Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence

Posted on Mar 3 2016 - 5:02pm by Redwire Singapore

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This story is part 2 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

JUSTINA: Much has been said about Benjamin Lim’s suicide. Little has been discussed about the 11-year-old victim of molest. It must have been traumatising – followed into a life by a stranger, going up 13 floors, and in the meantime getting touch in a manner which you feel violating.

As a parent, I can empathise with the pain which Benjamin’s family feels, and my sympathies lie with them. It’s not easy to lose a son, especially to suicide. The first instance is to either blame yourself for not taking care of your child, or to lash out at others for pushing him over the edge. If it were me, I’d most likely lash out first, introspect later, and eventually resign myself to the fact the my daughter whom I’ve raised single-handedly is gone for good.

Yes, I’ve a daughter and I’m a single-mum. That’s why I can understand the need for the police to act with urgency.

Based on the facts, police viewed CCTV footage, saw a boy in school uniform that looked like Benjamin Lim follow a pre-teen girl unknown to him into the lift of a flat he didn’t stay in, and touch her. Police later visited Lim at his school, where he looked like the person in the CCTV footage and was wearing the same uniform, and arrested him.

If my daughter was the victim of such a sexual attack, I would make a damn lot of noise if the police dragged their feet over the case. I would like the police to seek justice swiftly, otherwise, I might consider seeking vengeance by myself. I’m a protective parent, and the police investigating officer would likely be sick of me hounding him or her every single day for updates.

Could the interrogation have been done better? Of course! At least, a lawyer or the boy’s parents should be present during the interrogation, but in a non-intrusive way. I mean, they should be able to view but not interfere with the proceedings unless they feel that their client/child’s rights have been compromised. For example, through deception, coercion or intimidation which could prompt the accused teen to admit guilt even simply to appease investigators.  – American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology, Vol 45, Number 5, 2014

Lim’s father implied that the police pressured his child into admitting guilt, and that’s possible, as studies have shown. On the other hand, having a parent around could also prompt the child not to admit guilt even though he was guilty, as once again, studies have shown, due to body language that expresses disapproval.

“Instead of providing needed help, most parents add to the psychological threats confronting children… The structure of interrogation pressures parents to convince children to ‘do the right thing.’ Parents become part of the coercive machinery.” – Harvard Law Review, Vol 126, Number 8, 2013

It works both ways, that’s why I specifically stated “non-intrusive” unless necessary. While Lim’s family wants protection for him, the family of the 11-year-old molest victim also wants redress for her. And justice is a fine, blur line.

Which is why I appreciate the way the police handled the matter. They approached 14-year-old Lim in a quiet manner, and took him in for questioning in a non-threatening common office environment. They took 3.5 hours, yes, but I once took 2 hours trying to lodge a report when my purse was stolen because the officer’s comprehension skills were very bad and his grammar, worse, so that amount of time is rather expected.

What I don’t appreciate is people talking through their asses and speculating that the 11-year-old girl cried “molest” for the sake of it, or that she wanted to get Benjamin Lim in trouble, or that “he touched her in an ok manner, but she thought it was not ok even though it was ok.” All that shit talk is just victim-blaming and victim-shaming. For goodness sake, listen in your head the words that you are typing so carelessly. What would you careless-fingered people do if it was your child who was hurt?

Again, I think Benjamin Lim’s suicide is a sad, tragic incident that hurts all who loved and cared for him. I believe police procedures for interrogating minors can be improved, but I don’t fault the police officers handling the case given the protocol they followed.

We mustn’t forget that an 11-year-old girl lost her innocence due to this crime, and the police were doing their best, within the law, to ensure that they could answer to her parents. If the coin was flipped, if the accused aggressor didn’t end his life, the public might instead be pressuring the police to implement tougher measures to protect victims of child molest.

This story is part 2 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

 

 

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