SINGAPORE - A girl who had been molested by her father at least once a week finally stood up to him at the age of 15 after suffering in silence for years.
Instead of being contrite, the man punished her by locking her out of their flat for hours almost every day that month until her mother came home from work.
When the abuse escalated to rape, the girl was so afraid of being punished that she simply covered her face with a pillow and silently endured the assaults.
On Monday (Feb 22), the 44-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane in a case described by the High Court judge as "sickening".
Justice Dedar Singh Gill said the sentence reflects the court's strong disapproval of the man's "vile and wanton acts committed by the accused against his long-suffering biological daughter".
The man pleaded guilty to three rape charges, with another 24 charges for sexual offences taken into consideration.
The former food delivery rider cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identity of the victim, who is now 17 years old.
The court heard that the father of four started sexually abusing the victim, his only daughter, when she was nine years old.
At least once a week between 2013 and 2018, he would enter her room while she was sleeping and touch her under her clothes.
On May 11, 2018, the girl ran away from home due to stress caused by the molestation, her mid-year examinations and a quarrel with her mother.
A missing-persons report was lodged, and she returned home the next day.
The abuse stopped for a while but resumed in December 2018 when he touched her breasts.
After she told him that she was not comfortable and walked away, he punished her by making her stand facing the wall for an hour.
For most of the rest of the month, he locked her out of the flat for hours. When the girl's mother asked why she was outside, he replied that he was punishing the girl for not doing housework.
From January 2019 onwards, the man progressed to rape and other penetrative sex acts while they were alone after she returned home from school.
She did not dare tell anyone about the abuse and was also worried that her family would be broken up if she did.
On July 31, 2019, she stayed out after school to avoid being at home alone with him but was scolded by her mother for coming home late.
The next day, three of her schoolmates noticed that she was moody and pestered her to tell them what was wrong.
She was initially reluctant to share but eventually revealed, through tears, that her father had sexually abused her.
The schoolmates then reported the matter to the girl's form teacher and the matter was reported to the police on the same day.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh said the punishment the man meted out had a "profound impact" on the victim and illustrated her vulnerability as a teenager who lived under the authority of her parents.
The DPP said: "This manipulative and victim-blaming behaviour is a clear reflection of the accused's lack of remorse and his willingness to abuse his authority over the victim."
Defence counsel Favian Kang said his client knows there was no excuse for what he had done. Letters from the man's wife, second son and the victim were submitted to the court.