HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The victim of a violent sex assault in November has come forward to talk about the night she was nearly killed ― and to encourage other victims to break their silence.
A warning to readers: The details of her attack are gruesome and disturbing.
For her privacy, Hawaii News Now is not naming her.
The 41-year-old mother of two teen boys says she’s still suffering both physical and emotional trauma two months after the assault. Authorities are pursuing attempted murder and other charges against suspect Michael Hirokawa.
New court documents also reveal what Hirokawa told police when he was arrested, found lying in a bloody bed.
The victim spoke with HNN through a translator, and said she met Hirokawa through a mutual friend over dinner.
[Previous coverage: House arrest ordered for Honolulu man accused in violent sex assault]
She says her first impression of Hirokawa was that he was a nice young man.
As the night progressed, the victim said Hirokawa was drinking and appeared intoxicated, which is why she offered to drive him home.
She says he invited her inside his Capitol Place apartment, and started talking about long-term plans for her and her two sons to move in.
Shortly after, Hirokawa allegedly began sexually attacking her.
“After he came back from the bathroom, he dragged me inside the bedroom,” she said, through the translator. “I told him no but he pressured me into going inside the bedroom with his strength.”
She says that’s when Hirokawa began roughly touching her private areas.
“It was painful, so I started scratching his back with my fingernails,” she said.
He got more violent as the assault dragged on, she said.
“I tried to get away many times, but he was too strong and he pinned me back on the bed and pressed my pressure point and started strangling me,” she said.
As he kicked her and punched her, her cries for help went unanswered.
“I told him to stop. I told him to save me, in Korean, in Japanese and English. I screamed and begged,” she said. “It got to the point where it was too painful, so I started looking for a place to hide.
“I hid in between the wall and the bed and he started stepping on me.”
To her, the attack was sudden and unprovoked.
Hirokawa is accused of severely beating her until he eventually fell asleep.
Beaten and bloodied, she was near death as she crawled down the hallway with the little strength she had left. Doctors later said her internal injuries and blood loss would have killed her if she hadn’t fled.
One thought gave her the will to survive: “I started thinking about my sons and how I have to survive in order to be with them. And that’s how I got to the elevator,” she said.
A motion filed by prosecutors says when police officers arrived, they found Hirokawa sleeping in the bloody bedroom. He acted confused and unaware of why he was covered in blood, asking officers what day it was and that he didn’t remember a thing.
Documents also say that he told police he didn’t remember being with anyone all night, and that he had nothing to drink.
Since the attack, the woman has undergone several surgeries and is living with lasting injuries.
“I started blaming myself for what happened. I’ve been having nightmares and I am not able to sleep,” she said. “It could have happened to anyone else, if not me.”
Calls to Hirokawa’s attorney for comment went unanswered. Hirokawa, who is under house arrest, has pleaded not guilty.
The victim says she’s worried other victims of sexual assault are intimidated into silence. She hopes sharing her story will encourage other victims to seek help.
“Although it is hard on me emotionally, it is also hard on me as a human, and as a woman that I have to live with the handicaps that I have due to this situation,” she said.