One thing most of us agree about Singapore is how safe it is, especially for women.
But is all the safety just a myth, and more because of the fear of getting caned and punished? Are there more closet perverts out there than we can imagine?
This Facebook post by Singapore fashion and lifestyle influencer, Andrea Chong, speaks volumes about the kind of messages and pictures that get circulated on WhatsApp chats and Facebook groups.
After reading her post, you might change your opinion about Singaporeans…
Sexual harassment in Singapore: Andrea Chong receives weird photo message
Recently, Andrea Chong got shocked when she received a lewd message. Except that she wasn’t the intended recipient, the sender had sent it to her by mistake!
Andrea writes on Facebook, “I want to talk about something that happened to me this evening…”
“Over the past week, my assistant Elsie and I have been in the midst of setting up our new office space. We engaged a mover, whom we came to like because we felt he was earnest and sincere…”
That evening while cleaning up the office with her best friend Daryl, Andrea received some text messages from the delivery guy.
It was meant to be sent to someone else, but had got accidentally delivered to Andrea instead!
The message consisted of a photo and some text underneath – and surprise, surprise, it was Andrea’s own photo!
If you thought there was no such thing as sexual harassment in Singapore, think again. PHOTO: FACEBOOK / ANDREA CHONG
As you can see, that’s Andrea’s picture with the caption -“No bra inside one.”
The sender soon realised his folly and sent a message, “Sorry, wrong sending.”
And as Andrea writes, after almost an hour, “He went into damage control mode, and came up with excuses…” saying that it was meant to be “brand” and not “bra” etc…
Needless to say, Andrea was shocked and felt disgusted, “When I saw the messages, I looked at my phone for a good 2 minutes in utter disbelief. Daryl, noticing me, asked what happened. When I showed him the messages, he was left speechless as well.”
She immediately cancelled her appointment with the movers, “We then proceeded to contact Elsie and my boyfriend Imran, and made the decision to immediately cancel the delivery appointment we had scheduled for tomorrow.”
Her experience revealed
The recent #MeToo online movement against sexual harassment turned out to be a rallying cry for women all over the world. It helped in breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment and sexism in a BIG way.
Are women safe from sexual harassment in Singapore? Or are such cases merely under-reported here for cultural or other reasons?
Andrea reveals some of her own bitter experiences, “It sucks when I was catcalled by a bunch of AV-Crew Guys while taking a photo outside the National Gallery (I was in turtleneck and overalls). It sucks, even more, when I tried to stand up for myself, confronted them, only to have them deny their catcalling.”
When she informed the AV company, she did not even get a reply.
And another time, “I got into a taxi after giving a career talk at the Girls Home – trying to motivate girls to do better and be better – only to have the driver tell me “So, what were you doing [at the Girls Home]? To talk about how bad you are?”
It seems like the more women try to grow, the more they get pulled down.
According to Andrea, it doesn’t matter if you are a successful entrepreneur, all some people think about is, “Whether or not you were wearing a bra underneath a dress. To which I will answer now, yes I was.”
Andrea stressed that on all the occasions when she was harassed, she was well-clothed and well-behaved. No, she wasn’t asking for it.
How have these incidents affected her and every other victim of sexual harassment?
Andrea writes, “I may not have been physically attacked, but psychologically I have been affected for life, all because some guys think that it is okay to catcall and talk about their client’s breasts, to which, has no relation to an armchair and a dresser they have to pick up the next day.”
“So stop catcalling, stop talking about other people’s breasts (I’m sure as hell not going around talking about penises), and stop encouraging your guy friends to talk that way.”
Unfortunately, this might end up as just another piece of juicy news, if more concrete steps aren’t taken.
As Jolene Tan, who heads advocacy and research at the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) suggests, we need to start in schools, where gender equality can be inculcated in the formative years.
She says, “Everybody here knows about racial and religious harmony, but do we have lessons that say it is important to treat everybody equally regardless of gender?”
Give it some thought.
How do you think we can help end sexual harassment in Singapore? Let us know in the comments below.
Also READ: Music students are at high risk of sexual abuse