SINGAPORE: For almost eight years, a young girl suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather.
It took physical violence for the girl, who is now 23, to lodge a police report against the 45-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect her identity.
District Judge Kenneth Yap sentenced the man to seven-and-a-half years in jail on Monday (Sep 10).
The girl was only three years old when her mother married the man, but it was only when she was a teenager that she realised that he was not her biological father.
The abuse began when she reached puberty in upper primary, continuing until September 2014.
In 2006, when the girl was about 12 years old and in primary school, her stepfather approached her in the flat they lived in.
He first ensured that no other family members were there to see what he was about to do, then he molested her.
What started out as hugging, mouth-kissing and molesting over the clothes became skin-on-skin molestation, and eventually, the man asked his stepdaughter to perform sexual acts on him.
By the time she was in secondary school the girl feared her stepfather, as she was subject to sexual abuse on an almost weekly basis, and her previous attempts at resisting him were futile. So she complied with his directions.
The abuse continued through secondary school to when the victim was in polytechnic, the court heard.
The man committed the offences when he was alone with his stepdaughter, or when the other family members were asleep or not watching. He warned the girl not to reveal the incidents to anyone, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana said.
"Fearing reprisal, the victim complied and did not break her silence," she said. "She finally disclosed the incidents to her family after the accused caused hurt to her on Sep 7, 2014."
HE HIT, KICKED HER AFTER SHE REFUSED HIS ADVANCES
On that day, the man waited for his stepdaughter to return home from work, which she had started just a month before.
He was unhappy that she had been coming home late after work, and told her to tell him when she was reaching home that day.
When she reached the void deck of the home at about 10pm, he asked her to follow him to an open space near the lift lobby, where he asked her to perform sexual acts on him.
She refused to comply, and they argued - the man asked her why she was saying no, and she answered that she did not like it.
He asked her again, saying that she had performed similar acts on him previously. He also asked if she had a boyfriend, and asked her to quit her job.
Infuriated by her answers and refusal, the man hit her on the head and kicked her body. When his shoe came off, he used it to hit her on the shoulder.
His stepdaughter cried and shouted for help but no one came to her aid. The assault ceased only when she apologised to her stepfather.
When she returned home, her mother and brother saw that she was in tears. She told them that her stepfather had hit her, and they called the police.
While on the way to hospital she told her brother, grandparents and aunt that her stepfather had been sexually abusing her.
The next day, she moved to live with her grandparents and lodged a police report a few days later with encouragement from her family.
She was also afraid that her stepfather may also sexually abuse her two younger stepsisters, who were the man's own children.
ACCUSED SUFFERS FROM PAEDOPHILIC DISORDER
The man pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual penetration of a minor, one charge of voluntarily causing hurt and one charge of committing an obscene act with a child.
In the course of police investigations, he admitted to molesting his stepdaughter, saying that he committed the crimes as he was "curious, drunk and stressed".
An assessment by the Institute of Mental Health found that he suffers from paedophilic disorder and had problems with alcohol consumption. He was assessed with a high risk of reoffending.
As for the victim, counselling sessions she attended after the matter was disclosed revealed that she was visibly traumatised by the incidents, exhibiting symptoms of emotional trauma such as disassociation, lack of sleep and fear of meeting her stepfather.
The man, who was unrepresented, said he committed the offences because he was under the influence of alcohol and under great pressure.
Asking for a jail term of seven years and six months to be imposed, the prosecutor said that "this is an extremely appalling case where the victim, a young adolescent girl, had been subjected to years of sexual exploitation at the hands of her stepfather".
The prosecutor added: "The victim, who is now 23 years old, suffered the accused’s sexual abuse for close to a third of her life and this has evidently left her with irreparable harm."
For sexual penetration of a minor, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years, fined, or both.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that the man could have been jailed for up to 20 years, fined, caned, or any combination of these punishments. This is wrong. For this charge, the punishment is up to 10 years' jail, a fine, or both. We apologise for the error.