updated 23 Jul 2012, 07:52
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Sun, Jul 22, 2012
The New Paper
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Assaulted, but she won't leave husband
by Amanda Phua

Their relationship – abusive and violent – was doomed from the start.

They got married after a three-month courtship.

What followed was a union riddled with fights, shouting matches and her making secretive, hasty trips back to Indonesia.

He even assaulted her when she was pregnant.

On July 9, Feizal Abu Bakar, 28, was jailed for 11/2 years for assaulting her, breaching a Personal Protection Order (PPO) and attacking his neighbour with a samurai sword.

Madam Ina (not her real name), 34, told The New Paper that there was no love, no trust and very little hope of saving their marriage.

Even so, she wants to give her husband another chance when he gets out of jail – mainly because she fears she may not get custody of their three-year-old son if they break up. (See report below)

She is an Indonesian citizen, while her son is a Singaporean, like his father.

Madam Ina married Feizal in 2008 after they met while he was on holiday in Batam.

She asked not to be identified as her family back home does not know what has happened.

She said they had met through her friend, a bar hostess, who was dating Feizal then.

The housewife said Feizal assumed that she, too, was a hostess and it offended her. But they started a relationship anyway and three months later, he proposed.

The youngest of four children, she said her family owned several plots of land in Indonesia and she didn’t lack anything growing up.

Speaking in Bahasa Indonesia, she said: “I asked for a $10,000 dowry, for the ceremony to be held at a five-star hotel, and for another ceremony in Batam for my family and friends.”

She said she did this to scare Feizal off in case he wasn’t serious about marrying her. To her surprise, he splurged on the wedding, even buying her gown instead of renting it.

The marriage was initially a happy one, Madam Ina said, until the credit card bills came and loan sharks started harassing them.

Paint was splashed on the front door and their unit number was scrawled on walls.

Feizal told her someone was probably playing pranks on them. But her father-in-law later told her that Feizal had borrowed from loan sharks to pay for the wedding.

The couple fought often, said Madam Ina. “On the third day after our marriage, he hit me. I started losing trust in him. I wasn’t pregnant yet and I wanted to give him time to change,” she said.

“But when I realised that I really couldn’t trust him any more, I found out that I was pregnant.”

Madam Ina said Feizal dotes on their son.

But carrying him to term was a challenge.

She claimed that early into her pregnancy, Feizal once beat and verbally abused her for six hours, from noon to 6pm.

She couldn’t remember why he blew his top.

After the fight, Madam Ina left for Batam on the earliest ferry she could board. She then flew home to Sulawesi in Indonesia.

Kissed his feet

She returned to Singapore after Feizal went to her home to apologise to her father, even kissing his feet to seek forgiveness.

This would become the pattern every time he abused her.

To get home, she would take a ferry to Batam followed by three flights. It happened so often that her father bought her a house in Batam.

She said: “It’s like my safe house. Feizal doesn’t know where it is so he can’t find me. Since I got it, I’ve gone there about twice a week.”

She applied for a PPO against Feizal and was issued one on Nov 11 last year.

According to court documents, Feizal breached the PPO and assaulted Madam Ina on Jan 4 this year. She suffered a bruise on her right wrist and an abrasion on her right shoulder.

When asked if Feizal had done anything nice for her, she said: “When I spoke to him after his sentencing, he apologised and asked me to please take care of our son and his father.

“I was crying even before the sentence was read out. My father-in-law scolded me. He said Feizal asked for it.

“Feizal always apologised and asked for forgiveness after hitting me. And I knew, after a while, that his apologies were a lie.

“But I’ve come back because of my son. I cannot bear to be away from him. He is everything I have.”

Why abused wives do not leave their husbands

WOMEN without financial and social support are unlikely to leave an abusive relationship, Ms Corinna Lim former executive director of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), had told The New Paper previously.

In Madam Ina’s case, she has the financial backing of her parents and the support of friends back in her hometown in Sulawesi, Indonesia, or in Batam where she has a house.

But Feizal had told her that if she divorced him, she will not get custody of her son, a Singapore citizen.

Mrs Florence Lim, director of the Covenant Family Service Centre, said Feizal may be using the threat of losing her son to keep Madam Ina in the marriage.


“If she goes to the embassy, they will be in a position to let her know of her rights to keeping her son.

“She may see a better future for her son in Singapore, so she’s tolerating and hoping her husband will change after the jail sentence.”

Mr Benny Bong, a family and marital therapist, said the cycle of beating, followed by apologies, may make the abused partner feel guilty of not being able to prevent the violence.

“However, since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser’s need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment.”

Associate Professor Munidasa Winslow, a psychiatrist, added that societal norms in Madam Ina’s homeland may also pressure her into trying to keep the marriage going.

This article was first published in The New Paper.


Numbers for women seeking help

Covenant Family Service Centre
(Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm)
(Mondays to Fridays, 3pm to 9.30pm)
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling: 1800-3535800

readers' comments
Wellmadam: you can really say "Goodbye" to your husband with 3 Talat. "I DIVIOCE YOU. and that is that. in regard to your son , simple go to MUIS and claim and ask in a (HARITH).
bring your son HOME.
Posted by jopiemalay on Sun, 22 Jul 2012 at 09:47 AM

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