SINGAPORE — She was just between six and eight years old when she was sexually penetrated by her father, and consequently tried to harm herself with a ruler and stapler.
Nearly a decade later, the 52-year-old man targetted his daughter again after a night of drinking. He molested and digitally penetrated his daughter as she lay on a mattress beside him at night.
Then 17, the girl, who has a mild intellectual disability, finally confided in her teacher after the incident.
On Monday (23 November), the man was jailed for 20 years, including one year of imprisonment in lieu of caning as he is above 50 and cannot be caned. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of the victim, with a count of molest taken into consideration for sentencing.
Both father and daughter cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity.
Passing the sentence, Justice Dedar Singh Gill said, “The accused had, for his perverted pleasure, turned on its head the bond between a father and a daughter. The bond lies in tatters with the accused in prison and the victim in a shelter for teenage girls. There was a serious breach of trust on the part of the accused.”
The girl, now 19, is enrolled in special education and has been staying in the shelter since 27 October 2018.
Then a dishwasher, the man was staying with the victim, two of her uncles, her aunt, and her elder brother in a flat in October 2018 – the month of the last sexual assault. The victim’s mother had moved out of the matrimonial home years earlier.
The girl and her father shared a room where they would sleep on separate mattresses placed side by side.
On 26 October 2018, the girl was sleeping on her mattress when her father entered the bedroom. At about 12.30am, after lying on his mattress, the man moved his body next to his daughter and reached underneath her T-shirt and bra, touching her breasts. The girl, who felt scared, could smell alcohol on him.
The man then sexually assaulted the girl further, causing her pain. The girl covered her face and tried to push the man away. As the man withdrew his finger and fell asleep, the girl cried quietly to herself.
Later that day, while the girl was in class, a teacher observed that she looked “very disturbed and frustrated”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Siaw told the court. The teacher took the girl out of the class and spoke to her.
“After some prompting, the victim eventually confided that her father had touched her inappropriately,” said the DPP. The teacher told the school counsellor who then lodged a police report that afternoon. The man was arrested that night.
During investigations, the girl revealed that her father had abused her between 2008 and 2009, when her mother was still staying with the family. Her mother had been out of the house at the time.
As a result of the abuse, she tried to cut herself with a ruler and hurt herself with a stapler. She did not reveal the incident to anyone then as she was worried that her parents would get angry.
The man had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with alcohol use disorder of at least moderate severity. While it was possible that he was intoxicated on 26 October 2018, he still knew what he was doing and that it was wrong, the psychiatrist said.
Speaking through an interpreter, the man, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency from the court and said he would no longer drink or smoke after his release from jail.
“When I am released I will become a better husband and a better father. I will look for a good job. I will take on the job of a dishwasher.”
For sexual assault by penetration, the man could have been jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned. For sexual assault by penetration on a person under 14, he could have been jailed between eight and 20 years, and caned at least 12 times.
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