Singapore — A domestic helper who could not stand the abuse of her employer any more climbed down 15 storeys from the flat to freedom.
On Wednesday (Nov 18), her employer, Nuur Audadi Yusoff, 31, was sentenced to 10 months and two weeks in jail for, on multiple occasions, physically and mentally harming Ms Sulis Setyowati, a domestic helper from Indonesia.
Last month, Nuur had entered a guilty plea to six counts of assault. Nine additional charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration for her sentencing.
The abuse, which included slaps to the face and hair-pulling, got so bad that Ms Sulis, 24, escaped from Nuur’s residence one night by climbing down 15 floors to freedom.
She filed a police report on the advice of her agency and later went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for treatment of her wounds and bruises.
The harm that Nuur caused Ms Sulis “speak for themselves”, said District Judge Ronald Gwee as he handed down sentence.
The judge pointed out that the helper had risked her own life to escape from the “torture” she experienced and added the need for a “deterrent sentence” to be passed to let everyone know these kinds of cruel acts are not acceptable.
Nuur has also given S$7,000 in compensation to Ms Sulis.
The helper began working for Nuur in December 2017. The abuse began the following month after Nuur woke up in the middle of the night to hear her daughter crying. When she discovered that Ms Sulis had forgotten to put ointment on the daughter’s stomach, Nuur slapped the maid in the face twice and spat on her.
According to straitstimes.com, Nuur continued abusing Ms Sulis into the following month, including dragging her by the hair.
After the helper asked to be transferred, Nuur promised that she would not hurt her any more. However, she started the abuse again by April because of another incident.
Nuur, scrolling through the helper’s cellphone, became angry when she discovered that photos of her children had been posted on social media.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said: “The accused was upset at the photos. She was angry and slapped the victim on her face with the phone and with her hand several times before throwing the phone to the ground, causing it to crack. The victim’s face was bleeding and there was redness. She cried.”
Nuur took away the phone and proceeded to abuse Ms Sulis for nearly a week afterward.
Ms Sulis took her phone back on April 29 but hid it because she intended to call her agency so she could be transferred. On finding the phone missing, Nuur confronted Ms Sulis, bruised her forehead with a comb, slapped her and pulled her hair.
The abuse continued that day with more incidents of hair pulling, kicks to the head and beating with a broom. The helper was also made to sleep in the living room that night and the residence locked so she would not try to escape.
Nuur also emotionally abused Ms Sulis and called her names.
The helper decided to escape that night, through the balcony since she could not use the front door.
“She climbed down 15 storeys, clambering down balcony by balcony, before she managed to reach the ground floor. The climb took her all of early morning,” said DPP Chong.
Nuur worked at Singtel at the time of the abuse and was deployed to support a Ministry of Manpower contact centre. She could have been jailed for up to three years and given a fine of S$7,500 for every count of maid abuse. /TISG