SMU molest trial: Victim says masturbation was final straw in string of harassment incidents

Wan Ting Koh
·Reporter
·5-min read
Singapore Management University at 81 Victoria Street. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Singapore Management University at 81 Victoria Street. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE – After a night of harassment, the final straw was when a Singapore Management University (SMU) student masturbated and ejaculated on her face after pinning her down with his body, a woman testified in court on Tuesday (8 September).

“My face felt really hot. I was embarrassed and frankly I couldn’t move, I was just stuck there – nothing like this has happened so I really don’t know how to think or feel but I just remembered my face feeling really hot and I felt embarrassed and kind of angry,” she said while taking the stand.

“To be disrespected and degraded in that manner, I mean frankly – pardon my language – I felt like a s**t and a wh**e,” said the 22-year-old victim, recalling her ordeal on 8 January last year, when SMU undergraduate Lee Yan Ru allegedly rubbed his genitals on her while she slept on the floor of a study room on campus.

Lee, 24, is claiming trial to one count of molesting the woman, whom he met through social media platform Instagram some one to two weeks before the incident.

On the first day of the trial, the court heard how the man had made several unwanted advances towards the woman, including hugging her, groping her breasts, and attempting to kiss her, after the pair had met at around 1am at SMU to do work in the study room. While the woman said she rebuffed his advances, she maintained that she did not take further action for fear of offending Lee. She also did not leave as she had no mode of transport, she said.

On the second day of her testimony, the woman described the last incident as the final straw. After a smoke break, the pair returned to the study room where the woman said she was again forced to turn away the man’s advances when he attempted to sit on her thighs. The woman said she stood up so that the man slipped to the floor.

Later, Lee lined up three to four chairs and seemingly fell asleep lying on them. The woman too decided to take a nap and settled on the floor some 3m away from Lee. The woman testified that as she laid on her back, she pulled the hood of her jacket over her eyes and fell asleep after 6.10am.

She awoke to a weight around her rib and chest area and found Lee kneeling over her with his face towards hers. She was shocked and in a “daze”, she said.

“I also felt like something like a rocking motion coming from the accused and his body, and I felt something near my face, near the right side of my face close to my chin,” she said. She suspected this to be Lee’s penis as there could only be “one thing” sticking out from his legs and he was moving in a way that suggested masturbation.

After she processed what was happening, the woman said she looked at the man and said “get off me” sternly, but the man merely said “wait”.

“(I felt) shocked, I felt degraded, not only because of all that had happened, but because when I told him to get off me, he had the cheek to tell me to wait,” she said, adding that she felt helpless.

Trauma from incident

She recalled that sometime before the incident, she had told the man that she studied law and also learned martial arts, as a “subtle threat” so that the man would back off.

“So I guess when you ask me why I felt helpless, even after all this happened, I still end up in that position where even my words had no weight to it,” she said.

Lee eventually ejaculated on her face, with semen landing on her chin, ear and the right side of her neck. He then got off the woman and cleaned her face twice with wet and dry tissue while the woman lay still in shock.

Said the woman, “I just told myself that I had to get out of there, that was the last straw so I got up (and packed my things).”

She picked up a file belonging to the man and recited his name, address, school and course, and told him that he would hear from her lawyers.

She left the room with the man hot on her heels. As she took the escalator to the first floor, she encountered the school’s security guard who advised her to call the police.

At this point, Lee pleaded with the woman not to call the police, to no avail. He even offered to let her punch him to “get even”. Lee then allegedly called his father.

The woman testified that her mental health suffered following the incident, and she had reflexively rejected her boyfriend’s physical advances by pushing him away, as she was projecting the incident onto their relationship.

The incident had also affected her school work as she could not bring herself to attend lessons. She also felt anxious, and was diagnosed with acute stress disorder by a psychologist and was prescribed medication. Although she was later able to return to her schoolwork with the help of friends, she said that her schoolwork is now affected again due to the trial.

She will be cross examined by Lee’s lawyer Thong Chee Kun on Tuesday afternoon.

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