In the wake of the almost-weekly reports of voyeurism and other sexual harassment happening all over Singapore’s colleges and universities, new policies have been formulated to combat and address the incidents. After the fiasco over Monica Baey calling out pervert due his peeping at her while in the National University of Singapore, stricter and more explicit guidelines on how to deal with offenders who were caught in the act are put in place.
If these rules were in place when the string of voyeurs struck in NUS, none of the offenders would still be in school.
What are the new rules?
According to a report by Channel News Asia, twelve of the offenders found guilty in both school and police investigations would have been expelled if the newer rules had been in place. A review committee was convened last April 2019 to revamp the school guidelines and rules on addressing on-campus sexual harassment in the wake of social media outrage over the sanctions handed out to the peeping toms and other harassers.
The new rules, according to the same report, prohibit the following explicitly:
- Attempting an unwelcome kiss on a date
- Planting an unwanted kiss on the cheeks of a person
- Stroking another person’s face without consent
- Giving an unwanted massage on the arms of a person
- Briefly holding the waist or shoulder of a person without consent
- Using expletives such as “slut” or “whore”
- Staring inappropriately at the breasts of a person
- Stealing undergarments
The rules said that the behaviours listed above can be immediately considered a major or serious offense and can handled by the Provost. Some cases that are singular in nature may be handled by the head of the unit involved and not need the Board of Discipline.
What prompted such strict measures
The recent uproar caused by how Monica Baey, an NUS student, on social media over how her sexual harassment case was handled by both the police and the school put the university in the spotlight. After the offender, Nicholas Lim, had been caught and had confessed to filming the former while she was showering in the university hostel, he only received a 12-month suspension and a warning from the police that would not have reflected on his permanent record.
Incensed at what she saw as a gross injustice, Monica took to social media to express her feelings, which forced the university to convene its Board of Discipline along with other officials to formulate a new set of guidelines in handling cases such as Monica’s.
There have been 25 cases ever brought to the university, and a review by the committee showed that twelve of the offenders would have been expelled outright if these new rules were in place.
The report said that in the old system, victims had little recourse but to accept the decision of the school, while the offender would be the only one able to appeal any decision made. Representatives from the school hope that the stricter rules would serve as a deterrent for anyone who would attempt to harass a student or faculty member.
Do you think that these rules are enough to stop sexual harassment on campus? Let us know in the comments!