『きんしんかん:性加害のニワトリとたまご』

ある本がきっかけで、逃げるように東京に移住した日系アメリカ人の斎氣心。初めて心を開ける人に出逢うも、彼にDVをしてしまう。確執が長年ある母親のような自分に絶望した。原因は、母の「躾(暴力)」と女性ホルモンだと考え、低容量ピルYAZを服用したが、副作用で臨死した。古今東西の代替医療による精神治療を試行錯誤する中、幼児期に父親から受け始めた猥褻を自覚する。それでも問題が雪だるま化するため、両親に虐待の事実を問いただした。しかし己の被害を自他に明示できた瞬間、自分もきょうだいに性的加害をしていた記憶が蘇り...

【24】Incest in Japan: Rapist Father Found "Not Guilty"

Japan's sex crime law was revised in 2017 for the first time in 110 years*1. And yet it is still full of loopholes for the perpetrators and is continuing to torment victims. 

 

 

Father Who Raped His Teenage Daughter Found "Not Guilty"

 

A father who constantly raped his daughter from when she was 13 to 19-years-old, was found not guilty at a district court in Aichi prefecture on March 26, 2019. 

 

Under Japanese criminal law, indicting sex offenders has a high hurdle because if the victim is 13 or older, the perpetrator cannot be punished for committing rape as long as there was no violence or threats involved as well. Thus, the father was indicted on charges of "quasi-forced intercourse*2," which refers to cases in which the victim is too incapacitated to put up resistance, either by drugs, alcohol or due to psychological factors*3. The persecutors argued that the daughter's will to resist diminished during the two counts of rape when she was 19 because of his long history of violence and sexual abuse.

 

The father was indicted for only two counts of rape at his workplace and at a hotel in August and September 2017. He was not charged for prior abuse, which started when the daughter was an elementary student. He beat and kicked her repeatedly but her mother would merely tell him to stop when it escalated, but mostly just watched silently and even took his side. The daughter didn't consult her mother about her father's sexual abuse because she couldn't trust her*4.

 

When the daughter was a junior high school student, the father started to molest her and perform oral sex on her when she was in bed. From that winter, he started raping her. Until she graduated high school, she was violated once or twice a week. It increased to three to four times a week before she entered vocational school in 2016 *5.

 

The daughter eventually told her younger brothers, and they helped by sleeping in the same room with her, from autumn to winter of 2016. The abuse ceased during this short period but when the brothers started sleeping in other rooms the following year, the father resumed raping her in her bedroom and the frequency increased even more*6

 

The penal code that was revised in 2017 established new crimes against children under the age of 18: "intercourse by a guardian" and "indecency by a guardian." However, by this time, the daughter was already 19. She could not indict him on any of these other counts because the criminal law does not apply to past cases*7.

 

The judge acknowledged that the daughter had not consented to sexual activities, and was under psychological control after being sexually abused since 13 years old. However, in Japan, the age of consent is set at 13, and charging the perpetrator for intercourse with a child over 13 requires proof of violent action or threats*8.   

 

Within several weeks before the rape on August 12, 2017, the father physically abused her. He started molesting the daughter while she was asleep, and when she brushed his hands away or tried to pull her pants back up when he tried to strip her, he punched her temple several times, kicked her thighs, and calves, and stomped on her back. Huge bruises formed on her legs*9. The father did not rape the daughter right then. Instead, he spoke in her ear, "You just use up money and don't do anything," and left the room*10

 

The court recognized that the father's control over the daughter was stronger than ever because he had lent her a large amount of money for tuition and asked her to pay it back along with living expenses. 

 

However, the main focus of the trial was whether the daughter was able to resist her father. It was focused on the fact that the daughter got into the father's car to be taken to his workplace and the hotel, despite her friend's attempt to dissuade her, and the fact that she undressed in front of him*11.

 

A psychiatrist who examined the daughter for three days provided expert witness and stated that her diminished will to resist was because she was under "learned helplessness" due to years of sexual abuse*12

 

Presiding judge Hiromitsu Ukai*13, recognized that the daughter didn't consent to intercourse but ruled that "reasonable doubt remained about certifying her as being in a state of 'not being able to put up any resistance*14 because "her personality was not under complete control of her father." Not seeing the wood for the trees, Ukai decided that the daughter could have refused if she wanted to but didn't, and therefore ruled that the crime of "quasi-forced sexual intercourse" can't be established against the father on the two counts of rape.

 

Prosecutors appealed the court's decision.  

 

 

Reversed Ruling of the Higher Court 

The Nagoya Higher Court scrapped the lower court ruling that acquitted him approximately a year ago, on March 12, 2020. The 50-year old father was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for quasi-forced intercourse*15.

 

The higher court recognized that the daughter's passive response to the father was based on her state of no longer being able to resist his advances. The father took advantage of her state and habitually used her as an outlet for his sexual gratification. The daughter's psychological distress is extreme and serious, exacerbated by the fact that the perpetrator was her own father*16.

 

Presiding Judge Mitsuru Horiuchi criticized how the ruling of the lower court required "the complete control of personality," which is a stricter scope to establish the crime than the "inability to resist," which was initially set in the ruling. No mention was made of the reason for changing the scope either.*17.

 

The daughter commented "When at first the verdict was "not guilty", I broke down. I couldn't go to work. After seeing the higher court's decision today, I could finally feel a bit at ease. Last year, we saw that several men were acquitted of sex crimes across the nation, and the #MeToo movement and the flower demonstration spread in response. When hearing about them, I can feel that the lawsuit was meaningful. Speaking out about sexual victimization is not easy but, as some did, others were able to say 'Me too.'"))

 

The father appealed the decision to the Supreme Court two days after the verdict but was rejected on November 4th*18

My Opinion

By the time the trials finally ended in 2020, the daughter had to have been at least 22 or 23 years old. That means she's already suffered for more than 10 years including abuse by her father and second rape by the district judge, and she has to live with the scar for the rest of her life. It's mindboggling how short the 10-year sentence the father received and how Ukai, the judge, is still at the same branch of the Nagoya District Court. 

 

What's even more disturbing is the fact that he had the audacity to appeal to Supreme Court. This is proof that he doesn't feel remorse. It is a known fact that most sex offenders repeat their crimes over and over again. And to let them get out of jail at all is a horrendous idea. I hate to say this but considering the facts, child molesters and incest perpetrators should get life sentences. If the prison gets overfilled with them, they should get executed to make room. Not on an execution chair but pain-free euthanasia will suffice. Their lives will not be wasted but will serve as examples, so people think twice before following their paths. Instead of wasting taxpayers' money to let them live on, we need to spend it on improving sex education, training therapists who don't just resort to prescribing drugs but simply listen to their patients, and other means to give hope to children, who are our future.

 

I understand most sex offenders were sexually victimized at a young age but saving innocent children is more promising for the future, than trying to fix damaged adults who have been programmed to hurt. 

 

Keywords:

Quasi-Forced Sexual Intercourse 準強制性交罪

Learned Helplessness  学習性無力

 

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