A George Washington University student who admitted fabricating a story about a campus rape wrote a letter of apology to the university yesterday, saying her intention was "to help people."
Mariam Kashani, 19, in a letter addressed to the dean of students, said she acted without malice when she described a violent rape to a student newspaper reporter.
"My goal from the beginning was to try to call attention to what I perceived to be a serious safety concern for women," Kashani said in the letter. "From the bottom of my heart, I deeply regret all that has occurred."
Kashani said in the letter that the victim of a rape that occurred not on campus but "elsewhere in the city" had discussed the case with her. She said she described that rape to the student reporter, but changed the incident's location. She gave no further details of the incident in her letter, and none of the details could be verified last night.
The student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, ran a story last Thursday about the purported rape on campus of a female student by two men on Halloween night. The story was based on interviews with Kashani, who told reporters and editors that she was a rape counselor who had talked to the victim.
The story said that a 19-year-old student was raped repeatedly at knifepoint by two assailants, who were described as "muscular, young black males . . . wearing dirty, torn clothing" and having "bad body odor."
The GW Hatchet's editors learned last Friday that the story was faked.
The fabrication was the topic of much discussion on campus over the weekend. Many students criticized the newspaper for not thoroughly checking the story and Kashani for using racial stereotypes.