Jail, caning for man who got girlfriend’s underage daughter pregnant
29-year-old sentenced to 12 years' jail and six strokes of cane
A 29-year-old man who had sex with his girlfriend's underage daughter from when she was 14, and got her pregnant, was yesterday sentenced to 12 years' jail and six strokes of the cane.
This is believed to be the first case of underage sex involving an exploitative relationship after amendments to the penal code took effect last year that raised the penalties for such cases.
The girl, who regarded the man as "daddy", gave birth to a daughter last year, at age 15.
The man pleaded guilty to three counts of having sex with the minor in October.
He cannot be named due to a court order protecting the identity of the girl, who is now 17.
The court heard that prior to this incident, the girl had been sexually abused by another family member when she was between 10 and 12 years old.
The man first met the victim's mother in 2015 and they moved in together in May 2016.
The girl stayed with them later that year.
He eventually gained the victim's trust by becoming the father figure that she lacked because her biological father was in jail.
The prosecutors said: "He would shower her with affection by spending relatively large sums of money to celebrate her birthday and taking her out for her favourite activities such as ice skating.
"He would also care for her when she fell ill and guide her when she needed assistance with her homework."
Over time, the girl and the unemployed man developed close ties.
The pair's relationship turned sexual in late 2018.
They had unprotected sex regularly in their home when the girl's mother - the household's sole breadwinner - was at work.
This continued for more than a year and the girl became pregnant. On May 14 last year, the girl was admitted to hospital for severe stomach pain, which medical staff determined to be labour contractions.
The police were alerted because the girl was below 16 years old.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority also alerted the police two weeks later when the girl showed up to register the birth of her daughter and did not indicate any details of the child's father.
The man was arrested in his home in July and a DNA test identified him as the biological father of the girl's child.
A doctor found that the man's repeated sexual abuse had caused the girl to have passive suicidal thoughts.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jaime Pang sought a jail term of 10 to 12 years' and six strokes of the cane for the man, saying his behaviour was "persistent" and had "occurred over a period of a few years".
For each count of having sex with a minor, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
For sexual assault survivors, trauma lingers for long time
After being sexually assaulted some 30 years ago, Iris (not her real name) embarked on a destructive journey and for a long time could not even hold down a full-time job.
Now in her 50s, she is finally getting special help through a new community-based pilot programme to deal with the trauma and with it, put an end to a pattern of bad relationships.
Care Corner's Project StART initiative, a family violence specialist centre, focuses on putting victims of sexual assault on the path to recovery, regardless of when the attack took place.
Iris was assaulted in the home of a man she was dating. She went there with no intention of having sex, but he forced her to do so.
After the rape, Iris found herself largely in abusive relationships - a pattern that traced back to the trauma of the attack, social workers said.
One man beat her up so badly that the abuse left scars and bruises on her face. Iris is also averse to being touched and puts on long-sleeved tops and up to four layers of clothes.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic started, Iris began wearing two masks to avoid being recognised in public, a Care Corner social worker said.
For sexual assault survivors, the social worker said, "this incident does not have to be the final story of their life".
Another victim, Anna (not her real name), who is in her 40s, had a good job with a high salary.
She was sexually assaulted by a man she had met for the first time through a dating app.
She hesitated to get help at first because she felt a deep sense of shame and was confused about why she did not fight back when she was attacked.
Worried about what her family would think of her, she did not tell them what happened but later mustered the courage to speak to them.
Instead of showing support, they chastised her for using a dating app and suggested she was to blame for getting sexually assaulted.
A few months later, she quit her job and struggled with anxiety and fears of being attacked again. These feelings would remain dormant and then a few months later, resurface without warning.
When they did, Anna would send her social workers 20 to 30 messages asking for help, going up to 40 messages whenever it rained - because it was raining when she was attacked.
A case worker at Care Corner said: "Right now we are helping her learn to cope with daily life. It's about helping her take control."