Preventing sexual assault in Singapore

“I was raped at a party.”

In the summer of 2014, a 17 year old girl from Germany was sexually assaulted at a party in Singapore. Like us, she went to an international school, participated in school sports, clubs and was a fantastic student. This is her story.

“Several months ago some friends and I went to a party hosted by some kids we vaguely knew from another school. Around two hours later every single person was thoroughly intoxicated with alcohol and nicotine. People began coupling up and hooking up. It was pretty standard for large parties and I was usually an active participant in the midnight flings, but that particular Saturday evening I wasn’t really in the mood to hook up with someone I’d met for the first time.

Anyway, I was stumbling around, searching for the bathroom when I slammed into this one Asian guy. I don’t really remember anything distinctive about him…not his name, nor his face, just that he was dark toned and Asian. He saw I was pretty drunk and so he took me by my hand and led me to a quieter corner and started talking to me. He seemed like a decent guy and even got me a glass of water. He seemed sweet and then asked if I needed to take a nap. My head was feeling fuzzy, so I said I did and followed him into a room in the back of the house. I crawled into the bed, expecting him to turn the light off and leave. But then he got into the bed with me and put his hand on my hip. I told him I wasn’t interested in doing anything, and that I really just wanted to sleep. He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll do all the work.’”

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At times, Singapore almost seems like a utopia. Everything is convenient and easy. Cabs are cheap and accessible and the MRTs are safe and clean. It’s true that Singapore is generally a secure environment, but it is not a utopia. While it can boast one of the lowest crime rates in the world, crime still exists in the Lion City.

According to Singapore Police statistics released on the Straits Times, there have been 91 reported rape cases this year alone, a 49.2 percent increase from last year’s 61 and 40 out of these 91 cases were with minors under the age of 14. According to RAINN While these numbers may seem small, 60 percent of rapes are not reported and 96 percent of rapists won’t see a single day in jail.

 Rape can happen to anyone, boy or girl, regardless of race or social stature.

The Sexual Assault Care Center of Singapore has a mission to provide support, care and help for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“I want to live in a society where we teach men not to rape, rather than in a society where we teach women how not to get raped,” said Sumedha Jolate, a spokesperson for the SACC, the Sexual Assault Care Center in Singapore.

The SACC was created in early 2014 as a sub branch of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE),  a support group in Singapore that deals with women’s rights and issues.

e8388d8ed4df7d29d5599edc9cdb14bbThe SACC was created to help and support women and girls who have been sexually assaulted. The center provides “befrienders” for the women to help guide and counsel them through any legal processes that may be needed. Their website contains important information for any sexual assault victims, including how to file a police order or where to obtain Plan B or the Morning After Pill.

They also provide tips on staying safe and preventing sexual assault.

  1. Never walk with two earphones in on the street at night; attackers look for the easiest victim, so be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
  2. Don’t tie your hair into a ponytail at night since it makes it easier for an attacker to grab you.
  3. Understand that it is not your fault, regardless of circumstances.
  4. Scope out your surroundings. When you enter a new and unfamiliar situation, look around to see where are the safest areas are to walk.
  5. Never leave your drink unattended.
  6. There is safety in numbers, so stick with your friends and travel in packs, especially when in situations that involve alcohol.
  7. Carry a defensive weapon, such as pepper spray. 

In the event that you are attacked:

  1. First and foremost scream for help. The more noise you make, the more unwanted attention you bring to the attacker.
  2. Leave identifying marks.

Helping others:

  1. Don’t be afraid to step in and intervene when you think someone is taking advantage or abusing another.
  2. Don’t leave your friends at a party, especially if they are intoxicated.
  3. Use the buddy system: check in that everyone got home okay with a simple text.

If you have been sexually assaulted or know of someone who has been, call the SACC.

The contact information of the Sexual Assault Care Center. Taken from the Aware website.
The contact information of the Sexual Assault Care Center. SACC

Author: Mallari Batlaw

Mallari Batlaw is a senior and a new member of The Eye staff this year. She is the co-editor of the Arts and Entertainment section of the Eye. Although she has been at SAS for eight years, this is her first year on The Eye. She usually spends her time between eating, rock climbing, doing Insanity and stressing out about the college application process. She can be contacted at batlaw33374@sas.edu.sg.

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