Monica Baey, the NUS student and central figure in the recent sexual misconduct case that began a national conversation, is back in Taiwan for her student exchange programme and appears to have found some degree of ‘closure.’
She took to Instagram on Wednesday, May 1, and in a lengthy post entitled “Closure,” wrote that while this time has been “incredibly tiring,” it has also been the “most fulfilling” one in her life.
Ms Baey wrote, exultantly, “NUS has reached out to me to acknowledge that the current disciplinary system dealing with sexual misconduct cases in the university is inadequate, organised a town hall to hear the concerns of the student body (although there is so, so much room for improvement) and are now in the midst of forming a review committee with female and student representation to make changes to the existing system. I can’t believe it. Change has finally come.”
Ms Baey sought to clarify a number of points in her post.
She expressed hopes that her perpetrator, Nicholas Lim, will receive the help that he needs to get and that he and his family will no longer be targeted on social media. She also said that if the Review Committee set up by NUS find a “JUSTIFIABLE reason” to reopen the case, she has nothing to do with this.
“I am not part of this decision, and I have not pressured them to do so just because my case was blown up on social media.”
She also used her post to talk about the serious effects the incident left on her.
“Let me share with all of you what I have been going through, what I have reserved talking about this entire time:
The paranoia never goes away. This nagging feeling at the back of your mind, telling you that you are never safe, that even in the comforts of your own home there might be a small chance a man is standing by the window, or that a pinhole camera has been installed somewhere …
I get so frustrated that I break down in the shower sometimes because I’m so tired of worrying. I wasn’t even touched by him yet I feel like my entire body has even violated.”
Ms Baey also said that she has many unanswerable questions inside.
“Why did you do it?… Why is it suddenly my job to not be the selfish one, and think about your future, when you didn’t spare a thought for me or the other potential victim that could have been in any of the toilets you went searching in that night? Why is it my job to protect you from the cold hard truth—that what you did has probably scarred me forever?”
And yet, she emphasizes again that what she wants is for her perpetrator to get better. “I want my perpetrator to never hurt another person the way he hurt me. I want him to get better. I want him to realize that what he did was wrong… and realize how badly you can mess a person up just by filming them without their consent through rehabilitation and education.”
She also wants to prevent other would-be voyeurs from committing the same offenses “because they are educated on what kind of lifelong trauma and harm they are about to cause to the person they are doing it to.”
Ms Baey writes that while she realises that change has begun, there is still a long way to go, given the incidents of voyeurism which are coming to light now.
“I hope that Singapore has reflected on what has happened, why this blew up as big as it did, and learn to not avoid issues but rather face the hard reality—sexual misconduct and assault is much more prevalent than it appears to be.”
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