A family’s tragic story of complex blood relations and claims of 35 years of sexual assault were brought to light during an investigation into a domestic abuse case filed two years ago in Beitou District (北投), Taipei.
A 45-year-old woman, who used the pseudonym A-ko (阿柯), filed a domestic abuse case against her 68-year-old adoptive father, surnamed Chen (陳), whom she accused of sexually assaulting her since she was in second grade.
To force A-ko to drop the charges, Chen doused himself with gasoline and attempted to immolate himself, but was prevented from doing so after A-ko and her two sons, currently 20 and 16 years old, wrestled the lighter away from him, prosecutors said.
Chen was also brought up on charges of causing bodily harm after allegedly cutting A-ko with a box cutter when she was attempting to disarm him.
The Shilin District Court said it did not have enough evidence to convict Chen on charges of rape for the period between Jan. 1, 2001, and 2009, adding that A-ko had also claimed that after giving birth to her first son she had stopped resisting Chen’s “rapes.”
The court found Chen not guilty on 40 rape charges. He was sentenced to one year and two months in jail for making threats and causing bodily harm.
Investigators said A-ko was born in 1966, but because her father and mother by birth were unmarried and were underage at the time, A-ko was given to her mother’s elder sister.
In 1979, Chen applied to adopt A-ko and he became her father.
While in junior college, a five-year school system incorporating the three years of high school and the first two years of college — prevalent in Taiwan’s education system at that time — Chen took A-ko to and from school, which enabled him to be alone with A-ko and to rape her, prosecutors had charged.
A-ko first became pregnant at age 19, but she chose to have an abortion to avoid her case becoming public. She then gave birth to two sons by Chen in 1991 and 1995.
A-ko had told her legal mother that Chen was abusing her, but her mother never intervened and A-ko suffered years of abuse as a result, they said.
During testimony in court, A-ko’s legal mother said she was unaware of any abuse.
A-ko’s legal mother asked her who the father of her eldest son was and after A-ko told her the truth, her legal mother said she would “let them be together” and immediately signed divorce papers.
For two decades, A-ko, Chen and their two children, supposedly from three different generations, lived under the same roof, and the sons called Chen “grandfather” before A-ko told them the truth a decade ago.
Since then, the two have called Chen “dad.”
Though the two were summoned to testify in court, they both said that the “matters of the last generation should be solved by those of the last generation,” adding that they did not wish to testify to avoid hurting their elders.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer