BYUH student encounters a flasher; Security, others offer advice

Written by: 
Clover Cheng~ Multimedia Journalist

A BYU-Hawaii student ran into an exhibitionist, also called a “flasher,” in Laie Shopping Center a late evening in January, according to Helaman M. Ka’onohi, assistant manager of Security and a former policeman.

Ka’onohi said the student was walking the back road at the Laie Shopping Center. There was a guy standing 50 feet away from her. He smiled at her while opening his long coat. He had a shirt on, but no pants. The student was shocked and ran away at once.

“It’s still an on going investigation,” said Ka’onohi. “It is my advice to all BYUH students: Time is very important. If you experience something like this, make a police record immediately, so the policeman can come, check the area, and do an investigation.”

Ka’onohi said female students should be aware not to walk alone after dark. He said, “If you ever walk alone at night, such as to the shopping center or to McDonalds, try to stay in lighted areas and don’t take short cuts. If you can, carry a whistle with you.”

If students find out their roommate ran into an exhibitionist, Ka’onohi said, “Talk to them, be supportive, and understand they [the victims] did nothing wrong. Encourage them to report the case…. If a case is recorded, it also promotes safety to others.” He encouraged students who experiencing problems to see a counselor or their bishop.

Boyd Timothy, a BYUH psychology assistant professor, said an exhibitionist refers to someone who engages into sexual fantasy by exposing his or herself suddenly to strangers.

Timothy said an exhibitionist “gets sexual excitement and fulfills their sexual fantasy by witnessing others scream, in shock, or in horror.”

“They [exhibitionists] don’t want actually sexual contact. The object of their sexual desire is to assault somebody and to see them freak out. They want you to run away. If you don’t run away, they will because they know it is illegal…. According to statistics, women and children are usually the target because they tend to run away,” said Timothy.

If students ever run into an exhibitionist, Timothy suggested, “If you can control it, don’t give them the reaction. They are so mean, so un-thoughtful, and so selfish to sexually assault you. Just walk away and be indifferent.”

Timothy continued, “You probably feel it is disgusting. But don’t give them what they want. Walk away and call the cops. You probably don’t want to be involved in someone’s fantasy. It is a crime. It needs to stop. Get the cops involved so the exhibitionist can be helped.”

Sponsored by The David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding, a group of ICS students put together a Sexual Violence Awareness Week in partnership with the Counseling Services and the Security Office from Feb. 11 to 15.
Taylor Rippy, a peace-building major and senior from California and also one of the hosts of the event, aimed to educated students and community members about sexual violence. Rippy said, “Students are unaware of the on-campus resources we have to help prevent sexual violence as well as help to heal survivors. From the Security Office's late-night shuttle to our talented and capable on-campus counselors, there are people that are ready and willing to help.”