A Singaporean CEO is facing criticism after filing a $3.36 million lawsuit against a former friend who did not reciprocate his romantic interest.
K Kawshigan, the CEO of a drone-racing company, claimed he suffered emotional trauma after Nora Tan Shu Mei rejected him and only wanted to be friends.
The dispute began in 2016 when they became friends after meeting at a social event. By late 2020, their relationship had become “misaligned,” and Tan told Kawshigan that she only wanted to remain friends.
Kawshigan claimed he suffered emotional trauma when Tan rejected his romantic advances, and he threatened legal action against her.
He alleged she caused him financial damages through “negligent infliction of emotional distress and possible defamation” when she tried to restrict contact and impose boundaries.
Despite agreeing to counselling sessions to “help [Kawshigan] come to terms with her decision to not pursue a romantic relationship with him”, Tan eventually cut off all contact after he repeatedly demanded more frequent meetings and deeper conversations.
She has since obtained a protection order against Kawshigan and filed harassment proceedings for damages.
Gender equality advocacy group Aware expressed its concern about the case and highlighted how concepts such as the “friend zone” perpetuate the notion that women should be sexually attracted to men by default.
“Women do not owe men their time or attention, much less their friendship, love, sexual activity, or emotional labour,” the group said.
Aware also stated the complaint appeared to be an instance of ‘DARVO’, which stands for “deny, attack, reverse victim and offender”, a common tactic used by abusers to cast themselves as the injured party and punish actual victims for their resistance.