Have open forum to help those struggling with voyeuristic behaviour

Recently, Ms Denise Phua, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, said in response to the rise in voyeurism cases on campuses: "One case is one too many. It is critical to also develop an effective communications strategy to ensure all current and future students are kept fully aware of what is not acceptable behaviour and the consequences thereof" (Stronger disciplinary measures right way to go: Students, MPs, May 16).

So far, it appears that many people favour stiffer punishment for culprits of such cases.

It is interesting to observe that with the rise of technology, age-old voyeuristic behaviour has taken on a new twist.

It is also interesting that attempts at deterrence are targeted at the behaviour when it is demonstrated rather than at the prevention of the cues that cause such misbehaviour.

Few seem to openly acknowledge that voyeuristic behaviour is universal and pervasive.

In the case of the present problem on campuses, one might wish to ask why such misdeeds have become endemic.

What drives the compulsion of risky and tantalising exploits of the vulnerable?

Perhaps, an open forum that is non-threatening, with open discussions, might help those who struggle with such compulsive behaviour to gain some self-understanding.

That, in turn, could lead to better self-management of unacceptable voyeurism.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Have open forum to help those struggling with voyeuristic behaviour'. Print Edition | Subscribe