Recent comments from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, using the issue of violence against women to justify the death penalty. Street assaults by strangers may be relatively uncommon here, but they are certainly not unheard of, as shown by the steady flow of media reports of public transport assault and upskirting cases. Yet all over the world, violence against women and girls is frequently perpetrated not by strangers, but by someone known to the victim. A family member, a caregiver, a partner, a co-worker, a friend or social acquaintance. It happens not primarily in the streets, but in homes, schools, workplaces and other social settings.
Our experience assisting women and girls tells us that such violence is very real in Singapore. And virtually every day we see stories of domestic and sexual violence in the newspapers – with media reports forming only the tip of an iceberg. What women and girls who face violence need is usually not a system of extreme punishments, but more awareness and support from others around them, as well as more robust and sensitive procedures for enabling and encouraging reporting and intervention.