ill-treatment of domestics
Maid sustains eye impairment, critical bruises due to beating
The Daily Star, Thursday, April 20, 2006
Ricky (Amir) Laxa
The ambassador gave the statement while commenting on A.B., a Filipina domestic helper who was allegedly beaten up until unconscious by employers. The maid suffered a blood clot in her head and vision damage to the right eye due to heavy pounding on the face. "I have spoken to the employment agency responsible T A.B., and we (the embassy) have summoned the employers, who refused to accept the accusations," Ambassador Ricardo Endaya said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Star.
He added that the embassy has filed a case against the couple (the employers). He pointed out that the embassy will appeal for dismissal of the employer (a National Guard officer) from his job and will settle all damages and expenses caused by this case.
The employer, who works as a National Guard of Kuwait, and his wife, a reputable school teacher, were accused by the Filipina domestic helper of constantly beating her, depriving her of food and sleep and refusing to pay her salary for the past four months.
A.B. arrived from the Philippines on February of this year and recalled being slapped on the face by her female employer for failing to find a certain item of clothing the employer was looking for. She claimed that she had been constantly beaten, hit with mops several times, poked in the eye and kicked in sensitive areas of her body by both of her employers. A.B. said that she asked her female employer for her salary, as her husband and two small children needed financial support.
Her female employer went on a rage, grabbed her head and slammed it against the wall. She was kicked and punched in the face and later asked to continue cleaning the living room. As soon as her male employer arrived, the beatings continued.
He grabbed her by the arm and slammed her body against the wall and was hit multiple times with a stick, causing her to fall on the floor.
As she bled profusely, she was dragged to the police station by her male employer and accused of stealing one thousand Kuwait dinars and jewelry, which the police authorities refused to believe.
The chief police officer took pity on her condition and rushed A.B. to a nearby medical center, which treated and cleaned her up. She was then referred to the Adan hospital by the attending doctor as her condition worsened.
Doctors at Adan gave her an immediate and thorough check-up, suspecting there may be hemorrhaging of her internal organs. Attending medical doctors at Adan refused to release her back to the employer, who was very persistent to take her home.
A Filipino nurse called the Philippine Embassy and reported the case. Angelita Fernandez, Attache and an assistant to Filipino nationals, rushed to the hospital and found A.B. half conscious.
Along with an interpreter, a case was filed immediately against the employers for physical injuries and brutality.
The employer tried to bribe her not to file the complaints against him and his wife and promised A.B. thousands worth of cash and jewelry and with instructions to lie to doctors that she fell to the ground, which caused the bruises on her face and eyes. Nevertheless, A.B. refused and a case was officially filed against the employers.
"I just want to go home and see my family; I never told them about my condition as I don't want them to worry about me. I come from a poor family and have dreams of providing a good education for my children. I just hope that my former employers will not do the same to domestic helpers who willwork for them in the future," said A.B., who is currently under the custody of the Philippine Embassy and is undergoing medical checkups. She is receiving counseling and care under the care of Attache Fernandez.