Father gets jail for molesting daughter, judge raps him for victim-shaming at trial
The man had contended at trial that his daughter was promiscuous and fabricating the allegations, but the judge rapped him for victim-shaming.
SINGAPORE: A man accused of molesting his daughter repeatedly from when she was as young as 10 was sentenced to jail on Thursday (Dec 15), with the judge rapping him for "victim-shaming" at trial.
The 54-year-old man had denied the five molestation charges and called relatives to testify for him during the trial, with his wife claiming that her daughter was sexually active though she was underage.
He was convicted at the close of trial and sentenced on Thursday to four years, 10 months and four weeks' jail. Of this, the four weeks are in lieu of caning.
The man maintained his innocence and intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence.
In sentencing, the judge said that the defence amounted to victim-shaming, with witnesses being called to add that the victim was sexually promiscuous.
He said it was already established that the victim had sexual intercourse with other males, and it was not necessary for other witnesses to add on regarding her promiscuity.
The offender's sexual assault against his daughter began in 2011 when she was nine or 10 and persisted until 2017, said the judge.
The acts were highly egregious and appalling in nature, he said. The offender premeditated the crimes, acting when he was alone or family members were sleeping.
The victim suffered psychological damage as a result and has adjustment disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min said the accused repeatedly molested his daughter to satisfy his sexual gratification from 2011 to 2017.
The victim suffered alone and in silence, wrestling with feelings of anguish and shame and unsure if anyone would believe her, she said. The abuse came to light only when she confided in her then-boyfriend.
The judge said the offender exposed his daughter to undue trauma and anxiety by embarking on the tactic of victim-shaming at trial.
The man had highlighted that his daughter was highly sexualised and promiscuous in nature.
At trial, the offender's lawyer Wee Hong Shern raised the fact that the victim had sex with a man she met online when she was 12.
She also previously lodged a false report of molestation against someone else, he said.
The man claimed that his daughter fabricated the allegations against him as she "resents" him for confronting her over her purportedly promiscuous lifestyle.
He claimed that they had many arguments over it, including one occasion where he threatened to report the victim for underage sex.
He claimed that he was seldom at home at night as he was a gambler operating online gambling facilities at the time of the offences.
The offender's wife was in court to support her husband on Thursday.
The prosecutor, Ms Lim, said the fact that the victim had engaged in sexual activities with other men is "wholly irrelevant" and should not have been brought up at trial.
Not only was the victim cross-examined on this, the defence assembled her whole family, including her mother and younger brother, to testify that the victim was promiscuous.
Ms Lim said this was "classic victim-blaming".
She said that even if the victim had engaged in sexual activities with others, the context in which this evidence came about was crucial.
Before the offences by the accused were committed, there was no evidence that the victim was promiscuous. The evidence from an expert psychiatrist showed that the victim's behaviour had been caused by her father's sexual abuse.
Ms Lim said the defence went "above and beyond" victim shaming and said it was "perverse" for the defence to rely on the victim's conduct, which was essentially caused by the accused.
The judge said that the victim's sexual promiscuity is the exact result of the man's offending.
He said the defence should have stopped pursuing the point on promiscuity and agreed with the prosecution that there should be an uplift in the sentence.
The man is out on bail pending appeal.