SINGAPORE – Over a two-month period, a 34-year-old unemployed man repeatedly raped the family’s domestic worker while his wife and three children were not at home.
The Indonesian woman, who was then 24, initially endured the abuse but eventually ran out of the flat in tears and called her agent, who assured her that lodging a police report would not prevent her from working in Singapore.
However, the abuse left her distrustful of men and unable to focus on her work, which resulted in two subsequent employers dismissing her. Her boyfriend and family also blamed her for what happened.
On Wednesday, the man was sentenced to 24 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, after he pleaded guilty to two charges of rape and a charge of sexual assault by penetration, committed between September and October 2020.
These charges carry enhanced punishment under the law, which allows employers who commit offences against their domestic workers to be given up to twice the maximum punishment.
Nine other charges for various sexual offences, including rape, sexual assault by penetration and outrage of modesty, were taken into consideration.
In sentencing, High Court judge Dedar Singh Gill said: “This case brings into sharp focus the plight of a foreign domestic worker who becomes a victim of rape in the household where she works.”
Justice Gill noted that the woman’s rejection by two subsequent employers meant she could not earn the money she came here to earn.
The woman eventually found a housekeeping job in May 2022.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Yong earlier told the court that the maid started working for the family in January 2020.
“The accused claimed that he felt frustrated because his wife was no longer satisfying his sexual urges,” said the prosecutor.
The man waited for his wife to leave the flat before molesting, sexually assaulting and raping the victim on four different occasions from September 2020 to Oct 15, 2020.
On one occasion in September 2020, the maid was in the flat alone with the man after his wife left with two of their children to pick up their oldest child from school.
While the maid was in the kitchen, the man started hugging and kissing her. She pushed him away, told him to stop and ran into her bedroom.
He followed her into her room, continued hugging and kissing her despite her objections, and took off her clothes.
He left the room to get a condom. When he returned, the maid had dressed herself, but he removed her clothes again and then raped her.
On another occasion that month, he carried her to the room against her will and sexually assaulted her.
After this incident, the woman asked him not to do it again because she was in a relationship, and he was married with three children. But the man did not stop and raped her again, when they were alone at home.
After the last assault on Oct 15, 2020, the woman called her agent in desperation. The agent picked her up and they proceeded to lodge a police report.
The DPP sought 23 to 28 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, while defence counsel Ashwin Ganapathy asked for 22 to 23 years’ jail.
The man also read out a letter in court asking for leniency. He sobbed as he admitted he was “a poor husband and a poor employer”, said he was deprived of fatherly love as a child, and asked the court to pity his now former wife and his children.