Monday, May 18, 2009

The woman's role in abuse

I have heard many complaints about how domestic helpers are not as innocent as we think they are - or that they abuse the children they are supposed to take care of, steal etc. etc.

Firstly, no one is so naive to think that ANY group is made up of completely innocent people. But you have to ask the question - if domestic helpers are also doing bad things in Kuwait, why is this happening? How come a few go completely nuts in a house that apparently treats them well?

Recently we came across a case of an Indonesian girl who was sold to a person who then sold her to his friend ... and this guy forced her to 'sleep' with 3-5 guys every day. Isn't it against the law for a maid under one kafeel, to work in more than one house, or to sell her off? But still these ladies go from house to house, working - sometimes because they want to, often because they are forced to. Can you guarantee that the girl who works in your house has not had a terrible experience in her long string of employment here, that has affected her mentally?

Here's an eye opener from religious leaders in Kuwait I have talked to... Ever since this whole so-called financial crisis, there have been more complaints in Kuwait about husbands beating their wives - MANY more. The number of maid abuse incidents has also increased. And in about 80 percent of cases we've seen, it is the mama of the house that beats the maid. Now i'm not drawing any fast conclusions but - maybe we need to think about that for a bit.

It's not always true, but often in societies, the abused becomes the abuser. The majority of sexual deviants and child molesters have at one time been sexually assaulted themselves as children. Violence works in this repetitive way also.

If the abuse of wives is not stopped, the abuse of maids will not stop, and if the abuse of maids is not stopped, the abuse of whoever the maid can abuse will not stop either. In the most horrible way, Kuwait should consider itself fortunate that these girls mostly choose suicide over murder.

So society may end up looking something like this: Domestic helpers commit suicide en mass, or alternatively, begin the abuse of those under their care. That sounds kind of familiar to me.

Now whatever you think of these ladies, no one wants a society like that. But by a community being passive and indifferent - that is what we are determining for ourselves. Kuwait of the next generation will either move closer towards this, or further away.


sws said...

Bless you Nabeel, that's so true.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right, it's admirable how you shed light on a critical issue that no one seems interested in.

Domestic abuse - both physical and verbal - against house maids is a very critical issue for these reasons:

- It's extremely racist/discriminatory the way house maids (and other Eastern workers) are not regarded as human beings who deserve to be treated well.

- Many Kuwaiti women - even after abusing their house maids - place their children with them, which truly reflects a deranged and disillusioned mentality.

How could you place your defenseless child with someone whom you abuse on a daily basis? Oppression is a cycle and so oppression will find its way - through the maid - back to your child.

Thanks for posting this, too bad there aren't many readers though - just reflects how we Kuwaitis turn a blind eye on such devastating matters.

Anonymous said...

I really admire your contributions in this field, especially since these groups (domestic workers) are hugely repressed on so many levels and do not have any support in dealing with their horrid situations.

This is such a new and vast field. Repression, however, not only takes place by Kuwaiti employers but also by the foreign embassies and their inability to speak up for their citizens.

We have had so many house maids who walked up to our door asking for help after being refused by their own embassies.

I appreciate India's new law that states that housekeepers should be above 20-years-old in order to be permitted to travel for work.

More laws should be amended/created by foreign governments for further protecting their citizens.

I really appreciate your efforts. The bidoons are also immensely subjugated, which gives you a sort of perspective on how things are run in Kuwait.

If this is the way locals (bidoons) are treated, I can only imagine the atrocities that other non-locals have to live under.

nabeel said...

Thank you guys for your support. It means so much to us. You are very right of course in all the points you've made.

I too was happy to hear that India had set rules in place but from cases we have seen Indian nationals can go to Nepal, obtain a forged passport and arrive in Kuwait regardless of their age.

We were told of a girl 16 years of age who a Nepali charity organization is trying to track down and bring home. Sadly, we have not been able to locate her in hospitals, jails or otherwise. This means that even the trafficking of children and teenagers could become a very real problem here.