Woman: I want to marry my child's tormentor
Woman insists boyfriend who abused her daughter, 7, will turn over a new leaf after serving jail sentence
This is what her boyfriend did to her young daughter.
On Jan 12 last year, the air-conditioning technician, then 28, forced the girl, who was seven at the time, to perform half squats for about 15 minutes.
While she was doing that, he placed a lit cigarette that he was smoking near her private parts for a few minutes.
When the girl's aunt wanted to inform the police about the incident, he threatened to kill the family.
On Feb 10, he slapped the girl on the face multiple times, pinched her left thigh, and rubbed chilli padi on her lips.
The well-built man, now 29, was jailed for three months and two weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts of ill-treating the child and one count of criminal intimidation. (See other report)
Two other counts of ill-treating her and an unrelated charge of voluntarily causing hurt were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Despite what he had put her daughter through, his girlfriend said she plans to marry him after he is released from prison.
The petite part-time waitress, 32, told The New Paper yesterday that she has forgiven him.
"I'm three months' pregnant with his child, and I'm giving him one last chance," she said.
"I'm confident that my fiancé's stint behind bars will help him turn over a new leaf."
We are not naming the man to protect his victim's identity.
She said that she has two daughters - the ill-treated girl, who is now eight and in Primary Two, and her sister, who is seven.
She married their father in 2004, but they divorced nine years later because of his drug problem.
EX IN JAIL AS WELL
"My ex-hubby is now behind bars for drug-related offences. He had been in and out of jail many times before this and I just couldn't take it any more," she told TNP.
Though she had known the man for 10 years, they became an item only a few years ago.
He was living with them in her one-room rental flat in Telok Blangah at the time of the offences.
The woman insisted that he is not a violent man, but admitted that he slapped her once last year because of relationship problems that she declined to disclose.
"He is a very happy-go-lucky and loving man. My daughters were very close to him and even treated him like he was their dad. That's why I was shocked that he would abuse my older girl."
She added that he was "under a lot of stress" when he ill-treated the child on Jan 12 last year.
The woman and her sister saw him placing the lit cigarette near the girl's private parts.
She said: "I had never seen him abusing my kids before this. My girl was crying in pain. I was also in tears and begged him to stop. I tried to stop him but couldn't because he is much stronger than I."
She informed the police the next day. She was also home when he slapped her daughter's face and rubbed chilli padi on her lips on Feb 10. Again, she called the police.
Eyes brimming with tears, she said that Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) officers went to her home a few days later and took her daughters away.
She said: "The girls are now living with my ex-husband's mother and I haven't seen them for about a year. I've gone to her flat many times, but I wasn't allowed to see my girls.
"I'm now living alone in my flat and I miss my daughters so much. I hope they will be returned to me soon."
SAFETY OF CHILD
Responding to TNP's queries, MSF said that its Child Protective Service was involved in the case last year because of safety concerns for the child.
Its spokesman added: "Subsequently, the child was placed under her grandparents' care as they were protective and were also looking after her younger sibling. Support services were also put in place to ensure the children's safety and well-being.
"The mother is presently supported by various help agencies to work on her parenting and ability to care for the children in future."
For now, the woman is looking forward to her boyfriend's release and their upcoming marriage.
She said: "Once I get my girls back, I will ensure that he will not commit the same mistakes again. He has also promised not to harm my girls.
"But if he were to go back on his word, I won't hesitate to call the police and he can rot in jail after that."
He is a very happy-go-lucky and loving man. My daughters were very close to him and even treated him like he was their dad. That's why I was shocked that he would abuse my older girl.
- The mother
Man was still rubbing chilli on girl when police showed up
In a fit of anger after thinking that his girlfriend's daughter had been rude to him, the man forced her to perform half squats for about 15 minutes.
The air-conditioning technician also placed a lit cigarette near her private parts for a few minutes.
He was jailed for three months and two weeks yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of criminal intimidation and two counts of ill-treating the girl, who was then seven years old.
Two other counts of ill-treating the child and an unrelated charge of voluntarily causing hurt were taken into consideration.
He ill-treated the girl in her mother's Telok Blangah flat on Jan 12 last year after suspecting her aunt of instigating her to behave disrespectfully towards him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo told the court yesterday that the man decided to punish the girl until she revealed the identity of the person who had taught her to "show attitude".
The ill-treatment took place in front of her mother and her aunt.
At around 9.30pm the next day, the aunt told the girl's mother that she wanted to inform the police about the incident.
The man got angry when he found out about this and he threatened his girlfriend: "You all tell the police and before the police arrive, all of you will die by my hand."
Out of fear, the 32-year-old part-time waitress rushed to the void deck with her two sisters and her daughter and called the police.
In another incident on Feb 10, the man went to the girl's school on his motorcycle at around 2pm to take her home.
When he met her teacher, he was told that the girl had said there was no one at home to guide her in her studies.
This upset him, and while they were walking to his motorbike, he pinched the girl on the left thigh.
When they reached a carpark near their home, he took off her helmet and slapped her hard on the left cheek. He slapped her left cheek again when they were outside the flat.
When his girlfriend, who was at home, told him she wanted to take her daughter out for lunch, he forbade the child from going out.
Later that afternoon, he slapped her again and shouted at her. After asking her to bring him chilli padi from the fridge, he rubbed them on her lips.
When the mother saw this, she left the flat and called the police. He was still rubbing chilli padi on her lips when police officers arrived at the flat.
The girl was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital, where she was found to have injuries, including bruises on her left thigh and forehead, and a wound on her scalp.
In mitigation, the man, who did not have a lawyer, told District Judge Luke Tan yesterday that he committed the offences out of anger when he was "under some stress".
He also said that his girlfriend is three months pregnant.
Before sentencing him, Judge Tan said that what he had done to the child was cruel.
"Now that you are going to be a father, I hope you take the time to reflect on what you had done," he said.
For each count of ill-treating the girl, the man could have been jailed up to four years and fined up to $4,000.
"Now that you are going to be a father, I hope you take the time to reflect on what you had done."
- District Judge Luke Tan, who told the man that what he did to the child was cruel
Experts: Man, girl need help
The mother should seriously weigh the pros and cons before marrying the man who ill-treated her daughter, experts told TNP yesterday.
Counsellor John Vasavan said: "She needs to think twice and consider the possible implications of her actions.
"However, you can't stop her if she finally decides to marry him. It's her choice."
Mr Vasavan, who is from Congruence Counselling Service Singapore, also said that her ties with her daughter could be badly affected if she decides to marry the girl's tormentor.
"As she grows older, the girl may feel betrayed. She may also feel that her mother chose her abuser over her.
"As a result, the girl may distance herself from her mum."
Mr David Kan, founder of Family Life First and its senior counsellor, said that as a result of the ill-treatment, the girl may feel unloved and rejected when she grows older.
He said: "She might still be traumatised. She needs professional help from people like counsellors and psychologists to help her get through her ordeal."
Asked if the man deserves a second chance, Mr Vasavan said: "To err is human but to forgive is divine."
He added that the man could turn over a new leaf when he is released from prison.
But Mr Kan also pointed to the possibility that the man could return to his old ways.
"Like the mother and daughter, the man also needs professional help to get him back on track," he said.
"She needs to think twice and consider the possible implications of her actions. However, you can't stop her if she finally decides to marry him. It's her choice."
- Counsellor John Vasavan