NUS Peeping Tom case: Monica Baey urges online bullying against Nicholas Lim to stop

Ms Monica Baey said after all that has happened, what she wants to achieve is to set a precedent for such cases in the future, where girls who find themselves in her shoes down the road can feel acknowledged and confident they will be treated fairly.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Nearly two weeks since Instagram stories she posted took on a life of their own, National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Monica Baey has again took to the social media platform to call for the online harassment against her perpetrator to stop.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday (May 1) titled "closure", Ms Baey noted that change at the university is afoot, but also spoke out against those who disagreed with the way she shared her story as a victim of sexual assault.

On April 18, the 23-year-old had expressed her frustration that NUS had not done more against fellow student Nicholas Lim, who filmed her in the shower at Eusoff Hall last November.

Mr Lim was given a 12-month conditional warning from police and was suspended from school for a semester. He was also made to write an apology letter to her.

The Instagram stories, which revealed Mr Lim's name and personal details, quickly went viral and prompted the university to form a review committee to take a closer look at disciplinary and support frameworks.

It also organised a campus town hall meeting attended by more than 600 students, including Ms Baey, who flew back to Singapore from her exchange programme in Taiwan.

NUS president Tan Eng Chye later apologised for falling short in providing support to victims of sexual misconduct, while Education Minister Ong Ye Kung called the current penalties "manifestly inadequate".

Describing it as "incredibly tiring, yet probably the most fulfilling week of my life", Ms Baey said on Wednesday that she is glad that "change has finally come".

However, she noted that Mr Lim did not deserve to be bullied online for what he had done.

She also acknowledged that it was "fair" for some people to disagree with how she had brought the issue to light.

She wrote: "To address those who are saying that my perpetrator is now a victim, all I will say in response to that is I genuinely hope that he is receiving proper support he needs to rehabilitate, and the unnecessary online harassment toward him and his loved ones will stop."

Though she felt that Mr Lim had got away lightly, she added it would now be up to NUS and its review committee - not Internet users or even herself - to make the call on whether her case should be reopened and tougher punishments should be meted out.

"I think it is time to step away from the discussion of what people think should be done to him, and step into the discussion of how we can improve our current society," she wrote.

In an exclusive interview with The Straits Times last week, Mr Lim said that he was deeply remorseful for the incident and will continue to seek counselling and help to become a better person.

"I want to say that I have been and still am truly sorry for what I have done. Nobody should ever be put through the kind of trauma that I caused Monica. People have condemned me and my actions - I deserve it. I condemn myself. I seek everyone's forgiveness."

In her Instagram post, Ms Baey also opened up about her feelings of paranoia, confusion and disgust even months after the filming incident.

"The paranoia never goes away. This nagging feeling at the back of your mind, telling you that you are never safe," she wrote.

"I get so frustrated that I break down in the shower sometimes because I'm so tired of worrying. I wasn't even touched by him and yet I feel like my entire body has been violated. The feeling of disgust still sits inside of me," she added.

Ms Baey ended her lengthy Instagram post by urging other victims of voyeurism to be courageous in speaking out.

She also expressed her hopes that society would be able to do more to protect victims and their reputation.

"I hope that the conversation on whether enough is being done to prevent sexual assault will continue," she wrote.

"I hope that Singapore has reflected on what has happened, why this blew up as big as it did, and learn to not avoid issues but rather face the hard reality - sexual misconduct and assault is much more prevalent that it appears to be," she added.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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