SINGAPORE — A father of four sexually abused his daughter repeatedly when she was between nine and 15, a court heard on Monday (22 February).
The man, who worked as a food delivery rider and is now 44, began by molesting the victim, who ran away from home when she was 10 partly due to the abuse.
But from January 2019 onwards, when the victim was 15, the culprit raped her repeatedly when they were home alone.
Worried that the family would break up, the girl endured the abuse in silence and deliberately stayed out late after school to avoid being home alone with him.
She finally mustered the courage to confide in her friends about what happened in August that year and a police report was made.
At the High Court on Monday, the culprit was jailed for 25 years and given the maximum 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to three rape charges.
Another 24 charges involving sexual crimes were considered in sentencing as part of his plea bargain.
Culprit's only daughter
The victim is the man's only daughter. She lived with and was raised by her maternal aunt until she was nine, although she would go on outings with her parents and siblings on weekends.
She moved in with her biological family when she was in Primary 4 and shared a room with one of her brothers.
Soon after she moved in, the culprit struck. In August 2013, he went to her room as she slept and slid his hand under her clothes to touch her private parts.
For the next five years, the perpetrator molested the victim in the same manner at least once a week. She felt scared and uncomfortable, but did not react as she did not know what to do, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Stephanie Koh and Lim Yu Hui.
"On 11 May 2018, the victim ran away from home as she felt stressed and mentally affected by the accused’s molest as well as her recent mid-year examinations and a quarrel with her mother," the prosecutors said. She returned home the next day.
Locked victim out of home
For a while, the culprit stopped his abuse. But in December 2018, he started molesting the victim again.
She resisted and went to the toilet to get away from him. But he punished her by making her stand and face the wall for an hour.
He also told her that he was not comfortable being in the unit alone with her. Almost every afternoon from then on, he would tell her to get out of the home and lock her out so as not to be alone with her.
"The victim would only be allowed back in when her mother got home from work at about 7pm. When the victim’s mother asked why the victim was outside the flat, the accused would tell her he was punishing the victim for not doing the housework," said the prosecutors.
Abuse escalated to rape
From January 2019 onwards, the culprit sexually assaulted and raped the victim on multiple occasions when they were home alone.
Over the next six months, whenever the victim had her period, the perpetrator would also force her to perform oral sex on him.
She endured the abuse in silence to preserve her family. "The victim did not tell anyone about the sexual abuse as she did not have the courage and was also worried that her family would be broken up if she did," said the prosecutors.
Confided in friends
On 31 July 2019, she deliberately stayed out after school to avoid being at home alone with the culprit, but she ended up being scolded by her mother for coming home late.
The next day, three of her school friends saw that she was moody and pestered her to confide about her troubles.
"The victim was initially reluctant to share but eventually began to tear and told them that she had been scolded by her mother the day before for coming home late, but that she had actually not wanted to go home on time because her father always harassed her," said DPPs Koh and Lim.
On 2 August, after the victim confided to her friends that her father had raped her, they reported the matter to the victim's form teacher and the police were informed.
A psychiatrist found that the victim used to have flashbacks and repetitive memories of what happened, but she does not have flashbacks now and thinks less of the matter.
The prosecution sought at least 26 years' jail with the maximum 24 strokes of the cane "to denounce such abhorrent conduct".
"The sentence imposed on the accused must send a strong message that society will not tolerate wanton abuse of a child. Any offender who perpetrates such abuse should be met with the strongest disapprobation from the courts," said DPPs Koh and Lim.
For each of his proceeded rape charges, the man could have been jailed for up to 20 years and also fined or caned.
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