When the abuse comes from someone you trust, you may feel that there is nowhere to go.
Sad though it is, molestation of domestic help has been happening for ages. When the abuse, however, comes from unexpected places, you are even more shocked. This story starts with molestation of the domestic help and progresses to domestic violence against wheelchair-bound wife.
As the story was reported, a domestic help from Indonesia started working for a Singaporean family. She noticed the behaviour of the father a bit weird. She tried to complain but was told to ignore the old man.
The situation started becoming worse when Mr Tan, 56, started to ask her for sexual favours. He followed her and touched her inappropriately. The maid then secretly filmed the molestation and brought it to the notice of Mrs Tan and her son. On being confronted, Mr Tan initially denied everything and later physically abused his wheelchair-bound wife.
Incidents like this make you question the integrity of the institution of marriage. But that is not all. It is not really expected from the older generation, the ones who may be taking care of your children when you are at work. How do you spot abuse? What do you do when you spot someone being abused? Is it an interference in other people’s lives if you do that? let me attempt to answer these questions.
How to spot abuse
Domestic abuse, like sexual abuse, turns the victim numb from within. The world collapses around them as most often, the abuser is one of the trusted members of the family. When the caregiver breaches the trust, the emotions in the mind of the victim are mixed. There is fear, shame, hopelessness all bundled into one.
Domestic abuse will not necessarily be against a woman. Men, at times, also end up being abused.
Here are a few signs that a victim of abuse will always display.
- You will notice bruises, marks of violence frequently on the victim. Swollen, split lips and black eyes are commonplace
- The victim will try to make excuses, citing falls or her own carelessness for the injuries. The explanations and the injuries often do not add up.
- There would be an attempt to hide the bruises using makeup or clothing.
- Most often, the victim would be a lonely person, with very few friends.
- The means of living are also limited for these victims. They have no access to money or cards
- The victims would display a sudden change in behaviour
Steps to take when you spot abuse
It is not about politeness or etiquette to stay away from other people’s business when abuse is involved. If you spot abuse, or even suspect someone who is abusing, as a citizen of this vigilant nation, you need to call in the authorities.
If the victim is your friend, you need to be the pillar of her support. She might want to stay mum, but it is your responsibility to ensure a better future for your friend. The abusers do not stop at mothers. If left unchecked, they also beat up the children.
There are three things you need to do if you see someone close being abused.
- Remove the victim from the violence. Ask her to stay with you for a couple of days. Invite the children as well.
- Have a heart to heart conversation with her. Make her wonder why she is okay with being abused in this manner. There are a lot of support groups for single mums who successfully raise children.
- Call the police at 999. Report the abuse without fail. Let the authorities decide the right course of action for the incident.
Here is a list of emergency contact numbers in Singapore that you may find useful.
Other types of common abuses
Domestic violence is not the only abuse that is seen in Singapore. Abuse against children and elderly is also common. This may not always be a physical or an emotional type of abuse. Neglect is seen in a majority of cases. When you do not tend to the needs of someone who is incapable of taking care of his own, that amounts to neglect. In 2015, out of 551 cases that were investigated for child abuse, 206 cases were those of neglect.
You may not be harming anybody directly, but ignoring the needs of the dependants amounts to a crime.
Back to the story, justice was served when Mr Tan, 59, was sentenced to 14-month imprisonment. he pled guilty to three charges, ranging from molestation to assault.
Don’t let an abuser walk away. The least you can do is to Stomp the perpetrator in the act.