Sexually abused by stepfather: She was afraid no one would believe her

Over three years, her family moved 14 times on both sides of the Causeway because of financial difficulties.

In 2011, Hana (not her real name), then 13, even had to live in a tent at Pasir Ris Park for a while.

As if that was not bad enough, she was sexually abused by her stepfather in nearly all the places they had called "home".

Her stepfather, whom we shall call Dan, 37, pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts each of rape, outrage of modesty and voluntarily causing hurt, and one count of sexual assault by penetration.

Eleven charges, including two other counts of rape against Hana, and four counts of voluntarily causing hurt to her sister, will be taken into consideration during sentencing. He did not sexually abuse the sister, who is two years younger than Hana.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Prem Raj Prabakaran told Justice Tan Siong Thye yesterday that Dan had married the girl's mother in January 2008.

Five months later, the family moved to a three-bedroom unit in a condominium at Larkin in Johor Baru. This marked the beginning of the girl's ordeal.

Dan, a real estate agent who did not have a lawyer, molested Hana, then 11, by groping her breasts in her bedroom while the others were asleep at night.

DPP Prem said Hana felt uncomfortable about this but did not tell her mother, 38, as she feared that no one would believe her.

In February 2009, the family moved to a terrace house in Skudai, Johor Baru. The entire family slept in the master bedroom as it had air-conditioning. Dan would grope Hana's chest when everyone else was asleep.

He got bolder over time.

On several occasions, whenever he was alone with Hana, he would take her to a bathroom and sexually assault her.

Once, he forced the girl to perform oral sex on him and stopped only when he heard his wife approaching.

Hana and her sister moved back to Singapore in August 2009 so she could sit for her Primary School Leaving Examination. They stayed with their aunt in a flat in western Singapore.

Dan and their mother joined them a month later, after the Hari Raya Puasa holidays.

He insisted that Hana sleep close to him and he would molest her at night. This sleeping arrangement continued even after the family moved to other places.

PHYSICAL ABUSE

He also physically abused Hana and her sister. DPP Prem said Dan hit and kicked the girls for not opening the front door for him when he wanted to go out some time between April and August 2010. He stopped only when his wife intervened.

Between February and March 2011, Dan assaulted Hana at a secluded spot near Changi Village during a family outing after he caught her sending text messages to a boy. He grabbed her head and slammed it repeatedly against the rear door of a car.

Between Oct 7 and 14 that year, he raped her for the first time in their flat in eastern Singapore.

He raped her three more times in the flat, the final time in November that year. The court heard that he also punched his younger stepdaughter.

Dan's wife, an administrative assistant, decided to leave the flat with her children, including a son with Dan, on Nov 30, 2011, because of his increasingly abusive behaviour. She initiated divorce proceedings against him the next day.

Hana finally broke her silence about her rape in March last year while discussing the issue of virginity with two of her friends, telling them she had lost her virginity to her stepfather. One of them advised her to tell her mother.

Hana told her mum that night but made a police report only 13 days later as she was afraid of her stepfather and felt embarrassed about her ordeal.

Dan, who had been married twice before, was arrested. The couple's divorce was finalised on Aug 29 last year.

He will be sentenced on Jan 2.

DPP Prem urged the court to sentence Dan to at least 30 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

For each count of rape, he can be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.


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