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Sun, Feb 21, 2010
The New Paper
A mom's agony: her son rapes daughter

IT was a dilemma no parent should ever have to face.

What should a mother do when her young daughter is a rape victim - and her son is the rapist?

It was a nightmare for Madam Jane (not her real name), a 40-year-old former masseuse who said her three children are her only reason for living.

Between 2005 and 2007, her elder son raped his younger sister three times and outraged her modesty on a number of occasions.

The girl, now 16, was only 12 or 13 when her ordeal began. Her brother, who was around 17 then, is now a 21-year-old full-time National Serviceman attached to the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

We are not naming anyone in the report to protect the victim.

Yesterday, Madam Jane was not in court when her son was sentenced to 13 years in jail and 15 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to his offences. She could not bear "the weight" of it, she told The New Paper in Mandarin.

Looking haggard and pale in their three-room flat in the Queenstown area, Madam Jane claimed that she first found out about her son's crime when she secretly flipped through her daughter's diary.

She said: "My daughter loves to write a diary. From it, I learnt a lot about her. She wrote that she hated her brother.

"She wanted to kill her brother for what he did to her. But she also wrote, 'if I kill him, won't my parents hate me?'"

Madam Jane said she discovered the rapes some time in 2008, about a year before her son's arrest on 2 June 2009.

The rapes happened in the family home, in the bedroom the two siblings shared.

Still looming over Madam Jane's tear-stained face in the cramped living room where she spoke were trophies that her son had won in various sporting competitions.

They still sat on the top shelf of the cabinet, as if no thing had changed. What did she do when she found out?

"I called my sister in Canada. I told her I suspected that my son had raped my daughter. Do you know how hard that was?" she said.

To try and resolve the issue and protect her daughter, she tried to get the girl to go to Canada to live with her aunt

Her daughter refused - because of her boyfriend, Madam Jane claimed.

But why didn't Madam Jane call the police?

Her response seemed to indicate that she could not bring herself to do so and was hoping her daughter would take the first step.

"One is my son, the other is my daughter. What can I do? I thought that if any action is taken, it must be her decision," she said.

Madam Jane said she dropped heavy hints to her daughter, saying if anything was wrong, she should go to the court and that she would stand by her daughter.

"I told her, if anything is wrong, you must talk," she said.

Madam Jane also said she spoke to her husband about this, but he said she was fantasising.

She added that he did not "wake up" until the charge sheet was in his hands.

Her son's crimes had come to light after her daughter informed her secondary school principal about the molests and rapes by her brother.

The daughter made a police report on 30 Apr 2009.

At that time, she was living in her then-boyfriend's home. Run away from home She had run away from home at the end of 2007, without telling her parents the truth.

Earlier that year, the son had punched his sister on the face and body several times in their flat after she confronted him about the sexual abuse when both their parents were out.

She fled to her neighbour's place. The police were called and later advised her parents to apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO) for her. But they eventually decided not to do so. When asked why they didn't apply for the PPO, Madam Jane said she encouraged her daughter to do so, but she wasn't keen.

She said of her son: "He was bad-tempered at the time. Very brash. He couldn't control himself."

Sweeping her hands in an arc, she added: "The house wasn't always like that. It was pristine.

"But after one fight with his father, he smashed everything. He took a hammer and broke every glass panel in the house. It happened around two years ago. Twice in one year."

The court was told that Madam Jane and her husband were estranged and slept in different rooms.

She feels partly responsible for what happened.

"At that time I was busy earning money. This is a tragedy. It might be the result of the family's issues - everyone was stressed," she said.

She claimed that her husband, a crane driver, suffered from depression and had some "outside issues" which she refused to elaborate on.

"Maybe what happened to his father may have left my son some psychological scars.

Maybe if I had the courage to face it, or get a divorce, things might have been different," she said.

She also admitted that she disappeared from their lives for about half a year about three years ago when she developed a growth on her chest.

She left the home as didn't want her children to see how badly she was suffering.

The ailment has not been diagnosed. Madam Jane said she has not seen a doctor as she is worried about a bad diagnosis.

At least, in ignorance, she can still give herself hope, she said.

But she believes her son is truly repentant.

"On the day the police came for him, he came before me on his knees and asked for my forgiveness," she said.

He told her his greatest fear was that she and her mother, who's in her 60s, would not be alive to see him after he's released from prison as they were both in poor health.

She showed The New Paper a handwritten letter he had sent her the day before yesterday's sentencing.

In it, he wrote: "I hope you recover soon.

And granny too. Hope you will be healthy soon. Although I don't know what sickness you have, I know you will recover soon and take me home after I am released from prison."

But she admitted that her son deserved to go to jail for what he had done.

"I want my son to learn a lesson.

I know he'll be in jail for a long time. I know he will suffer. But he must learn," she said.

 

Barely 13 when brother first raped her

FROM 2005 to 2007, the accused raped his younger biological sister three times. He also molested her three times during this period.

The victim, who's five years younger than him, was only 12 or 13 when the first rape occurred.

The court was told that each time, it happened late at night when the girl was asleep.

At the time, the siblings shared a bedroom, with the girl sleeping on a mattress next to his bed. The second son was living with his godfather.

The accused had assumed the victim was unaware of his actions. But the girl was awake. She made no move out of fear and embarrassment.

He did not use any contraception when he committed the acts.

Before each act of sexual abuse, the accused had watched pornographic material on the Internet.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of outrage of modesty. Three other similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

He also pleaded guilty to three traffic-related offences.

He was caught riding his father's motorcycle without his permission, a valid driving licence or valid insurance when he was stopped at a road block along Farrer Road on 30 Jan 2009.

He was sentenced to 13 years in jail and given 15 strokes of the cane. For rape, he could have been jailed 20 years and caned.

For outrage of modesty, he could have been jailed two years and caned.

 

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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