Indonesian maid raped, thrown from window: report

An Indonesian maid was allegedly raped twice by a neighbour, who then cut and strangled her before throwing her out of the window of a second-storey flat, according to media reports.

The maid, who was 26 at the time of the alleged attack, survived the ordeal despite suffering serious injuries, the High Court heard in proceedings reported by the Straits Times daily.

The identities of the victim and the accused -- a 44-year-old former security guard -- were not published on court orders.

The newspaper said the incident took place in September 2009, when the maid stepped outside the apartment where she worked to reach the circuit box located outside after the electricity tripped.

The accused, who lived in the opposite flat, then pushed her into the empty apartment and forced himself on her before cutting her with a pair of scissors and strangling her with a piece of string, the court heard.

Police found the woman lying at the foot of her housing block, seriously injured but alive.

Following this case, Yahoo! Singapore contacted Jolovan Wham, executive director of migrants welfare group HOME, to comment on the plight of maids in Singapore.

"Such attacks are deplorable and the perpetrator should be severely punished. The nature of live-in domestic work makes them vulnerable to abuse. The problem is compounded by the lack of adequate protection migrant domestic workers have in relation to their employment terms and conditions," he said.

Wham added that any worker who is injured at work would be eligible for compensation under the Work Injury Compensation Act. If she were covered by the Act, this assault would be considered for compensation. However, because domestic workers have been excluded by the Act, she would have to return home empty-handed even though she may have suffered from a permanent disability as a result of the assault.

John Gee, the immediate past president of Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2), another non-profit organization, agreed with Wham.

Gee said that maids in such a situation can make a police report or ask the Ministry of Manpower for help. They can also contact TWC2 and other non-governmental organisations or their country's embassy.

Noting that many women in such situations may feel a sense of shame or fear their family response, he said, "A big effort is needed to create a more supportive environment for women in this situation -- particularly to overcome this feeling of personal responsibility for what someone else did."

If convicted of the charges which include attempted murder and aggravated rape, the accused could face life imprisonment and up to 24 strokes of the cane.

More than 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work as maids in wealthy Singapore.

-- Report by AFP with additional reporting by Melissa Aw of Yahoo! Singapore