Local mum jailed for burning maid with iron
Horrible employer burnt maid's lower back and forearm simply because she was 'too slow at ironing school uniforms'. She then proceeded to order her maid to continue making lunch despite already causing her grievous hurt. The employer, Rajeswari Mariswaran, 39, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment.
Yesterday, the 39-year-old kindergarten teacher and mother of three boys, Rajeswari Mariswaran was sentenced to nine months in jail for causing hurt by dangerous means. The court also ruled for her to pay her maid, $3,000 in compensation or serve an additional three weeks behind bars. She is now appealing against conviction and sentence.
During the 12-day trial last year, the court was told that Rajeswari snapped while watching her maid, Ms Lunicia Banaba Apilit, 33, iron her three son’ uniforms. She reproached Ms Apilit for being slow before telling her that she would show her how to iron fast. Rajeswari however, took the iron, flipped the Filipina’s T-shirt up over her back and placed the hot iron on her skin causing Ms Apilit to jerk forward in shock. She attempted to repeat the punishment but Ms Apilit managed to stop Rajeswari with her right arm and instead suffered a burn to her forearm. Following the attack, Rajeswari ordered the maid to prepare lunch even though she was in agony.
Ms Apilit suffered in silence for five days before running away to seek help from the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) at Lucky Plaza. HOME’s staff then took her to the Ministry of Manpower and the police. She received outpatient treatment at a clinic. Photographs tendered at the trial showed a bright-red iron-shaped welt on the maid’s lower back. At the sentencing, Rajeswari appeared calm.
The society that Ms Apilit approached, HOME, caters to the special needs of migrant communities here. Set up in 2004, HOME assists mainly domestic, construction, shipyard and service sector migrant workers in reporting offences and violations to the relevant authorities. They also arrange mediation sessions between workers and employers if possible.
Despite voluntary societies like these, there are still numerous maids who suffer in silence, as they are afraid of either their employers or fearful of being sent home. With a majority of parents employing domestic help to aid in the running of their households, we have to realize that it is pertinent to treat them fairly. What is your take on this? Would you step in and intervene if you see a fellow parent treating their domestic helper badly?
Photo credit: ST photo – Wong Kwai Chow