Afraid that her stepfather – her family’s sole breadwinner – would divorce her mother, a young girl endured five years of sexual abuse by the man.
On Tuesday (13 February), the man was sentenced to 28 years’ jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to three charges of rape of a minor under the age of 14.
Three other charges of using criminal force to outrage the girl’s modesty and sexual assault by penetration were taken into consideration for the man’s sentencing. The man and his family members cannot be named due to a court-imposed gag order.
The court heard that the man married the girl’s mother in 2011 and moved into their flat.
That year, man began sexually abusing his eight-year-old stepdaughter. The man molested her and performed sex acts on her, and progressed to forcing her to perform oral sex on him.
He often carried out these acts when his wife and stepchildren were not at home or sleeping. He would then warn his stepdaughter not to tell anyone what he had done or he would divorce her mother.
On one occasion between November 2011 and July 2012, while the girl was sleeping, the man woke her up and forced her to perform oral sex on him. He then asked her to remove her clothes and raped her on the mattress.
He then told her that from then on, if she did something wrong, he would punish her by having sex with her.
Around July 2012, the family moved to a new flat. The man sexually assaulted the girl again when she was 10 years old sometime between February and March 2013. The act caused the girl immense pain and she cried during the process.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Raja Mohan, there were other occasions when the man raped the girl, but she was unable to recall them due to her young age and the time that had lapsed between them.
There were also weekends during which the man would seek out the girl while she was playing at a neighbour’s house and tell her that he wanted her to go home with him to clean up the house. He would then take the opportunity to force the girl to have sex with him while they were alone at home.
On some occasions, the man would tell the victim “Daddy want” after pulling her into the bedroom. On at least one occasion, he asked the girl if she liked having sex with him while he was raping her. Whenever the girl said “No” to his requests, he would still force her to have sex with him, or repeat his threat to divorce her mother.
The girl felt “confused, lost and helpless” because her stepfather provided for the family’s needs, yet was sexually exploiting her. She also did not want her mother to have another failed relationship because of her, said DPP Raja.
The girl, now 15, lives with her grandmother. According to DPP Raja, she feels insecure about herself for losing her virginity to the man when she was just eight years old. She also keeps to herself and worries that people will judge her for what the man did to her.
She still suffers from flashbacks of the incidents of abuse. Her relationship with her mother has suffered greatly, to the point that she “now finds it difficult to even make eye-contact with her”, said DPP Raja.
Offences came to light in 2015
On 27 February 2015, the girl had an argument with her mother and ran away from home to stay with her nanny for two nights. She then went to attend a religious class on 1 March 2015.
Her stepfather appeared after the class ended and offered to walk her home so that he could speak with her about the disagreement with her mother.
When they reached home, the man locked the gate and slapped the girl for running away from home. He then told her to go to the bedroom, where he raped her.
After the rape, the girl fled the flat and took a taxi to her nanny’s home. She then told her nanny’s sister about the sexual assaults. The girl’s mother was shocked and devastated when she found out about the allegations on 3 March 2015.
When the man was first interviewed by the police, he denied the allegations and claimed that the victim had made up the stories so that she could stay with her nanny.
He later claimed the acts were consensual and that the girl had “seduced” him by exposing herself to him.
Calling the man’s actions “utterly sickening”, DPP Ng Yiwen called for a jail term of 32 years and 24 strokes of the cane. As a stepfather, his responsibility was to take care of the girl and protect her, but he “wickedly violated this trust by preying on her”, said DPP Ng.
The abuse also happened several times in the home, which should have been regarded as a safe haven. “He had run the whole gamut of sexual offences against the victim,” said DPP Ng.
DPP Ng also urged the court to place little weight on the man’s plea of guilt because he had attempted to push the blame onto the victim and showed no remorse for what he had done.
The man, who was unrepresented, submitted a letter of mitigation to the court but did not address the court.
In sentencing the man, Justice Woo Bih Li said, “I agree that your conduct does not reflect genuine remorse. Not only did the accused deny the offences initially – he sought to blame the victim by suggesting that she had engaged in inappropriate behaviour.”
Justice Woo backdated the man’s sentence to 2 November 2016 when he was first remanded, and allowed the man a few minutes to speak to his wife, who was present in court.
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