Girl cuts herself as relief and punishment after dad tried to rape her twice when she was 4

Selina Lum
The Straits Times
Nov 18, 2022

A 37-year-old man admitted in the High Court on Friday that he twice tried to rape his daughter when she was four to five years old.

The man, a Malaysian who used to work as a food server at a hospital, pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted rape, committed a few weeks apart in 2013.

Three other charges, one for molesting the girl in 2013 and two counts of voyeurism for recording images of her genitalia while she was sleeping in 2020, were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jocelyn Teo told the court that there were subsequent occasions of attempted rape, but the victim could not give details of the other incidents due to the passage of time and her young age.

The girl, now 13, suspected what her father had done to her was wrong only after she attended a sexuality education talk in Primary 5, said the DPP.

But she did not tell anyone, as she was afraid her friends would start avoiding her and that her mother would be left alone to support the family if her father was incarcerated.

The girl blamed herself for what her father had done to her, and began cutting herself on her arms and thighs.

In January 2022, the victim’s teacher observed cuts on the victim’s left forearm, and the girl revealed that she had harmed herself due to “sexual assault”.

The school counsellor and child protection officers from the Ministry of Social and Family Development then took her to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for a medical examination. The hospital reported the case to the police.

Between April 12 and Sept 7, the victim underwent 17 psychological counselling sessions.

Her symptoms included intrusive memories of the incidents, feelings of disgust and discomfort, self-blame, lack of positive feelings, self-harm, and difficulties in paying attention and sleeping.

On Friday, the DPP sought 8½ to nine years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, noting that the sexual abuse had caused severe psychological harm to the victim.

In her victim impact statement, the girl said that when she finally realised the nature of what the accused had done to her, she felt “very overwhelmed” and “very alone”.

She said she was not able to tell her mother because “(her) parents are broke and if (the victim’s mother is) left alone, she would have to bear everything herself”.

She also did not think her younger brothers would understand. Although she eventually confided in her close friends, they “(did) not really understand”, she said.

The girl also said she felt “bad and guilty” as the police got involved, and “helpless” as her mother had to bear the family responsibilities and take care of the victim and her brothers on her own.

The prosecutor said: “The victim wanted someone to comfort her for what had happened to her but also felt that she didn’t deserve to be comforted.”

These emotions caused the victim to cut herself as a form of relief and also as a form of punishment, as she felt that she “deserved the pain” and was “a bad person for causing all these”.

The victim stated: “I blamed myself for everything.”

The man, who was arrested on Jan 27, 2022, was diagnosed with paedophilic disorder. A psychiatric report stated that after he came to Singapore in 2001, he watched adult heterosexual pornography almost daily.

Assigned defence counsel Akesh Abhilash said eight years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane were appropriate. He said the offences were no doubt serious and heinous, but noted that the man had “entered an early plea of guilt”.

He added that the man would likely be deported after completing his sentence, and that his wife is in the process of divorcing him.

The case was adjourned to a later date for further arguments on what should be the mandatory minimum sentence for each attempted rape charge.

The prosecution contends that the statutory minimum is eight years, but the defence contends it should be four.

The Straits Times

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