Sunday, May 3, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

An Indonesian lady leaves home to come to Kuwait to become a domestic helper so that she can also add to the earnings of her husband and support her child. Here, she is drugged by her employer, and raped. When the girl later escapes through a window, sustaining terrible injuries, she is able (unlike many others) to file a case against him and get him arrested.

The Indonesian girl is sent to hospital to recover, where she tells visitors about the rape in gory detail, almost in a playful manner - and how badly it hurt. She refers to herself in the third person, as if the whole thing happened to someone else, and seems to laugh a lot more than all the other domestic helpers in her ward. She explains that she is no longer Muslim because she has 'slept' with another man, and how can she go back to her family like that?

JUST when she begins to slowly regain her sanity, her employer (who has already been released) comes to the hospital and threatens her. The helper is discharged, still not fully healed, and taken to jail.

Why is a victim of rape made to go through the horrors of her old employer having the freedom to taunt her, as well as having nowhere to go but jail? Right now this poor lady is lost in the system. We simply cannot find her.

Hundreds and hundreds of women go through this. They are legally only able to be in the home of their sponsors, in the hospital, at the agency or in jail. To put it in real terms, guess what rape victim - if you're a domestic helper wanting to go home - you'll have to go to prison first.


Anonymous said...

I guess there isn't ant organization for the support of domestic helpers in kuwait or at least in middle east.

The Asian countries should have a domestic helper tracking system, and get feedback from the maids.

Victoria said...

It is really heartbreaking to read for example the law and order section of the newspaper. There are so many cases of violence and rape of female migrant workers, workplace "accidents" due to no safety equipment, and expat suicides. There needs to be a systemic documentation of this.

nabeel said...

Hey anon. Asian countries as just as much to blame as anyone. A lot of these countries have unchecked agencies that basically lie to uneducated villagers, promising them a high salary and a good family to work for, then actually get THEM to pay to come here. I know that some of them actually have to sell their land and possessions to do that.

When they get here of course, the agents rip them off, further. the salary often goes unpaid, they face abuse and discrimination.

startling fact - 60 percent of human trafficking worldwide is done by women. Isn't that nuts? but when I go to these places - yes i see plenty of women working for these agencies, leading lines of domestic helpers around and it slowly becomes less shocking and more real.