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Feb 18, 2019
The New Paper
An explicit video of a young girl in a secondary school uniform was circulated online last week.
The three-minute video, which appears to have been taken at a staircase landing, shows her performing various sex acts with an unidentified man.
The girl, whose face can be seen, appears to be a minor. She was wearing the uniform of an all-girls school.
The New Paper understands a police report has been made.
A Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman told TNP the school had found the girl is not a current student.
She said it would not be appropriate to make further comments as the police may be investigating the matter.
Ms Frances Yeo, a consultant psychologist at Thomson Medical Centre, said she has counselled teens whose intimate pictures were shared online by people they trusted.
"It becomes quite a big thing for a young person," she told TNP. "For girls who had been trusting, betrayal in the form of revenge porn can lead to a lot of anger and trauma."
Those close to the victim are also affected, she added. "Parents can be more traumatised than their children after seeing the material, and may take punitive action. It may lead to depression or suicidal thoughts."
The video surfaced last Monday, the day the Criminal Law Reform Bill was read in Parliament for the first time.
It seeks to amend the Penal Code to tackle emerging crime trends such as revenge porn and child pornography.
If it is passed, revenge porn, where one distributes or threatens to distribute an intimate image, will become a crime.
Offenders can be jailed for up to five years, fined or caned.
Revenge porn culprits are currently prosecuted for offences such as extortion and criminal intimidation.
The Penal Code Review Committee, which produced a report leading to the Bill, previously said: "Technology has not just facilitated the distribution of child pornography but the demand for it as well.
"The current law was not designed for, and is inadequate to address, the serious problems that the rise of the Internet has created for offences such as child pornography."
Lawyer Gloria James-Civetta said the man in the video could also be jailed for up to 10 years for his sexual acts if the girl was under 16, and up to 20 years if she was under 14.
If she is between 16 and 18, he would need to prove in court she had consented to the acts in order to be found not guilty.
Noting the proposed changes are a step in the right direction, she added: "Persons can no longer use social media to get revenge without being dealt with by the law, given that something posted online is difficult to remove and can leave indelible scars on victims," she said.
"The changes will protect victims in abusive relationships and give them legal recourse."
Lawyer James Ow Yong of Kalco Law said anyone caught sharing the video could be prosecuted for transmission of an obscene video.
The MOE spokesman said schools have measures such as sexuality education lessons.
She said: "(Students) are taught to seek help from trusted adults, such as their parents, teachers and school counsellors, should they require additional support or when they suspect their friends are being exposed to harmful influences."
"Parents, too, play a key role in their children's sexuality education," she added.
Asked what can be done by victims of revenge pornography, and how one can avoid becoming a victim, a police spokesman said: "Do not share or let anyone take intimate or compromising photos or videos of you. Once they are leaked, it is almost impossible to remove the content from the Internet."