She suspected that her lover was sexually abusing her seven-year-old daughter but did nothing to stop it.
The 40-year-old mother’s inaction allowed the man to continue – and even escalate his depraved acts – for seven years.
The mother, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity, was sentenced to the maximum six months jail on her sole charge of intentionally omitting to give any information regarding an offence that she was legally bound to give.
Her 48-year-old lover was sentenced to 34 years’ jail and the maximum 24 stokes of the cane on 26 February last year after admitting to four counts of statutory rape. He is currently serving his jail sentence.
The girl, who is now 16, is currently living with her maternal grandparents and has not had contact with her mother since investigations commenced.
The girl’s mother began an affair with the man in 2006, even though he was married with a son.
From 2010 to 2014, the girl, was sent to live with the man’s family during the school holidays as the man had offered to care for her. He had stopped working as a taxi driver by then.
He began molesting the girl, then seven-years-old, at his flat which he shared with his wife and son. The girl did not know the acts were wrong but did not like them as they were painful. She told her mother about the abuse and her mother quarrelled with the man, but the acts persisted.
Eventually, the girl stopped telling her mother about these sexual assaults as it only triggered arguments between her mother and the man, but did nothing to stop the attacks. The girl would deny the assaults when asked by her mother as she did not want to spark a quarrel.
The girl only realised the acts were wrong after attending sex education classes in Primary 5, but she did not know how to deal with the problem.
In 2014, the man told his lover to move in with his family with her daughter so that he could “take care of them and instil discipline” in the girl. The girl objected to the suggestion but to no avail.
After the girl moved in, the man’s sexual assaults escalated to rape and forced oral sex.
“The man grew more brazen and even asked the victim (then 11 years old) to accompany him in the shower (for sexual intercourse) during the daytime in the (mother’s) presence,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling told the court.
The mother saw the man and her daughter leaving the toilet together on several occasions. She asked her daughter whether the two had sex and the girl would lie as she did not want her mother to be angry with the man. Instead, the mother would direct her anger at her daughter.
After tolerating with the living arrangements for about two years, the man’s wife filed for divorce with him in 2016 and left the flat with her son. When the man’s lover and her daughter were staying in the flat, his wife was unaware of the sexual abuse.
The girl decided that she could no longer endure the sexual abuse and confided in the man’s wife after the latter left the flat. Shocked, she referred the girl to a social worker, who brought the girl to lodge a police report on 29 June 2016.
In her statement to the police, the girl’s mother admitted to her suspicions that her lover and daughter were having sex .
DPP Chee sought a six-month jail term for the woman, stating that the escalation of sexual offences against the girl could have been prevented if the mother had reported the offences when she was first informed, and if she had stopped leaving the girl in the man’s care.
“The (mother’s) offence is of a genre that causes feelings of revulsion to the community. Victims of familial sexual abuse often face additional pressure from other family members not to expose the rapist out of a misguided reaction to preserve the unity of the family and to avoid the publicity and shame that inevitably ensues from such a conviction,” said DPP Chee.
“The isolation and lack of family support further exacerbates the victim’s trauma and helplessness,” said the DPP, who added that the victim still misses her mother.
The mother, who was unrepresented, asked the court for a lenient sentence.
“My mother is suffering from cancer and I have joint pain in my legs,” said the woman, who did not express any apology in court. The woman still provides financial support to her daughter once every few months.
District Judge May Mesenas told the woman, “As a mother, you should be protecting your own child.”
The judge added that she would be convening a community court conference to decide how to bring the woman and her daughter together, as “they are still mother and daughter”.
For the charge of intentionally omitting to give information which she was legally bound, the woman could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined.