have been devalued to a dime a dozen. Prosecution is needed.

If you have no trust within our local system to guide, protect and provide you with safe, sound advice, assistance or support do not hesitate to call these numbers: Glory Gervacio Saure Dir. EEOC # 808-541-3722, fax# 808-541-3390

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

Victim advocate