I am writing this letter to create awareness and inform fellow parents not to be complacent like me on regards to our children’s safety. I learned the saddest and hardest way.
It is a bad and unfortunate new year to start off with.
Last Sunday, 10 January 2014, my 14 year old daughter was molested in the bus at the upper deck. It is such a traumatised experience for a young one to go through.
When I received her frantic WhatsApp message telling me that she was molested, I quickly gave her a call back. She was crying and I couldn’t hear that trembling voice of hers as she was trying to explain what had happened. That’s why she had to message me first as she had difficulty talking properly. But because I couldn’t hear and understand her properly, she pass her phone to a female police officer. The police officer told me the place of incident but I still cannot hear properly because my mind was in a whirlwind and I couldn’t focus. In the end, my daughter told me the bus stop number and I did a quick search on the map to find the exact location. I booked a cab and quickly rush down at the place of incident. The place of incident was just opposite her school.
When I came down, I rush out of the cab, leaving the door open while my husband pays the cab fare and I run straight into the bus. I saw police officers crowding around, whom I believe is the perpetrator. I asked the police officers if that’s him. At that time, in my mind, I REALLY wanted to dash through the police officers and slap that perpetrator. But, the police officers quickly usher me out of the bus and into the ambulance where my daughter was waiting for me. I could see how much in distress my daughter was. I hugged her real tight. She was trembling and looking shocked. But she was also eating a sardine curry puff. I was thinking they probably allow her to eat in the ambulance maybe because they want her to calm down while waiting for me to arrive. I too was actually trembling because I was feeling so angry! And also feeling very disappointed as well because I was thinking, how can “this” happened to my daughter? Why MY DAUGHTER? And on top of that Singapore is suppose to be safe. I was still thinking about Singapore being the most safest country in the world. But I WAS ANGRY AT MYSELF MORE because I felt it was all my fault. I HAD FAILED to protect my innocent young daughter. I had been complacent.
My daughter briefly told me (because I didn’t want to stress her more by asking too much) that she got molested, she shouted, the bus driver quickly reacted by stopping the bus and lock the door and activate the police to come as soon as possible.
Because I was busy consoling my daughter, my husband was outside the ambulance, talking with the police officers and Duty Officer, asking what’s the next course of action. My husband get bits and pieces of the actual story and the Duty Officer cannot reveal much because it is considered as still under investigation. So my husband told me bits and pieces of the incident that while waiting for the police to arrive, the perpetrator actually beg for leniency while he was locked inside the bus. The Duty Officer also says the perpetrator ADMITTED TO THE CRIME.
The perpetrator is a big grown man. Dark-skinned and possibly not a local. I don’t know much of the details yet because I was not given a copy of the full statement report.
Taking about the report, I actually wanted to quickly bring my daughter home as soon as possible and let my daughter calm herself down and come back another day to give her full statement report. But my husband insist on doing it now because he’s afraid my daughter will not remember anything if she decided to forget this painful and traumatizing incident quickly. So, my husband spoke to my daughter and assure her to be brave and strong so that she could give her full statement report.
While waiting for my daughter to finish giving her statement, I was crying my heart out for my daughter at the bus stop. My daughter school mates whom rushed down for my daughter because my daughter called them, came consoling me and calling their other friends to quickly bring me water so that I could drink to calm myself down. One by one gave me tissue to wipe my tears. They are really a bunch of thoughtful students.
I want to thank the bus driver for his swift action. He technically had helped us in one way or another. Since, I can’t comment much about the incident because I don’t have the full report, the only thing that’s crucial is that the perpetrator whom is responsible for the crime has he’s identity established (confirmed) according to the police reference letter I received today, 15 Jan 2014.
After my daughter had given her statement, she came crying to me again and told me she is so afraid. Her body was still trembling and shivering so hard. As a mother, my heart was so heartbroken. I couldn’t do anything except to console her and hope that perpetrator brought to justice quickly! She’s only 14!
I did ask my daughter why didn’t she move away from her seat when a stranger come sitting beside her when there are plenty of other seats? She says, she didn’t thought much about it because she assume the perpetrator was just a normal civilian. My daughter wasn’t even dressed provocatively. How could that perpetrator do this to my daughter??? How could he??? She’s so innocent and did not think much that “this” would happen. I’m beyond words, so upset about this incident. Again I am in denial thinking why this had happened to my daughter.
I didn’t teach her well to be wary of others. I realized that. But I did teach her to be nice to people and not be a people hater if the other person is of a different race, language, religion or from another country. But unfortunately, this teaching DID NOT save her from being molested. I know this statement will be a controversy. But that was what I was thinking at that time.
Till today, I am still feeling so angry, helpless, devastated, sad, upset and guilty for not able to protect my daughter. It’s just NOT SAFE anymore in Singapore. Because of this incident, my husband and I decided to make sure our daughter goes to school by taxi and also when she comes home from school.
The reason I wrote this to you is because I hope this frightening experience, be an example that even in public places like a public bus, is no longer safe. How can we as parents do more about it? I can’t, 24 hours be around my daughter, chaperone her to and fro her school. So, that’s why we decided it’s OK to sacrifice some money on taxi till my daughter is confident enough to take the public bus and train again.
As of today, I know my daughter is still in shock. But she has been putting a brave front. As for me, I will make sure I make her life be normal and happy again. That’s is my priority.
I hope this letter do not received any negative comments. I am already heartbroken so I plea with everyone to just focus on my intention which is about our creating awareness on regards to our children’s safety on public transport and public places.
Thank you so much.