SINGAPORE — A woman accused of forcing her foreign domestic helper to strip and shower in front of her was found guilty of six charges of abusing the Indonesian on Thursday (8 July).
Rosdiana Abdul Rahim, 33, was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal over a single charge – that of ripping the maid's shirt and bra in front of her husband – by District Judge Salina Ishak, who delivered the verdict at the State Courts following Rosdiana's trial.
The judge found that the prosecution had established all the essential elements in respect of the six charges. These are for insulting the then 21-year-old maid's modesty; using criminal force by pushing her into the shower; putting powder on the maid's face, causing her eyes to hurt; threatening to harm the maid's family; pinching and kicking the victim's genitals; and failing to give her adequate rest between 29 September and 12 December 2017.
On the acquitted charge, DJ Salina said that she was "not satisfied that the prosecution has established all elements...beyond a reasonable doubt".
Rosdiana will return to court on 17 August to be sentenced.
The victim began working for Rosdiana's household on 29 September 2017 until she was sent back to the agency on 12 December 2017. She was not given any off days and was tasked with household chores and caring for Rosdiana's children.
She would be required to go to the house of Rosdiana's mother almost daily to care for the children while Rosdiana and her husband were working.
As part of her routine, the victim testified on the stand that she would sleep at irregular and late hours – sometimes after 1am – while waking between 5am and 6am.
Despite the little rest, she was forbidden from taking naps during the day. While she was initially allowed to sleep on a pull-out bed at the start of her employment, she was then forced to sleep on the carpet in the children’s bedroom floor.
Rosdiana then instructed the victim to sleep on the floor outside the common toilet, but the victim decided to sleep underneath the cupboard in the living room instead. She was not given a blanket or pillow.
A batik cloth that she used to cover herself was thrown away by Rosdiana, who said that it was smelly. Rosdiana also threw away the maid's clothing and towel, ostensibly for the same reason. She then bought the maid new clothing but deducted the cost from the victim's salary, which she never gave to the victim.
A week into working for Rosdiana, the victim told her that she did not wish to continue her employment as she felt that Rosdiana was fierce. In response, Rosdiana asked for the telephone number of the victim's parents, demanding a monetary compensation as she did not get the maid "for free".
After the phone call, the victim's father begged the maid to continue her employment as he did not have means to compensate her. The victim thus continued her work there.
The maid recalled that the first incident of abuse occurred in November 2017, after Rosdiana told her she was smelly. She insisted that the maid show her how she showered and dried herself without a towel, which Rosdiana had thrown away.
The maid was dragged to the toilet and had water sprayed on her while she was fully clothed. Rosdiana then put shampoo on her head and demanded that the maid remove her clothing. The maid complied.
At one point, Rosdiana's husband entered the room and the maid tried to cover herself.
"The accused noticed this and remarked to the victim that her husband 'would not be interested'. The victim recalled that she was crying at the time and was afraid, so she remained silent," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Angela Ang in closing submissions.
Rosdiana insisted that the maid dry herself in the room, where her husband was, without a towel.
In another incident, Rosdiana's family and the victim prepared to go to Conrad Hotel for three days when the employer called the victim "ugly". She poured baby powder all over the maid's face and forbade the maid from removing the powder. She also threatened to harm the maid's family.
At the hotel, the rest of the family shared the bed while the maid was made to sleep on the cold hotel room floor. Rosdiana stopped her from using a hotel bath towel to cover herself.
After another act of abuse, Rosdiana's husband eventually drove the victim to her agency and dropped her off on 12 December 2017.
The maid had no idea she was being returned, and had no belongings with her. After she was asked why she had been sent back, she revealed the acts of abuse. She was later brought to a police station to lodge a report.
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