SINGAPORE — For over 20 years, she endured her stepfather’s sexual abuse until she regarded them as “the norm”.
The woman, who was around seven when the abuse started, had tried to lock her bedroom door to prevent the man’s access to her space but he either forced his way in or found a spare key.
Resigned, the victim came to believe that the only way out of her ordeal would be to end her life or wait until she turned 35 so that she could move into her own flat.
While her stepfather was eventually hauled to court for what the prosecution described as the “worst case of sexual abuse involving molest” to be heard, the woman, now 33, said, “These incidents will be in me forever... I feel dirty and disgusted with myself. I am just waiting... to die so that I can escape from the past and restart my life forgetting all those dirty memories.”
Citing the devastating impact on the victim, who continues fearing relationships with other men, the prosecution on Wednesday (14 October) sought 10 years’ jail, with an additional seven-and-a-half-months’ jail in lieu of caning.
The stepfather, now 66, had on Monday admitted to five charges of molesting the victim, with another nine charges to be taken into consideration when he is sentenced.
Both the man, who is a bus driver, and the victim cannot be named to protect her identity.
The man began renting a room with the victim’s family in 1990 after her father passed away. The victim’s mother began a relationship with the man, who then became a father figure to the victim.
The man and her mother married on 30 June 1999. Even though the girl addressed the man as “papa”, the man began sexually abusing her as a child for over 20 years – until 21 February 2017.
Tempted to touch the girl’s breast when she reached puberty
Among the incidents was one in 1999, when the victim, then around 12, approached the man for help to insert medication into her anus for constipation. The man instructed her to kneel on the floor and bend forward with her lower torso unclothed.
After successfully inserting the medication into the girl’s anus, the man began molesting her. After the act, the girl went to the toilet and washed herself, disgusted by the acts.
The man admitted during investigations that he was aroused after seeing the victim’s private parts exposed.
Over the years, the man became emboldened by the victim’s silence and would kiss her, touch her private parts and grind his own groin over the victim.
After the first few years of living in the flat, the man would frequently enter the victim’s bedroom stealthily to molest her.
Said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sruthi Boppana, “Fearing reprisal and that the accused’s acts may escalate to something even more serious like rape, the victim did not break her silence throughout almost 20 years of sexual abuse by the accused.”
“She was cognisant of the fact that the family was financially dependent on the accused, especially her mother, and also feared that she would be disbelieved or blamed by her mother if she were to disclose the incidents to her,” said the DPP.
Victim closed door but did not deter accused for long
In 2013, the victim confided in her brother after he told her about his personal problems. The brother suggested that she lock her door but the victim was reluctant to, as the household usually left the doors open. She feared that closing her door would arouse her mother’s suspicions.
She eventually locked her door to deter the man. However, as the lock was faulty, the man still managed to access her bedroom just by using more force on the door. After the victim’s bedroom lock was replaced, the sexual abuse came to a stop for two months.
However, unbeknownst to her, a spare key to the lock was stored in a drawer under an altar in the living room, and the man used it to enter her bedroom on the last occasion of molest on 21 February.
The victim then left the house to stay the night with her friend. She made a police report on 23 February 2017 at the encouragement of her brother and friend.
Mitigating for the man, his lawyer Wee Hong Shern noted his client’s age and said that he had worked diligently as a bus captain where he gained numerous letters of commendation.
Wee said his client had been a victim of sexual abuse himself from age 15 to 20, when a male perpetrator had pulled down his pants and sexually assaulted him.
His client was “truly remorseful” and had confessed to his wrongdoing in his statements, even though he initially intended to claim trial, said Wee, who argued for a sentence of six years and 10 months.
The man and his wife are still married, but have been living separately since the court case.
District Judge Jasvender Kaur adjourned the man’s sentencing to 1 December.
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