I never post on FB, but today, I feel I must.
I learned that my colleague was molested during our office CNY dinner.
Here’s the account I got from my colleagues (I was, unfortunately, not at dinner).
This year’s office lohei was at Mouth Restaurant on Cross Street. Dinner was winding down, and two of my female colleagues, T and R walked out to use the building’s restroom at about 9.30 PM. The restroom is approximately 20 m away from the restaurant’s main entrance, which faces the main road. As they were coming out of the restroom and walking back to the restaurant, the corridor was blocked by two men. They announced that they were from Portugal after trying to guess T and R’s country of origin, and blocked T and R’s way back to the restaurant. One of the 2 men then proceeded to harass T her and asked her to take her shirt off and show him her boobs. T said ‘NO’ repeatedly, and instead of backing off, the man moved towards her, picked her up off the floor and molested her. #nomeansno
I would never use the term ‘molest’ lightly, but the Oxford English dictionary defines it as ‘assault or abuse [of] (a person, especially a woman or child) sexually” and to “pester or harass (someone) in an aggressive or persistent manner. Touching another person inappropriately and without consent falls squarely within these definitions.
Colleague T was shocked, afraid, and kept saying “No!”, and had colleague R not grabbed onto her hand and screamed, the molester would not have put her down.
Both women were really upset, and hurried back into the restaurant. Our colleagues confronted the 2 men, and tried to block them from leaving, and a little tussle ensued. The men’s colleagues then came out of the restaurant and pulled everyone apart, but the molester charged forward and headbutted one of my male colleagues.
When my colleagues confronted the man’s colleagues about what happened, they brushed it off with a “Oh, we thought they were friends.”
Sure, when you see a woman struggling when being manhandled by a guy, you automatically think that they are friends, and that this is normal behavior among friends.
To be fair, the molester’s colleagues did apologise, but other than give us the molester’s name, “Bruno” and that he was visiting from Portugal, they refused to give us their company name or any other contact information. They even told “Bruno” to leave immediately.
My colleagues approached the restaurant for the contact of the company, they said that they would only disclose the company’s name to the police.
So my colleague T filed a police report the next day. She had to endure an unpleasant interview by the police officer, who prefixed the interview by saying, “Are you sure you want to do this? If this goes to court, you’ll need to testify….” and then concluding with, “Are you sure they weren’t just trying to be friendly? You know, ang moh culture is different from ours…”
Seriously? This is the response from the police officer?
SHAME ON YOU!
When this was told to me, I was furious. Furious at the entitled “Bruno” (and friend who egged him on) for his reprehensible behavior; furious at “Bruno’s” colleagues for dismissing it and shrugging it off; and furious at the restaurant for not doing more to protect the wellbeing of its customers.
But I’m most disappointed by the fact that the police officer who took my colleague’s statement, didn’t take her complaint seriously. I worry that they will do nothing.
I cannot, in good conscience, let “Bruno” and his accomplices get away with this, nor can I condone our police force’s less than appropriate response to the situation.
Please repost this, and let people know that such behavior is repulsive, and that we will not tolerate this in our society.