A chess board with ivory and black tiles. On the board are six red pieces and one light green piece. The light green piece is shaped like a pawn with a woman’s torso on the top. The red pieces range from a knight which is shaped like a merlion; a bishop with the top resembling a mosque dome; a rook with a small house set on top of the tower resembling the logo of the Housing and Development Board; another rook with a metal grille set on top of the tower, resembling the logo of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority; and a bishop with the top dome altered to resemble the logo of the Ministry of Manpower. The red pieces are arranged around the green piece so as to trap it; there is no move it could make without coming into danger of being captured. Illustration by Charis Loke.

Singapore’s Migration Laws Trap Women With Abusers

Content warning: This article includes references to domestic violence and suicide.

Aulia* entered the police station one night in 2017, after her husband threw a standing fan at her head during a midnight tantrum, causing it to swell. It was her first time filing a police report, but it was not the first time he had been violent towards her. 

An Indonesian woman married to a Singaporean man, Aulia has been living in Singapore since 2000. The mistreatment started early in their marriage. At first, there was constant verbal abuse, with her husband calling her useless and threatening to send her back to Indonesia. 

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