SINGAPORE — A woman accused of forcing her maid to strip and shower, and ripping the shirt she was wearing in front of family members including her husband, claimed trial to insulting the modesty of the Indonesian on Thursday (2 April).
These were not the only charges Rosdiana Abdul Rahim, 31, faced when her trial opened.
Testifying at the stand, the emotional 21-year-old victim told the court how Rosdiana had pinched her breast through her shirt and ripped it in front of her husband. The employer had told the maid that her breasts were small and that her husband would not be interested in seeing it.
Apart from insulting the modesty of the maid, Rosdiana, a 31-year-old Singaporean, faces six other abuse-related charges in 2017, including pulling the maid’s arm, pushing her into a shower, pulling her shirt and causing one of the buttons to loosen, and pulling the victim’s bra and causing one of the bra hooks to fall off.
In December the same year, Rosdiana allegedly ill-treated the maid by pouring powder onto her face, causing it to enter her eyes and cause her pain. She is also accused of inflicting violence on the maid by pinching her breast, kicking her twice in her vagina area, and closing the cupboard door on her forearm.
She is also said to have intimidated the maid by threatening to hurt her family in Indonesia should she dare to do anything, outside a hotel in Singapore. She is also accused of failing to grant the maid adequate rest daily - a contravention of the conditions she had to comply with as an employer of a domestic worker.
The maid, then 18, first arrived in Singapore for her first stint as a domestic worker in September 2017. She came to Singapore to “change her life”, she told the court through a Bahasa Indonesia interpreter.
The maid began working for Rosdiana, and stayed in a two-bedroom condominium with her employer, her employer’s husband and their five-year-old twin boy and girl.
On the first week of her job, the maid slept on a carpet in the children’s room. She was later instructed by Rosdiana to sleep at the corridor beside the toilet. The maid ended up sleeping under a cupboard without a pillow or blanket. The only cloth that she had brought to her from Indonesia was thrown away by Rosdiana, who claimed that it was “smelly”.
According to the maid, Rosdiana also discarded the maid’s towel for the same reason, and told her that she smelled.
“I said I bathed everyday but she didn’t believe me,” said the maid. This caused Rosdiana to force the maid to shower in front of her in November 2017.
The maid said her employer pushed her into the master bedroom bathroom while the bedroom and shower door remained ajar. There, Rosdiana allegedly sprayed water on the maid, who was then fully dressed, before asking her to strip.
Tearfully, the maid recalled that she complied while crying. Rosdiana then poured shampoo on her hair before turning on the shower. At one point, Rosdiana’s husband entered the bedroom and the maid tried to cover herself. However Rosdiana simply told her, “No, my husband will not be interested”.
The maid testified, “I was afraid that she might threaten my family at home. After I finished bathing I wanted to change my clothes so when ma’am asked me how do I dry myself, I showed her with my hand.
“Ma’am will not let me change my clothes in the (bathroom). I had to change my clothes outside the bathroom while the husband was just outside there in the living room, he was in a position where he was able to see,” said the maid, who became emotional again.
“I was feeling afraid. I was scared. I feel humiliated,” said the maid, when asked how she felt.
She did not tell anyone about the incident then as she was “ashamed”. “I thought I lost my own value or moral,” she added.
Earlier that morning, Rosdiana had been angry with the maid, who had eaten a portion of maggi mee.
“She wanted to humiliate me in front of everyone (and) she tried to rip open my clothes until some of the buttons were opened,” said the maid, adding that other family members, including the grandmother, Rosdiana’s elder sister and the children watched without saying a thing.
Rosdiana then pulled on the maid’s bra from behind and under her blouse, causing a hook to fall off. The maid resisted by hunching over.
A few days later, before Rosdiana brought the family to Conrad Centennial hotel for an event, the employer had put baby powder all over the maid’s face, until “my eyes were hurting”, said the maid.
Rosdiana forbade the maid from removing the baby powder, and allegedly threatened her family, saying, “If you remove powder on your face, your parents when you go back will not be there for you.”
The maid believed that Rosdiana would harm her parents as the employer had once told her that her brother was married to someone from the same province in Indonesia.
The family of five stayed in the same hotel room for three days, where the maid was made to sleep on the floor in strong aircon without bedding or covering.
“I tried to take the bath towel but ma’am did not allow me. Because it was so cold I wanted to use it,” said the maid.
The day the family returned home, Rosdiana allegedly became infuriated after the maid failed to unpack the family’s suitcase fast enough.
Ripped shirt in front of husband
“She scolded me then she pull me to dining table and scolded me all the way…. She ripped my clothes, at the time I was wearing a T-shirt, she pulled and ripped it. I tried to cover myself then she pinched my breast so I tried to cover my body.”
The maid added that even though Rosdiana’s husband was present, she told the maid that her breast “was small”, and that the husband would not be interested.
Rosdiana then allegedly kicked the maid twice in her vagina area, nearly causing the maid to fall the second time.
“I was crying. I stood up and she continued scolding me and at that time she asked me to change my clothes as we are going out again.”
As the maid headed to the children’s room to change, Rosdiana followed her and banged the cupboard door on the maid’s forearm.
The maid’s ordeal only came to an end after Rosdiana’s husband dropped her off at an agency in December 2017. The agency later brought the maid to lodge a police report.
The trial continues on Thursday afternoon with the maid resuming her testimony.
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