A female undergraduate from Singapore’s National University of Singapore (NUS) made headlines last week after she posted about a peeping Tom incident at her campus hostel.
The victim, third-year communications major student Monica Baey, recalled an incident in November when she noticed a mobile phone peeking from below the cubicle door while taking a late-night shower in her bathroom.
She then saw the phone disappeared and heard someone dashing out of the bathroom at NUS’ Eusoff Hall soon after.
Baey detailed the incident in a series of Instagram stories that had been viewed thousands of times.
According to the 23-year-old student, she made a police report soon after and noted that the university had already submitted CCTV recordings that showed a man entering the toilet that night to authorities. The video of Baey showering was eventually found on the man’s phone.
The police investigation concluded with the accused getting a 12-month conditional warning, which is something usually given to first-time offenders.
Such a “punishment” meant that if he ended up committing another crime, he would then be charged for the earlier offense and the subsequent one.
Meanwhile, the male student got suspended for a semester and had been banned from entering campus residences. The university also made him send Baey an apology letter.
Baey, who found the sanctions to be quite insufficient, has since been clamoring for a significant change in how such violations against women are handled by local authorities.
“The point of [my post] is I want some real change in NUS … I want real consequences for perpetrators that commit such acts,” she wrote.
In an interview with South China Morning Post, Baey revealed that the man also texted her saying he was “thoroughly sorry” while claiming that he was under “alcoholic influence” at the time.
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Baey, however, found the apology insufficient since “he got away scot-free, with just a slap on the wrist.”
“What I want is for NUS to address the number of these incidents that have occurred, negotiate a fair set of sanctions where the perpetrator is actually reprimanded, through expulsion, community service, re-education,” Baey was quoted as saying.
“I don’t think I am in a place to demand that all perpetrators to get expelled from the school and that is not my goal either. But I would want to see NUS provide a set of visible consequences for anyone who commits any sexual misappropriation acts again,” she added.
Mary Baey, the victim’s mother, also slammed the conditional warning and said that is “completely unacceptable.”
The incident also sparked public outrage, with many netizens criticizing the university board on their Facebook page for the way they handled Baey’s case.
One of the two online petitions demanding “stiffer punishment” for the accused had garnered more than 33,000 signatures.
On Tuesday, the president of the National University of Singapore (NUS) apologized to the school’s alumni for how the case was handled.
“We are sorry that she had to surface her concerns on social media for the University to take notice,” NUS president Tan Eng Chye said in his letter.
“We fell short in providing her support from the start, and we apologize. We hope to set things right.”
Featured image via Instagram/monicabaey