Woman Harassed Online For Alleged Indecent Exposure At MRT Station

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Singapore was shookt after pictures of a woman's alleged indecent exposure at MRT Station went viral. But was she treated fairly in the first place, we ask?

Singapore was shookt after pictures of a woman’s alleged indecent exposure at MRT Station went viral. Shot by a passerby, a few images were posted on social media over the weekend and they led to a barrage of online criticism. 

The woman in question was one, Ashley Garcia, a freelance model based in the Philippines. Garcia identified herself after a literal virtual hunt for her started online. She even shared that she was queued at one of the automated teller machines (ATM) located in Somerset MRT station.

Indecent Exposure At MRT Station?

Exposure

Passerby took pictures of Garcia without her consent and then called her ‘indecent.’ | Image courtesy: Screengrab/ Stomp

Garcia was shot dressed in a loose pink tank top and sandals (and her shorts were not visible), which left the Internet divided. Although most netizens were quick to term this an indecent exposure at MRT station. Some naysayers even going to extent of criticising her with derogatory comments and slamming her look as ‘obscene’. 

In fact, the news spread so fast, it was even reported in Taiwan. Many absurdly outraged netizens such as one Ms. Chen wrote: “This is not fashionable (潮流), this is obscene (下流).”

However, there were others who saw nothing wrong with Garcia’s outfit. 

Garcia’s Dress Sparks A Massive Online Debate 

Yes, this was me waiting in the ATM queue. I was not aware that somebody took a photo of me (I don't personally know his…

Posted by Ashley Garcia on Monday, 11 February 2019

For the sake of damage control, Ms Garcia decided to respond in a Facebook post sharing her thoughts on the incident.

“I was not aware that somebody took a photo of me (I don’t personally know his purpose). (I) apologise if I [have] offended any culture [with] this outfit, but, please understand that I [did] not have any obscene or malicious intention by wearing it. And, I am sorry if you think that this was ‘indecent exposure’ but it was not my intention.” she wrote.

“To those people who are already hitting me below the belt and criticising me, I respect you. You are already telling things which are too personal [and] that is already outside of what you see in the picture,” she added.

Obviously, Ms Garcia meant no harm, despite what the critics may think. If it makes any difference, she also mentioned wearing nipple tape and shorts during the incident.

“I was cyberbullied and harassed because of this [incident],” Ms Garcia said, hoping whoever shared her pictures online will “apologise publicly.”

She did not comment further when asked again about the unfortunate incident. 

Blown Out Of Proportion Or Justified?

In this age of easy access to technology, people are also easily offended and often do not think twice about bringing someone down online. Unfortunately, society has a lot to say and gets particularly harsh whenever it comes to women’s dressing. As unfair as it sounds, women are mostly judged by their appearances.

The more skin you show, the more they criticise. But in such cases, context and intention matters. 

In this particular incident, she was a total stranger to the person taking the picture while out in a public space. It is easy to objectify her in such an instance, as one can easily judge her for being attention-seeking and offensive. (Let’s not forget, she was photographed by a man from unflattering and objectionable angles, all without her consent. And later terming it as ‘indecent exposure at MRT station.’) 

At the end of the day, we at HerStyleAsia stand for women emancipation and freedom, and we applaud how she has gracefully embraced this incident with humility and positivity. This, despite the outpouring of negativity.

Also read: What Is Sexy? Here’s Why It Is A Hard Question

(All images courtesy: Screengrab/Stomp)

Written by

Melia Widjaja