A Singapore court’s decision to put a student who assaulted his ex-girlfriend behind bars for just 12 days sparked an outcry Tuesday, with campaigners condemning a series of light punishments for women’s attackers.
It was the latest case of a university student in the city-state targeting a woman and then being handed a punishment that critics viewed as inadequate.
During the vicious assault, Yin Zi Qin tried to strangle his ex-girlfriend until she blacked out at her home in May last year after failing to convince the 21-year-old to reconsider ending their relationship, according to court documents.
After pleading guilty to voluntarily causing hurt, the 23-year-old dentistry student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), was sentenced Friday to a “short detention order”, which will see him spend 12 days in prison but means he will not have a criminal record.
He was also handed 80 hours of community service, ordered to report regularly to authorities for five months, and undergo rehabilitation. He could have faced a maximum two years in jail.
The sentence sparked an outcry online, while women’s rights group AWARE said it “reflects, yet again, an imbalance between the worth accorded to female survivors and that accorded to male perpetrators”.
“The harm experienced by the former is frequently minimised, while the past record and future potential of the latter is amplified.”
The women’s wing of the city-state’s ruling party also issued a rare statement expressing dismay at the “disproportionate” sentence.
As anger mounted, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam announced the government would review how decisions are made on sentencing in such cases.
NUS said Yin had been suspended and would face disciplinary action over the case, which did not happen on campus.
There have been a series of controversies in recent times of students targeting women.
In the most high-profile, NUS student Monica Baey protested against what she perceived as the light punishment given to a male student who filmed her in a dormitory shower.
In another, a student was initially sentenced to probation for molesting a woman but was later jailed for two weeks after prosecutors appealed.
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