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Raeesah Khan apologises for lying in Parliament about rape victim’s story, is referred to parliament privileges committee

“I should not have shared the survivor’s story without her consent, nor should I have said that I accompanied her to the police station when I had not. It was wrong of me to have done so.” — Raeesah Khan

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Singapore — In Parliament on Monday (Nov 1), Workers Party Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan (Sengkang GRC) admitted that she lied in an Aug 3 speech about a rape victim to whom the police allegedly made inappropriate remarks about her clothing and the fact that she had been drinking.

Ms Khan apologised to the Police, the survivor, Members of Parliament, the Workers’ Party, her constituents and her family.

She said that she herself had been a victim of sexual abuse when she was studying overseas at the age of 18 and that she had heard the victim’s story in a group of sexual abuse survivors.

“Unlike the survivor whose anecdote I shared in this house, I did not have the courage to report my own assault. Yet as a survivor I wanted so deeply to speak up and also share the account I had heard when speaking on the motion, without revealing my own private experience.

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I did not share that I was a part of the group, as I did not have the courage to publicly admit that I was part of it. I attended the support group because I myself am a survivor of sexual assault,” said Ms Khan. 

“The fear and shame accompanying sexual assault are extreme and long-lasting.”

She had not, in fact, accompanied the victim to the police station, contrary to what she had said in her speech.

“I should not have shared the survivor’s story without her consent, nor should I have said that I accompanied her to the police station when I had not. It was wrong of me to have done so.”

After Ms Khan’s apology, she was asked by Leader of the House Indranee Rajah to clarify some details. The House Leader underlined that Ms Khan had lied three times in Parliament in her Aug 3 speech.

Ms Rajah then asked for the matter to be referred to the Committee of Privileges, to which Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament, agreed.

The House Leader added that what happened “does a great disservice to the survivors of sexual assault and rape victims… because it’s hard enough for such women who are victims to tell their stories, and they have great difficulty in getting people to believe them sometimes.”

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Therefore, when their stories are based on a lie or the inability or unwillingness to substantiate it, it makes it that much more difficult for these women to come forward, Ms Rajah added.

“It’s like ink in water, it spreads throughout and casts doubt and suspicion” making it “that much harder for women to be believed. It undermines what we are trying to do, especially this year when we are trying to advance women’s development.”

She expressed the hope that Ms Khan will be able to heal from the traumatic experience in her past, but reminded her of her duties as a Member of Parliament—in not breaching nor abusing Parliamentary privilege.

And while she has sympathy for Ms Khan, the House Leader said that she has “no choice” but to raise a complaint about the breach of privilege based on Ms Khan’s disclosure that she lied in Parliament thrice, as well as her inability to substantiate an allegation she had made. /TISG

Read also: K Shanmugam presses Raeesah Khan for details on her allegations of police mishandling sexual assault case, latter declines four times

K Shanmugam presses Raeesah Khan for details on her allegations of police mishandling sexual assault case, latter declines four times

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