Women suggests that sexual assault victims should be trusted even if no evidence forthcoming

Aug 13, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Should the words of a sexual assault victim be given the benefit of the doubt when filing a police report?

Twitter netizen Syafiqah (@multichromatix) expressed her frustration last week (Aug 4) at how police officers need better training when dealing with alleged sexual assault victims.

Syafiqah went further to imply that there were numerous cases where vicitms had to repeatedly prove themselves, and in some cases, were "dismissed or faulted for the violence" by the authorities.

Background

Syafiqah's tweet was in response the backlash surrounding Workers' Party MP Raeesah Khan gender equality speech in parliament early this month (Aug 3).

Raeesah said that she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape survivor three years ago to make a police report.

However, the victim emerged from the police station crying as a police officer "had allegedly made comments about her dressing and the fact that she had been drinking."

She added, "These anecdotes are not isolated. And perhaps this can start discussions on how victims or survivors are treated after they make reports and this may not be when they just make reports to the police, but it can also be how they make reports to other institutions."

Instances where supposed sexual assault cases were filed on false claims

More often than not, women who file false testimonies may potentially get away scot free without any consequences.

Very often, rape cases boil down to a “he said, she said” contest. If law enforcement and the trial judge find the complainant’s testimony to be credible, this in practice can be sufficient to convict the accused without any further evidence.

In January 2018, a women posted online on Facebook detailing how local actor Eden Ang had sexually harassed her female friend, and when the friend tried to file a report, the police turned her away. The post also insinuated that the Investigation Officer (IO) had blamed Kun's friend for dressing inappropriately.

However, the Singapore Police Force has investigated the case and found out that unlike what was stated in Kun's Facebook post, the IO at Clementi Police Post did not actually "make any insensitive remarks" or "turn Kuroe Kun's female friend away".

In fact, the police have requested the victim to lodge a report, but the victim has yet to do so, according to the Singapore Police Force's Facebook post.

Another case in April 2021 had a part-time employee falsely accusing her supervisor of sexual assault.

According to the employee, her supervisor at Cotton On had digitally penetrate her, by taking her hand and placing it on his penis, and for molesting her breast on 22 February 2017, at about 10.30pm inside the outlet.

During the trial, the man's lawyer pointed out that the victim had mentioned it was possibly her last week working at the store and that she was seeking to get a permanent position there.

He suggested that she may have complained against his client so that if he lost his job, more openings would be available.

The sitting judge of the case noted that the woman's account to the gynaecologist who examined her in June 2017 was "starkly at odds" with her testimony in court among her many other inconsistencies in her account.

The judge concluded, "Accordingly I find that the prosecution has not met the standard of proving the mens rea (criminal intent) beyond a reasonable doubt on all three charges, and the accused is accordingly acquitted and discharged."

Allegations against Police officers taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated

The police said that complaints or allegations against their officers are taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated. They "will not hesitate to take action against any errant officer" if any allegations against their officers are found to be true.

However, the police also mentioned that malicious allegations against their officers will not be tolerated.

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.