Sexual harassment is no joke. What we once thought was a handful of incidents at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has now exploded into more cases than we can count with our fingers and toes.
From trespassers to questionable orientation games and downright abominable Telegram group chats, it seems like this issue was just a buried time bomb waiting to resurface and explode. And explode it did with the public uproar over Monica Baey’s case.
But more can and should be done.
What’s The Big Deal?
On online dating platforms, it seems as if people think sending unsolicited genital pics will somehow boost their attractiveness.
It’s really no wonder you couldn’t find anyone to date you.
Sadly, for many Singaporeans, they have come to accept it as the norm on such platforms.
But for 4 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students, they’re ready to educate others on why this should be absolutely unacceptable.
Members are 24-year-old Hemant Mathy, 24-year-old Marisa Agnes Lee, 23-year-old G Nanthinee Shree and 22-year-old Nur Afrina Mohd Zulkifli.
Titled “What’s The Big Deal”, their campaign tackles the normalisation of sexual harassment on dating apps.
According to TODAYonline, the group came up with the idea for their campaign after they realised that many of their friends receiving unsolicited photos or sexualised comments on dating apps, which were acts of sexual harassment.
Their campaign, which began in January, involved the team conducting interviews with users of dating apps. Shockingly, the results show that many considered sexual harassment a “rite of passage” on the apps.
In attempting to correct such mindsets, the four have set up an Instagram page, wtbd.sg, with posts to educate the community about identifying sexual harassment on dating apps and avenues where they can seek help.
They have also partnered up with Singapore Management University’s (SMU) [email protected], a unit that supports SMU students in confronting violence or harassment, to raise awareness about the issue.
Another group, safeNUS, also aims to educate and provide resources for NUS students in hopes that the university will be a safe space for students from all orientations.
Dating Apps Response
TODAYonline reports that Bumble, a popular dating app, does not categorise its reports according to the type of inappropriate behaviour and could not provide specific figures for sexual harassment.
However, the platform did note that as the app gained more users, the number of reports of harassment has increased proportionally. The rate of reports has not increased.
Repeat offenders and users with serious violations will be banned from the app, but the majority of users resolve their reports on Bumble by blocking the harassers.
As for Tinder, they have a customer care team that deals with complaints of bad behaviour as well as technology that screens for offensive messages and prompts recipients to report such behaviour.
What Can Users Do?
While several dating app users have voiced that an online community can be formed where users disseminate information and warn others about their harassers, this could potentially lead to illegal activity.
Criminal lawyer Shashi Nathan pointed out that doing so could devolve into doxxing, which is illegal in Singapore.
He advised victims to file a police report so that the matter could be investigated.
In Singapore, those who send unsolicited images to others can receive a jail term of up to a year or a fine, or both.
If you would like to seek help, you can call the police at 999, or contact AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre at 6779 0282 or email them at [email protected]
Their drop-in centre is also open for consultations (appointment only) from Monday to Friday, from 10:00am to 6:00pm. AWARE’s centre provides counselling and legal information sessions, which you can check out on their website.
Featured Image: Instagram (wtbd.sg)