‘Justice for Makena’: Student who filed a sexual assault complaint against Univ of. Iowa fraternity members wants her name known

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A small group of family and friends gathered in front of the Johnson County Courthouse Thursday holding signs with the name Makena.

Makena’s family said she wanted her name to be known after she filed a sexual assault complaint over a year ago. The complaint said she was sexually assaulted by two people while at a party at the FIJI house. A search warrant filed 13 days after receiving the report confirmed that a cell phone contained a photograph matching the descriptions of the sexual assault.

“She is proud of what she’s doing,” said Ben Solberg, Makena’s father. “She has other people reaching out to her that have been in a similar situation.”

Typically, KCRG would not name people who might be victims of sexual offenses, but this situation was different. She wanted her name to be known as a way to reclaim the power she felt she lost that night at the Fiji house.

“It wasn’t something to be ashamed of,” said Ben. “She didn’t do anything wrong.”

Makena said she didn’t know she was assaulted until she woke up the next morning with bruises on her arms and legs. She couldn’t meet to go on camera because she was recovering from COVID-19. She wants her name to be known so others feel empowered to come forward.

“Whether the girl was ashamed to come forward, or they think they did something wrong, they might even be scared to come forward,” he said. “We went to the university a year ago and reported it, and nothing has happened until now.

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