Amend law to increase penalty

Editorial, Normal

WORDS fail us when we try to describe the “demon dad” we featured as our main story on Page 1 yesterday.
How does a man become so demented that he will find his own daughter sexually desirable?
How does such a man threaten his daughter with violence, rape her and make her pregnant – not once but thrice?
And all this while training to become a pastor?
How does he reconcile himself to his conscience and, if he really is a believer, to God?
He cannot have a conscience and most certainly he cannot believe in the Christian God.
Only a man so depraved can bring himself to commit the offence that John Jack Pep of Kimininga village outside Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, did.
He fathered three children with his own daughter Annette John between 2001 and 2009.
The sick man committed the offence when his daughter was 21. She is today 29.
The man has pleaded guilty to the court, admitting further that he asked his daughter to bear the extra shame and burden of lying and naming a different man as the father of their children under threat of physical harm.
Annette bore her secret in silence until it became abundantly clear to those all around her that something strange was going on and that some men had to step forward to claim the children.
In 2007, she told relatives that it was her father who was the father of her children whereupon Pep was seized by the law and remanded in custody for a year and a month before his trial and sentencing this week.
It is such a pity and a travesty that this man, whose crimes presiding judge Justice Regina Sagu described as “animalistic” and “driven by a demonic force” was only given a six-year jail sentence.
He should have been given more than 20 years with no provision for parole on the grounds of him being a threat to society.
We agree with Justice Sagu that his is an act befitting an unthinking animal.
But even animals, you will note, do not directly mate with their young, so Pep has become a lower form of life.
If he cannot respect the sanctity of the family and invade it in so foul a manner, there is no guarantee that he will respect any other person.
He is a danger to society and especially to female members of society.
This sort of sickening behaviour is morally, psychologically, socially and legally reprehensible.
It should never be tolerated.
A short  jail term is almost encouraging and if a lower jail term such as has been handed down is the legal limit placed by the law, the incest law ought to be changed and the penalty increased.
This has to happen because this sickening behaviour has emerged in other parts of the country as well.
There is a family living in one of Port Moresby’s fringe settlements where a father and daughter relationship has resulted in six children.
Several other such relationships have emerged in public in different parts of the country.
Incest is increasingly becoming a problem and this might have to do with a breakdown in the traditional social order and the absence of any new social security safety net.
Traditionally, there were rules and regulations that every member of society had to abide by.
Girl children as well as male children were brought up in certain ways and respected certain taboos.
Fathers and mothers, likewise, observed certain rules.
With these traditional norms becoming obsolete and there being no new social order rising up in its place, there are no taboos.
Modern lifestyles and alcohol and drugs make for dangerous living.
People like Pep live without a conscience or without any regard or respect for familial relations or for tribal and community respect and responsibility.
Pep, for example, lacked respect for his daughter, for his wife, for the other members of the family, his tribe and even his own standing in the community.
This case is particularly strange in a Western Highlands community where a young female member is very much respected.
When what happened at Kimininga happens, people like Pep become a danger and they must be removed from such a society.