Tuesday, March 01, 2011

NEWS: Housemaids in Saudi Arabia resorting to suicide

I've blogged about abuse of women in Saudi Arabia in the past. An article published around 12 months ago in the Arab News (a Saudi paper) reports about the situation with domestic servants working in the Kingdom. This includes violence and mistreatment of various forms.

In the last couple of years there have been countless reports of abuse in the media, including testimonies from maids about the withholding of salaries, verbal or physical abuse and restrictions on their movements ...

Maids who are physically or emotionally abused have no choice but to either run away or attempt suicide. Those maids are expected to work around the clock, sleeping for only two or three hours a night.

“I worked in a house where the sponsors used to feed us one meal a day and lock the fridge later to make sure we didn’t eat anything else,” said Salma, an Indonesian housemaid.

Earlier this year, a maid tried to hang herself from the ceiling. Another tried to drink detergent to end her life. Yet another threw herself from the window of a building. The lucky ones were saved. Maids are also beaten up or sexually abused by their sponsors. An Arab News report published on Feb. 27 told the story of an Indonesian maid taken to hospital when she fell from the third floor of her sponsor’s building.

The doctors later found that the maid had been beaten up and tortured and found burns and lashing marks on her back. They also detected internal bleeding and an injury to her head.

I'm not sure whether the Prophet Muhammad would recognise those employing these servants as his followers. And in case you thought it was just happening in Saudi Arabia ...

Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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