Monday, July 20, 2009


Manila maid ‘survives’ to tell sadist employer’s torture saga

KUWAIT CITY, July 18: A Filipina household service worker employed by a Kuwaiti family sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy this weekend after allegedly suffering severe maltreatment for almost two years at the hands of her lady employer. Jenny, 41, single and a native of Alabang, Manila was sobbing in pain as she narrated to the Arab Times on Saturday the ‘burning’ torture that her lady employer allegedly did on her.

“There was no single day that she did not hurt me. She loved hurting me,” cried Jenny as she showed all the scars and fresh wounds dotting her body. She recounted that her lady employer would usually time her whenever a household task is to be done. “She wants me to finish everything fast, but I’m the only housemaid at home and she has two small kids. We’re staying in a flat with four rooms and with four bathrooms. I do all the household chores, cook, clean, baby-sit and laundry. Sometimes, due to extreme fatigue, I tend to work slowly and she would be very mad at me and the torture begins,” she stated. She narrated that her lady employer had fun torturing her by heating a knife on the stove and once it is scorching hot, she would place the hot knife on any part of the latter’s body leaving burns and blisters.

“I kept on begging her not to do it. I said, enough, enough madam, but she won’t stop until my skin is burnt and blistered. It was horrible. She looked like a devil hitting me with the hot knife. How can a normal person do that?” sobbed Jenny whose wrists, arms, left foot and back were covered with bandage to prevent burnt infection after coming from the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital for treatment. Her ears resembled like a crunchy chicharron after her lady employer burnt them with a knife. “She burned my ears, because there was a time when she called me and I wasn’t able to go to her immediately because I was doing something at the kitchen so she got angry and burned my two ears for not replying to her quickly,” she stated as tears welled in her eyes.

The lady employer also burned her hands and arms with the hot knife for not washing the dishes quickly. “She burned my legs and foot for walking slowly, she burned my nape too and she boxed me on my eye so that I cannot see things clearly,” outlined Jenny. The lady employer also did not spare Jenny’s lips. As she narrated her harrowing experience, she pointed to her blistered, flaking and discoloured burnt lips. “She also hit my back using a water hose and lashed me with the ‘oqal’ of her husband,” she stated, showing her scarred back with newly bandaged burn wounds. The ‘oqal’ is the doubled black cord generally made of tightly woven black goat-hair and sheep’s wool, that is used to secure the ‘Ghutra’ or headdress of Arab men in place.

The lady employer also cut the shoulder-length hair of Jenny leaving her almost bald. “I want to fight back but I was scared because she’s six-months pregnant and I might harm her baby so I endured all the beatings,” she pointed out. After inflicting pain on her, the lady employer would usually give her some cream to treat the burns in various parts of her body. “I really can’t understand why she’s doing that. She would even ask me to wear gloves while washing the dishes to protect my hands and give me hand moisturisers,” she stated.

Last week, the lady employer allegedly threatened to burn Jenny’s eyes and face, prompting the latter to run to the embassy for help. “I finally decided to run to the embassy for help because only God knows, I may not be able to control myself and I might be forced to fight back and I might harm her and the baby in her womb,” she stated. She called first the local manpower agency that recruited her and asked for help but the man from the agency refused to help her. “I told him, please help me, take me out from this hell, but the guy at the agency even scolded me and told me not to go to the agency or he will kick me out of the agency. I called them five times. So I decided to sneak out of the house and go to the embassy” she claimed.

Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador Ricardo Endaya disclosed that the embassy has already hired a Kuwaiti lawyer for Jenny so appropriate charges will be filed against her lady employer. “I’m still at a loss how a human being can do this to her fellow human being. I hope the Kuwaiti authorities will not close their eyes on this so that justice will be served and the employer should be castigated for committing such inhumane acts,” he stressed. “I want her to be in jail. She should pay for what she has done to me,” cried Jenny as she hopes to go back to the Philippines after getting the justice that she wants.

By Michelle Fe Santiago
Special to the Arab Times


Anonymous said...

"Oh My God" is right, couldn't have chosen a more appropriate title. You realize how intensely barbaric and downright inhumane the situation is when you find yourself unable to go on reading, and force yourself to keep reading this post, and many many others that you've written.

The inhumanity is outrageous. And the unwillingness to speak up nationally about this problem, the unwillingness to acknowledge these workers as human beings who must have the same basic human rights as any other person, is more than outrageous.

It reflects an obscene and filthy aspect that must be rectified or else we would still be filthy and in the wrong.

There is always a chance to redeem ourselves by individually speaking up against these actions, or simply - and most importantly - start to change our own ways in regards to house maids and how we perceive them.

Keep up the good work Nabeel. Reading your posts tears my heart, seriously man, these words need to be heard.

Ana Filibini said...

Hi Nabeel,

I was about to write an entry regarding this case. I heard it last night from a good friend of mine who was in the Embassy for another case and he basically narrated this story to me.

The woman's husband went to the Embassy and he even had the gall to act all self righteous. Fortunately the embassy lawyer was able to snatch the passport away from his hands and told him that he doesnt have the right to have it. The husband, I was told, has a position in the military and when asked why he let his wife do it to the maid he just kept mum.

The woman might've a psychological problem because for the life of me I cannot comprehend why any human beings could do such horrible acts.

Thank you for featuring this in your site.
Is it too much to respect each other even when we don't like one another at least be civil enough to get out of each others hair and let live?

nabeel said...

you know,

i used to think mental problems were the way to answer it as well.

At first when I didn't know much about the abuse situation in Kuwait, I thought "wow these maids must all have some sort of shared mental problem" I mean come on, TONNES of maids jumping from the balcony - that sounds like some sort of horror movie, something clearly out of fiction. People don't just jump out of windows like that - not so many, not so often. its like a planned mass suicide.

But that was not the case. A few simple factors turned this bizarre expanation into something more understandable but no less horrific. In other words - torture and No food, with no way out but a window= jump

and according to Kuwait law
jump=suicide attempt

So naturally, my next thought is - well ok the maids arent all crazy. Maybe the employers? We have hundreds of cases that stretch over some mad satanic spectrum - burnings, knife wounds, beatings for amusement, chopping off fingers - and a sort of sick happiness and amusement at being the one who gets to do this.

And now it sounds again like something fictional. A horror story where HUNDREDS of ppl in a country are possessed with something that makes them behave this way. Even the cops

but are there really that many mentally ill people in Kuwait? i don't think so.

so what is it? culture? upbringing?
laws? Do we all just live in a society where we actually hate each other but have to smile and shake hands for the sake of our own benefit?

i have my own theories. im sure you do too!

7aneen said...

This is embarrassing and appalling.