Ms Li, a former intern at a foreign investment bank, shared with Shin Min Daily News that she was sexually harassed during an internship by her boss. After she heard of a similar story of inappropriate conduct that a National University of Singapore (NUS) student experienced, she felt encouraged to share her own.
She landed a 5-month contract starting Feb 2018. A graduate of Singapore Management University, her supervisors suggested she apply for the internship to kick-start her career.
I’ve got a funny feeling about this…
Ms Li mentioned that the signs were obvious from the beginning that her supervisor was expecting more than just good work.
“On the day of the contract-signing, the supervisor said he was putting up at a hotel near my house during his stay in Singapore. I didn’t think much of it”.
“However, he later texted me ‘good night’ for no reason late at night.”
Ms Li said that she was stationed at a local branch and saw her supervisor regularly, as they flew in for meetings and routine check-ups.
After this text incident, Ms Li claims her supervisor began asking for more illicit requests.
“He usually asked to meet at around 8pm and had also invited me out for coffee alone, telling me not to let me other colleagues know”.
“I told him that I couldn’t meet because I had to go for classes.”
The price of saying “no”
Ms Li then advised that after she rejected his initial advances, he began to make working at the bank very tough.
“However, after rejecting him, his attitude changed and he became difficult at work. I was turned down when trying to do my internship presentation nor was I allowed to ask questions.”
Ms Li revealed she didn’t let her professor as she was worried that she might lose her internship. She said that could only cry in secret in response to the situation.
Eventually, enough was enough and she confided in her friend the details of what happened. It was even more shocking that her friend was sexually harassed by the same supervisor.
Ms Li reported that her friend didn’t pass the internship interview, but was still asked to meet him outside of office hours discreetly.
“The supervisor texted to say that he would land in Singapore at 9pm and asked to meet my friend”.
Ms Li took screenshots of the supervisor’s texts, where he also offered to help her friend reapply for the internship. However, the friend did not respond to his advances.
It’s never too late to speak up
Ms Li has informed the bank’s HR department and approached a lawyer, in addition to filing a police report.
A SMU spokesperson told Stomp that the school is aware of the issue. But it is not their policy to disclose any information regarding these cases.
“Student comments of this nature are always treated seriously”.
“Our approach is always to advise students to be mindful of the importance of reporting truthfully what transpired, and if necessary, to report factually to the relevant authorities so that an independent investigation can take place.
“In addition, the students are offered avenues to seek counselling and the necessary assistance from our staff.
“However, it is SMU’s policy not to issue public comments on the specifics of a particular case as the confidentiality of the relevant parties have to be respected.”