An 18-year-old girl cut off by her own mother because she reported her stepfather to police for raping her over a six-year period in her own home, was provided some relief after a high court in Suva sentenced her abuser to 18 years behind bars.
According to court documents, the abuse started when the victim was 12 years old in 2014.
The first time it happened she was at home from school. It began with sexual assault when her mother was not around. The same evening as her mother slept in another room, it escalated to rape “using physical force” to subdue her. He then told her that no one would believe her if she complained.
The court also heard that “the accused carried out a campaign of rape against the victim” over the six-year period leading up to the most recent case in early August 2020 when the victim was 18 years old and repeating year 12.
The magnitude of the abuse, however, at least between the mentioned dates are uncharged acts as the prosecution did not include all other incidents in the Information provided to court.
The abuse was not known until nine days after the incident in August 2020. The victim’s maternal aunt got suspicious and prodded the victim who then revealed the abuse.
When the matter was reported to police, the victim’s mother cut off all her ties with the victim, the court heard. Since then she has been living with her aunt.
In deciding on the jail term for the 46-year-old man at a high court in Suva, Justice Daniel Goundar considered the trauma the victim felt having to relieve the incident during the trial in court because the accused “expressed very little remorse for his crimes” and took no responsibility for his crimes. He also considered the age gap between the victim and the offender, the period of the abuse, the place where the convicted crimes took place, and the breach of trust by the only man she knew and addressed as her father. Her biological parents had separated when she was about five years old.
“The principal purpose of sentence in this case is to convey to the accused the community’s disapproval of the abhorrent nature of his crimes by way of denunciation,” Justice Goundar said. “The other relevant purpose of the sentence is deterrence, both special and general. The court’s duty is to send a clear message that anyone who sexually abuses a child will be severely punished.”
The man is not eligible to apply for parole until he has served 12 years in jail.