News

Most rape victims know their attackers

The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) said of the 136 calls and e-mails it got from victims of sexual crimes last year, the victims knew their attackers in 120 cases.

Ms Jolene Tan, Aware’s senior manager for programmes and communications, said: “Perpetrators of sexual assaults could be friends, co-workers, boyfriends, husbands or business associates.

“While perpetrators may sexually assault women they know for a range of reasons, the fundamental problem is that they do not respect women’s freedom over their bodies, and as a society we are too willing to excuse or justify their behaviour.”

Said Dr Brian Yeo, 53, a consulting psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre who has been practising for about 20 years:

“The fact that the victim might be familiar with the perpetrator means that they might let their guard down, open up to them or let them into their personal space, without realising their intentions.”

Reported rape cases have fallen in recent years. There were 150 cases in 2011, 133 in 2012, and 121 last year.

Dr Yeo said: “Rape has always been an issue of power more than sex.”

While there is the occasional opportunistic case, Dr Yeo said it is the false sense of power and perceived superiority the perpetrator has over the victim that leads him or her to commit the crime. — LIM MIN ZHANG