Sexual assault survivors speak up in campaign video to end violence
Aware releases video of women talking about their sexual harassment experiences without pixellations or distorted voices
Ten sexual assault survivors, who faced sexual violence from rape to assault and harassment have spoken about their experiences in a video by local women's advocacy group Aware.
Executive Director Corinna Lim said: "No pixellations, no blurred images, distorted voices or animations. These brave women speak directly to the camera, so that other survivors can be brave as well."
The video is part of Aware's "Aim for Zero" campaign to end sexual violence in Singapore. It is on Aware's Facebook page.
In the video, Ms Lim shared for the first time her sexual harassment experience, which happened over 30 years ago.
She said that seeing the viral #MeToo campaign, and having other women also daring to speak up motivated her to share her story, and she hopes the video and campaign will do the same for others.
The New Paper spoke to some of the survivors at the campaign launch yesterday.
DANI, 29, LAWYER
Wanting to be known only by her first name, Dani said her first brush with sexual violence was as a 10 year old.
She said that she was at a shopping centre with her sister when a older boy followed them around and attempted to talk to her.
Dani said: "As we were getting into a cab, he pushed his hand into my shorts."
That was her first encounter with sexual violence.
Dani recounted a period where she was sexually harassed by a senior member of the law firm she had been working at.
When the harassment began, she was shocked and reported it the next day. She declined to go into details, but said that it had left her feeling guilty and sick.
She said: "I would cry myself to sleep and every day before going to work, I'd feel so sick. I had to share an office with him."
She said that throughout the year she was at the firm, the company gave her the impression that something was going to be done about the case, but nothing was done about it.
She said: "Even though I had written evidence and confirmation of what he had done to me, when he retracted his statement and claimed I was lying, they believed him."
She said that until recently, when she spoke to a therapist about her experience, she had never been able to talk about the incident in full. She still gets nightmares and flashbacks and till today, finds it difficult to trust people at work.
TEO DAWN, 24, COPYWRITER
She was just 17 and into her third year in a relationship.
Ms Teo said that she was raped by her then-boyfriend.
She said: "I kept saying no, but he did not listen. I felt powerless, I was supposed to know how to fight it, but when it happened, I was just waiting for it to be over."
She said that a few years after the incident, she confronted him and he told her: "I heard no, but I just didn't register it".
She said: "He told me he thought that by continuing the act, he could change my mind."
Ms Teo said she felt confusion, shame and guilt.
She said: "This was someone I trusted and had romantic feelings for, it made me question if it was my fault."
KAVERI LETHA, 22, COUNSELLOR
She was four years old in a village in India when she was assaulted by her 13-year-old cousin.
She said: "He would ask me to come over and let me play with his toys and sometimes, he would chain me to the bed and touch me inappropriately."
She said: "His mother was a tailor and had scraps of colourful cloth lying around. Now, when I go to a tailor or look at chains, I still feel afraid."
When she spoke to her mother about it, her mother revealed that she, too, had suffered sexual violence.
Ms Letha said: "Once you talk about these things, you give others the courage to speak up too."