SINGAPORE: A woman who abused her maid both psychologically and physically, calling her "smelly" and kicking her in the private parts, was sentenced to 15 months and two weeks' jail on Tuesday (Aug 17).
Rosdiana Abdul Rahim, 33, was also ordered to pay the victim S$2,500 in compensation or serve another 11 days' jail in default.
The judge agreed with the prosecution that the protection of vulnerable foreign domestic workers is a matter of public interest and that such individuals require special protection under the law.
Rosdiana was previously convicted of six charges including insulting the maid's modesty, using criminal force, causing hurt and criminal intimidation.
The victim, who is now 21, came to Singapore from Indonesia to work for the first time in September 2017.
She was not given any days off or any payment for her work over about three months. She was tasked with caring for the household, watching over Rosdiana's twins and children in Rosdiana's mother's home.
She had irregular rest times and was not allowed to nap, saying that she was watched by the family members. She slept first on a pull-out bed, then on a carpet on the children's bedroom floor, until Rosdiana instructed her to sleep outside the toilet.
She chose instead to sleep under a cupboard in the living room, and had no blanket or pillow. Rosdiana had thrown away a batik cloth she used as a covering, saying it was smelly.
Rosdiana also threw away the victim's other clothes and towel, claiming they were giving off a stench.
More than a month into the victim's employment, Rosdiana asked the victim to show her how she showered, as she complained that the victim was very smelly.
She dragged the victim to the toilet by the arm and pushed her into the cubicle, spraying water over her before placing shampoo on her head.
She instructed the victim to remove her wet clothing and turned on the rain shower. As the victim was trying to rinse off the shampoo in the nude, Rosdiana's husband suddenly entered the master bedroom.
When the victim tried to cover herself, Rosdiana told the maid that her husband "would not be interested".
She asked the victim to demonstrate how she dried herself without a towel, and the young woman tried to dry herself with her hands.
The maid was made to change with the windows open and that made her feel very humiliated, she testified while crying.
The other series of abusive incidents occurred around a work event Rosdiana had in December 2017.
She poured baby powder on the victim's face after calling her ugly and forbade her from using a hotel bath towel to keep warm in the hotel. She did not allow the victim to take any clothes with her to the hotel for the work trip.
When the family returned home, Rosdiana shouted at her to hurry and pack as they had to head out again. She told the victim that her clothes and underwear were smelly as she had been wearing the same clothes at the hotel.
Rosdiana also pinched the victim's breast while her husband was around. When the victim tried to cover herself, Rosdiana told the maid that her husband would not be interested as the victim's breast was "small unlike hers".
She then kicked the victim twice in the vagina, knocking her backwards and causing her to hurt her back. She also slammed a cupboard door on the victim's arm.
Without telling the victim what was going on, Rosdiana and her husband then dropped the victim off at the entrance of her maid agency a day later. The victim was taken to lodge a police report.
For insulting a woman's modesty, Rosdiana could have been jailed for up to a year, fined, or both.
For voluntarily causing hurt to a maid, Rosdiana could have been jailed for up to two years, fined a maximum S$5,000, or both.
The penalties for the above can go up to one-and-a-half times of the usual range as the victim was a maid.
For not giving her maid adequate daily rest and ill-treating her, Rosdiana could have been jailed for up to a year, fined a maximum S$10,000, or both.