The police had to step in and ask a group of men to stop taking photographs of young girls at Siloso Beach, Sentosa, during the Chinese New Year holidays. What was supposed to be a great day turned out to be an unpleasant outing for a group of girls.
The girls, aged 16–17 and wearing swimsuits, were tanning on the beach when all of a sudden, a large group of men gathered beside them and started taking photos of them with their camera phones.
Although the girls verbally warned the group to stop taking their photos, the men ignored them. They continued with their voyeuristic-like pursuit.
In came a lifeguard who recognised the act as a form of sexual harassment and warned the group that he would call the police if they did not stop taking their photos. His words, however, fell on deaf ears and the men continued to use their camera phones.
The lifeguard called the police.
Four police officers arrived. They ordered the group to maintain a distance from the girls and stop taking their pictures. The Independent Singapore understands that the police officers took the men’s mobile phones and deleted the girls’ photos.
The question is: Why didn’t the police arrest the men? After all, what they did was sexual harassment.
One of the girls’ parent, Madam Dawn Karen Tan, was appalled by the incident and she took to Facebook to air her discontent. Writing on her personal Facebook page, Madam Tan said that she was “deeply shocked over the incident”.
“[Singapore] is a free country but the harassment scares me. And acting as a pack to bully vulnerable teenagers is, in a word, disgraceful. At the same time, this issue brings to mind the issue of creating and or increasing or improving the places of rest where workers can go on their day off. They’re entitled to it. But not at the expense of embarrassing 16 and 17 year-old girls clad in swimsuits who feel threatened.”
This incident highlights issues on sexual harassment in safe and sound Singapore.
Eve-teasing sounds playful but it is not. In fact, it is sexual harassment and generally men do not think about what they are doing at that point in time is wrong, immoral and or derogatory.
When asked by The Independent Singapore for a comment, women’s rights association Aware was unable to do at posting time.
Singapore is supposed to be safe for all, including teenage girls out on their own by the beach.