Molested in clubs, but she has not reported incidents

Posed photo of a man trying to molest a woman.
Posed photo of a man trying to molest a woman. PHOTO: ST FILE

Though Elise (not her real name) has been preyed on several times in clubs, she has never reported an incident.

The first time she went to a club as an 18-year-old, she noticed a stranger touching her friend's thigh while they were on the dance floor.

Not long after, the man's hands ventured to her legs as well. She tried pushing him away a few times but he kept coming back, she said.

Not knowing what to do, she twisted his fingers backwards in a bid to make him stop. He eventually did.

"I didn't confront him as he was with a girl, and as it was my first time clubbing, I wasn't sure of the protocols in a club," said Elise, who is now a 22-year-old student in an arts school.

Looking back, she added that she had been "shocked and disgusted when it happened", and said girls should be careful when they step into night spots.

NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE

I haven't reported such incidents mainly because I could handle the situations - I was able to say no and do something about it. But a smaller reason was, it would have been too troublesome to do so.

ELISE, on why she did not report incidents of sexual harassment.

Since then, she has been groped from behind another time at a club as well. "It happened so fast, I wasn't even sure who had actually touched me," she said.

Elise, who visits clubs about twice a month during the school holidays, added that in her experience, people may try to touch or kiss others they are dancing with, even when pushed away.

"Having friends nearby, or club promoters whom you know, usually does the trick," she said. She added that she would avoid them instead of making a report.

"I haven't reported such incidents mainly because I could handle the situations - I was able to say no and do something about it," she said.

"But a smaller reason was, it would have been too troublesome to do so."

While she said that one should make a report if the situation gets out of hand and if the perpetrator is too brazen, she added that punitive measures alone may not nip the problem in the bud.

She added that there needs to be better education and awareness about what constitutes acceptable behaviour. "Reporting the case to the club or police may deter (the perpetrator) from doing something temporarily, but not change (his) mind about whether it is acceptable conduct."

Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'Molested in clubs, but she has not reported incidents'. Print Edition | Subscribe