Sexual assault is an act of sexual activity that violates one’s bodily integrity and which the victim does not consent to. This often involves physical contact between the victim and perpetrator but does not necessarily entail penetration and may be committed by means other than force or violence.
Some examples include:
- Attempted or actual rape (includes any form of penetration of the body)
- Molestation/outrage of modesty – Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning, pinching or rubbing of any part of the victim’s body
- Sexual grooming of minors i.e. gaining a child or young person’s trust in order to sexually exploit or abuse them
What can I do if I’m experiencing sexual assault?
If you are experiencing any form of sexual assault, you should seek help immediately. Here is what you can do:
- Know that you are not to be blamed for the assault.
- If you know the perpetrator, distance yourself from them and stop all forms of contact.
- Contact the police as soon as possible. Click here for more information on the processes
that may take place after a sexual assault case is report to the police.
- Seek medical help at these specialised hospitals , or the AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC) which also provides befriender services to accompany you to the police, court or hospital.
- Tell someone you trust about the incident
- Seek legal help.
What should I do if I witness an act of sexual assault?
Without compromising your own safety, you can
- Approach victim to provide support
- Distract harasser or seek help from others
- Call out undesirable behaviour
- Alert and seek help from management or security personnel
How can friends and family support the victim?
- Avoid victim blaming.
- Offer a listening ear to the victim. Do not judge or impose your opinion on the victim.
- Validate their feelings and experience (eg. ‘That must have been very difficult for you’)
- Point the victim to other formal sources of help (i.e. helplines) but let them decide what to do next.
- Consider going for a workshop to be better equipped
How can I seek legal help?
Legislation for sexual assault offenses:
Section 375 defines rape as
(i) non-consensual vaginal, oral, or anal penetration of a person with the offender’s penis; or
(ii) vaginal, oral or anal penetration of a person with the offender’s penis, where the person is under 14 years of age. Offenders are liable for imprisonment, fine or caning.
Section 376 defines sexual assault involving penetration as:
(i) non-consensual penetration (i.e. vaginal, anal or oral); or
(ii) penetration (i.e. vaginal, anal or oral), where the person is under 14 years of age. Offenders are liable for imprisonment, fine or caning.
Section 376A defines sexual penetration of a minor as penetration of a minor under 16 years of age (e.g. vaginal, anal or oral). Offenders are liable for imprisonment, fine or caning.
Section 376B to section 376EE sets out offences relating to:
(i) commercial sex with a minor under 18 years of age;
(ii) sexual grooming, sexual communication, engaging in sexual activity in front of a minor, showing a sexual image to a minor under 16 years of age; and
(iii) the same acts in (ii) when committed against a person of or above 16 but under 18 years of age in the context of an exploitative relationship.
Offenders are liable for imprisonment, fine or both.
Section 376F defines procuring any sexual activity with a person with mental disability as an offence. Offenders are liable to imprisonment, or fine, or caning, or any combination of such punishments.
Section 376G considers incest an offence. Offenders are liable for imprisonment.
Section 354 defines assault or use of criminal force with intent to outrage modesty as an offence. Offenders are liable for imprisonment, or fine, or caning, or any combination of such punishments.
Section 511 considers attempts to do any of the above as offences
Victims who desire to take legal action can choose between self-representation or getting a lawyer to help with legal proceedings.
- Criminal sanctions: Making a police report.
- Civil remedies:
For legal advice, you can approach any of the organisations below (calling these hotlines does not involve getting a lawyer to represent you unless specifically requested — these are mainly for legal advice):
- 77.5% of those involved in non-partner victimisation and 71.7% of those involved in partner victimisation did not report to the police
- 58.8% of victims experienced repeated victimisation
- Only 7% of those who experienced violence contacted specialised agencies for assistance
From 2012-2016, the outrage of modesty cases victims were majority females – it was on average about 94% (MSF).
In 2019, 99% of those arrested for outrage of modesty cases are males (Data.gov.sg, 2020). The total number of males arrested are 1,066 out of 1,077 cases in 2019.