A Twitter user recently shared her discomfort with the manner in which a Public Transport Security Command (Transcom) officer had handled her case after she made a report against another MRT commuter who had reportedly taken images or videos of her cleavage.
The 19-year-old, who goes by the handle @cathariiine_ on Twitter, said in a string of tweets on Wednesday (19 May) that she was travelling with a friend in the MRT and were reaching the Newton station on Monday when she “looked up and saw the man pointing his phone at us in a really suspicious” manner.
In one of the photographs, the man can be seen holding up his phone high enough to appear as though he was filming or taking photographs, with the camera lens directed towards the victim.
Identifying herself as Catharine to Coconuts Singapore, she said that she had embarked on the train at Ang Mo Kio station, but had only realised what the man had been doing four stops later.
“I looked into the reflection and saw him zooming the camera onto my chest area and taking picture/videos,” Catharine wrote.
When confronted and asked to show his image gallery on his phone, Catharine said that the man had told her in Chinese: “Why, cannot”.
After being prompted again to do so, the man finally agreed to her request.
Catharine said she saw images or videos of her in his phone “before he tilted his phone away and changed to another album”.
“he then showed me an album full of racy pictures of pornstars/women,” she said.
The man had demonstrated “signs of aggression/ being really defensive” when Catharine tried to take his phone to view the album containing her images or videos, which led her to press the emergency button in the train.
“He then proceeded to delete the picture/videos on his phone before the smrt staff came down thus i didn’t have hard evidence against him despite my statement and the video that i’ve taken,” she said.
Because of this, said Catharine, the authorities had classified the incident under intentional harassment and not sexual harassment.
The next day on Thursday, Catharine took to Twitter again to share screenshots from what appeared to be Instagram Direct Messages between her and the Transcom officer who had attended to her case.
TW- sexual harassment
hi guys this is hard for me to talk about because it was so fresh, but i refuse to stay silent about it.
on 17 may, my friend and i were on the train reaching newton station, i looked up and saw the man pointing his phone at us in a really suspicious- pic.twitter.com/OvibBzTSQR
— catto (@cathariiine_) May 19, 2021
look at what the officer from that day dm-ed me 😀😀 pic.twitter.com/nvXbpOvGOz
— catto (@cathariiine_) May 19, 2021
In the messages, the officer could be seen telling Catharine that “this convo is between me & u only okay”.
He also told her that “when i called ur friends number that time she said that u’re already with the station staff”, and thus he was unable to obtain a clear picture of the entire incident.
When prompted by Catharine as to what the purpose behind the conversation was, the officer had ‘advised’ her to “just snatch” the phone away to secure strong evidence of the offence instead of “nicely” asking the perpetrator to hand his phone to her.
“i mean i also understand that u’re still young and just becareful of ur surroundings,” he added.
Visibly uncomfortable with the interaction, Catharine had asked him not to tell her what she should have done in such a situation as she was not able to control her response right after a traumatic event.
“i literally have a whole ass video of the guy taking pictures of me and in my opinion that is already the strongest form of evidence that a girl my size could have gotten from a guy that is literally 2x bigger than me,” she lamented.
Catharine then ended her response by asking the officer to cease interacting with her as she did not “appreciate this interaction”.
The officer replied, acknowledging that he and his colleague should have handled her situation better and apologising for letting her “feel insecure in this convo”.
In another tweet, Catharine shared a separate sequence of messages regarding her case, this time from another account claiming to be a person named “amirah”.
The user said that “it is not nice to expose” the conversation Catharine had with the officer and said that she should apologise to him for doing so.
Catharine, however, pointed out that the officer had broken the standard operating procedure of handling such cases by sending her such private messages in the first place instead of giving her a call regarding the matter.
“i called him out on my story and then he apologised. fella’s not sorry at all,” said Catharine.
Without furnishing further details on the case, the police told Coconuts Singapore on Thursday that they were looking into the matter.