Stiffer Punishment For Nicholas Lim Jun Kai

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**UPDATED EMAIL TO CHANGEMAKERS.

Dear [change maker],

This petition, which was started to demand stiffer punishment for Nicholas Lim, has grown to include demands for change in the archaic system of law put in place decades ago by the NUS administration.

However, the administrators of this petition have decided that the official appeal already submitted by a group of NUS alumni and students, Monica included, is sufficient to enact real change. This petition will continue to exist as a sign that many Singaporeans are sick of the current situation and want change- as evidenced by the thousands of signatures and hundreds of comments.

We all want change, but only you can make it happen.

Sincerely,

Those unhappy with this change are free to email these people directly.

Templates:

Contacts:

  • President, Prof Tan Eng Chye
    uprsec@nus.edu.sg
  • Senior Deputy President and Provost, Prof Ho Teck Hua
    pvohoth@nus.edu.sg
  • Acting Deputy President (Administration), Prof Yong Kwet Yew 
    uciyky@nus.edu.sg
  • Vice Provost (Student Life), Prof Florence Ling 
    pvoflyy@nus.edu.sg
  • Whistle Blowing
    whistleblow@nus.edu.sg
  • Campus Security 
    ocssec@nus.edu.sg
  • Office of Student Affairs 
    osalistens@nus.edu.sg
  • Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (Nicholas's faculty) 
    Prof Chua Kee Chiang: engdean@nus.edu.sg
  • Vice Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Prof David Chua (Student Life): engdavid@nus.edu.sg
  • Head of Chemical Engineering:
    Prof Liu Bin: chehead@nus.edu.sg

Monica Baey, 23, a third-year communications major, said she was taking a late-night shower in her hostel bathroom last November when she saw a mobile phone peeking from below the cubicle door.
Before she could react, the phone disappeared and she heard whoever it was filming her dash out of the bathroom at NUS’ Eusoff Hall.
The university suspended the male student for a semester, banned him from entering campus residences and made him send Baey an apology letter. (SCMP)

We need stiffer punishments for sexual offenders in university campuses. This incident is just one of many that have been swept under the rug over the past decades by NUS administration unwilling to admit that they are unable to tackle the scourge of men in their halls seeking sexual gratification and using their female schoolmates as a means to that end. 

If you are or have been a university student, chances are that you've heard similar incidents from a friend of a friend or even from a victim close to you. It is a public secret that multiple incidents like these go unreported every year. Asking for official statistics simply begs the question.

Many victims are either unwilling to push for penalties proportionate to the crime for fear of being in the limelight and suffering repercussions or do not have the reach in order to gain any significant traction in the media. This time it is different. Alternative local news outlets like the Observer+ and Mothership and international news outlets like the South China Morning Post have picked it up and the news is spreading feverishly on social media. An opportunity has presented itself. 

This opportunity should not be taken in order to exact vengeance on Nicholas Lim- the perpetrator in question- but should be taken in order to provide a different environment in our universities. My sister is in NUS. It could have been her. My girlfriend is in NUS. It could have been her. It could have been your sister, your girlfriend and maybe in the future, your daughter as well. 

Although further action by the government and the police can no longer been taken (since the sentence has been meted out), the National University of Singapore still has the power to renege on its decision.

NUS gave Nicholas a one semester suspension (basically a Leave of Absence, which many students take to work full-time, to travel or for medical reasons) and required him to write an apology letter.

For me, the last time I considered an apology letter an actual punishment was in primary school. What then is an appropriate punishment? The stiffest punishment NUS has to offer- expulsion. Do not, however, sign this petition with a personal grudge. Do not sign it to make Nicholas suffer or to ruin his future. Sign it to make our campuses a place where one half of the university population can walk where they will without fear. Sign it so that the outraging of every daughter's modesty is taken seriously, by the government and by the campus' administrations. 

Sign this petition to for the expulsion of Nicholas Lim from the National University of Singapore. 

Responses to common objections:
1. (From Monica's instagram) The perpetrator has already been punished but we are still trying to take justice in our own hands. We are doing this for vengeance and attention. 

"Monica did everything right in giving due process the best chance it had ( helped a lot by the fact that once again, this case was BLACK AND WHITE) and the uproar now is because due process produced virtually nothing. The harshest aspect of the ruling was his semester long suspension, during which he has apparently already gotten a job lined up." -@claireodaktyl

This is not an act of vengeance. This is simply an attempt to set a precedent. So that future crimes like this will not be treated with appropriate severity. If successful, Nicholas will just be the first. 

2. Nicholas was drunk and not in control of his actions when he committed his crime. The leniency of his punishment is therefore justified.

As pointed out by @addie_ble, someone who was intoxicated would not have searched out cubicles for someone to take a video of. As always, alcohol is used as a convenient excuse for crimes of a sexual nature. 

3. If the incident really affected Monica, she would keep it to herself instead of going public. Therefore, the effect of what Nicholas did was minimal at worst.

Despite the incident affecting Monica, she took a stand and stood up. She stood up for those who were unwilling to be in the spotlight and to answer a flood of questions. She stood up for those who were unwilling to relive their trauma. She stood up for those who did not have the voice or the reach to get the news out and effect change. 

If all victims who were affected by the crime were traumatised to the point of inaction, no change would ever take place. 

4. Don't be calling out a single sexual predator when you should be calling out your friends too. Don't be a hypocrite.

This has been the most clear cut issue in a while. Monica has shared most of the details of the case. There is no doubt about whether the crime was actually committed (CCTV footage, the video on Nicholas' phone and a written apology signed by the perpetrator). Where grey area sexual harrassment/ assault, is difficult to speak up against, this is not a grey area incident. There is no reason not to speak up.

Other cases of sexual harassment and assault have a tendency to die down after an initial outpouring of support. I do not pretend to believe that this case is any different. This is why I hope that everyone who signs this petition can also share it to social media and get the word out as fast as possible so we can make the most out of the initial momentum.

Edit 1: Added two cases where peeping Toms were given jail times 
(retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/singapore/comments/beyk52/singapore_student_monica_baey_wants_firm_action/ by Reddit User xolpxolpxolp) 

1. Peeping Tom gets 2 weeks' jail and fine (Feb 23, 2018)

Zheng Zhang De, 36, was sentenced to 2 weeks' jail and fine after peeping over a cubicle in the women's bathroom. It was stated that Zheng was partying at St James Power Station and therefore, most likely drunk. 

This incident: Culprit intoxicated, video of victim completely naked taken, happened in a university hostel.

Zheng's incident: Culprit intoxicated, culprit peeped over cubicle (woman probably minimally unclothed), happened in a public nightspot.

2. Peeping Tom gets 4 weeks' jail for criminal trespass and insulting woman's modesty (Jan 5, 2018)

While a cabin crew member was relieving herself at Orchard Towers, Mathivanan Manikandan, 24, an Indian national, looked at her from under the cubicle divider while lying in the next cubicle. On Friday (Jan 5), the construction worker was sentenced to two weeks' jail for criminal trespass and four weeks' jail for insulting a woman's modesty. Both sentences will run concurrently. 

He also said he was drunk at the time.

This incident: Culprit intoxicated, video of victim completely naked taken, happened in a university hostel.

Manikandan's incident: Culprit intoxicated, culprit peeped under cubicle (woman probably minimally unclothed), happened in a public shopping center known for being dodgy*.

Whilst there is no intention to diminish the severity of the latter crimes, one can easily see the disparity between the handling of both cases. Despite the former being a much more intrusive and trauma-inducing act (being robbed in the streets vs having your house being broken into and robbed in your safe haven), the culprit got away with a much lesser punishment. Granted, precedence does show that Chinese university students/ junior college students/ NSFs tend to get away with much more than the rest of the population, but this has got to change. A victory here is a victory against abuses of such privilege.

The "ruin his future" narrative has run its course. No one hears this phrase when a less educated person is caught. No one bats an eye at the future of a foreign construction worker. Personally, I do not even believe in the possibility of an egalitarian society and recognize that the majority or the group with most political/economic power will always have privileges not available to the rest. However, these kinds of blatantly unjust rulings have been going on for far too long- justice has been made a mockery of. The only reason why Nicholas "has a future" to be ruined and why Manikandan "doesn't" is their place of birth. Once again, the rich, the privileged and the powerful get away scot-free whilst the already poor, already oppressed, unaccounted-for minorities get the full brunt of the law. Should not university students/ junior college students/NSFs, who have received the benefits of a full education and who are fully aware of right and wrong receive at least receive equal punishment with a foreigner who might have grown up in a less economically privileged place and not being afforded the privileges of proper moral education?

*https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2152691/sex-spas-sleaze-what-orchard-road-singapore-hides-plain-sight

Cases involving university students/ junior college students/ NSFs:

1. NSF fined $1500 for peeping in a female restroom. He admitted that he "did this so frequently that he could not recall how often he had entered the female toilets"

https://www.todayonline.com/…/peeping-tom-fined-s1500-voyeu

2. NSF given a chance in 2014. Committed more offences in 2016 with multiple victims involved including filming of victims in changing rooms. Finally sentenced to jail in 2017.

https://www.straitstimes.com/…/man-jailed-for-12-weeks-for

3. NUS student given conditional warning in 2017. Molested woman few months later. Finally sentenced to jail in 2018.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/…/nus-student-molested-clas

4. SIM student given stern warning in 2005. Spared a jail sentence in 2013. Reoffended barely a month later. Finally sentenced to jail in 2015.

https://www.straitstimes.com/…/212-months-jail-for-serial-p

Edit 2: NUS Students United (unclear if this group is linked to the official NUSSU has uploaded three files on Google Drive detailing Board of Discipline (BOD) cases for AY15/16, AY16/17 and AY17/18

The link can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ED6Te_db3_sCUXAWgq_TXlNYgsvDkWo0?fbclid=IwAR2Ihf5kkj-0Ze_Ww-_NKHLNt0dEwVBcwNcFme_zzG_dvycyXiMcUw2N9K8

The following observations were made:

1. In all prior cases similar to this, the students were given similar punishments- one or two semester suspension from school, community service, letter of apology etc. In the Facebook post containing the above link, a Facebook user commented that

"To say that NUS has been derelict in its duty is unfair in my opinion. Moreover, the punishment meted out appears to be consistent with past student offences."

 Whilst precedence is the order of the day, there is no reason why NUS should set a new precedence from this case on. NUS stated that they would convene a committee and relook their disciplinary frameworks. This only means that, in the best case, another innocent woman in our institutions would have to be outraged before the new order comes into play. We can only pray that it isn't someone we know or are related to.

2. The offence of filming someone showering somehow differs according to the victim's gender. Two categories seem to exist for such BOD cases- Assault and/or Harassment and Insult/ Outrage of Modesty. The crime of filming male students showering falls under the category of Assault and/or Harassment, whilst the same crime with a female victim falls under Insult/ Outrage of Modesty. This strongly implies that it is somehow impossible for a man's modesty to be insulted or outraged and any sexual crime towards men would only be considered as assault and/or harassment.

With the proposed Penal Code change in 2019 which would consider men victims as rape and peeping Toms, we can only hope that NUS follows suit. It is already disappointing that our country's symbol of education par excellence was not more progressive to begin with. 

Therefore, an additional call to action that this petition supports would be the treatment of ALL sexual harassment/assault cases as EQUAL and that all sexual crimes involving male victims would also fall under the category of Insult/ Outrage of Modesty. 

Edit 3: A letter to naysayers

Dear naysayer, 

We understand you concerns. We understand that you see this as a senseless cry for blood and a needless petitioning. However please understand the following:

Understand that it is naive to think that an online petition would have any sway over government bodies. Those who happen to love the same sex have been petitioning for years to be recognised by the state, and no ground has been gained. When you haggle with thieves, bid really low. By pushing for a measure deemed by you as "extreme", we were able to get slow and powerful bodies to take notice and make rapid change. 

Understand that this is an opportunity that doesn't come often. It is exceedingly rare to have a victim this outspoken in a case that is this clear-cut. Look at the big picture. We have attempted to use this case in support of a much bigger cause. We have shaken accepted norms and things taken for granted. 

Understand that not every victim heals quickly. Not every victim heals. I have loved ones who have been sexually traumatised and have not yet recovered, decades later. To give a second chance is to risk another victim, a victim that might be scarred for life.

Understand that expulsion is not, in fact, as severe as you think. The downtrodden and disenfranchised get by without a university degree. In addition, they get NO second chances in these kinds of incidents. Why should someone who just happened to be born in a good family get a second chance?

I realise that your myopic worldview might just be a result of your circumstance. I urge you, however, that if you are still dissatisfied, not lending your voice is enough. Don't work against the change that your children will benefit from.