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AWARE calls out man who donated to it after molesting woman on a train

Aware: Donations should not be mitigating factor in sexual assault cases

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Singapore — After molesting a woman on the train, a man made a donation to AWARE, which was recognised by the judge in court, who noted his clean record and plea of guilt.

In response, the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) made a statement on Wednesday (Feb 10) criticising the donation, saying that it “should not be viewed as a ‘get out of jail free’ card (or in this case, a ‘reduction of jail term’ card)”.

The man, Shen Ruifu, 54, was jailed 18 days on Tuesday (Feb 9) for molesting a woman on a train.

The incident took place on a train from Ang Mo Kio at about 7.40am on Dec 12, 2018. The victim was using her phone on the train. Shen stood on the victim’s right and faced a different direction, a Channel NewsAsia (CNA) article reported. About five minutes after she boarded the train, the victim felt something scratching her inner thigh.

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She looked down and saw Shen’s hand touching her inner thigh over her skirt with a scratching motion. She grabbed his hand and shouted for help. They alighted at the next train station, with a male commuter following them to help the victim.

They handed Shen over to an SMRT employee, and Shen was subsequently arrested.

AWARE said in a statement: “Shen’s donation has been used as a mitigating factor in his sentencing, but token payments of this nature shouldn’t be permitted to be suggestive of remorse unless specifically requested by the survivor”.

AWARE added that, after understanding the circumstances surrounding Shen’s donation, they would be happy to return the amount to him if he wished.

The non-profit organisation said: “We recommend that the courts do not accept donations as a mitigating factor in future sexual assault cases”.

“Shen’s professional achievements are not relevant and should not be considered in cases where harm has been caused to another person,” AWARE said. /TISG

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