Once again, in the GDN today, there's an article about another housemaid who has killed herself. The article states, "Akhtar Allabagayath hanged herself after allegedly being repeatedly beaten by her female Bahraini employer". This happened on Feb. 26th but the sponsor nor the police reported it to the Indian Embassy, come to find out. The mother is the one who reported it after being contacted by the employer/sponsor.
The article goes on to say how the housemaid came to Bahrain in July 2004 and was repeatedly beaten by her employer and not paid her salary of BD40 for 18 months. And, believe me, BD40 is nothing for the work that they do and the torture many have to endure!
First, can you imagine how her mother must feel??!! Knowing that her daughter was treated this way and then she killed herself because of it. These women and men come here, most often, from very poor villages and they have to go into this field because there is no other choice. They are at the beck and call of their employers and are pretty much treated as slaves by many. Then, to top it all off, they are beaten, raped, abused and made to work 12 or more hr. days not only cleaning but looking after the children, working for multiple houses within the family (non-stop), they cook... they do everything.
You know, I've been privy to conversations about such and I've heard people make very negative comments about these women. Many believe that they do not deserve more and deserve to be treated worse than the way they're currently being treated. I wonder what some people would do if they were made to work from 4 or 5 in the morning until 10 or later at night, non-stop. During Ramandan, it's worse. Many have to get up at 2 to fix a huge meal for the family to eat prior to fasting. Then, there is no sleep afterwards. Many are not afforded afternoon naps and have to be on the go all the time. I can only imagine how exhausting it is. Cleaning house is not easy, and if you have children on top of that... just think about how tiring it is to raise kids, clean house, cook.... the list is never ending. And a lot of these women are doing it all by themselves w/ no help, whatsoever, from the madam/employer/sponsor or any of the children.
Many women/housemaids/houseboys have to sleep on the floors or IF they are given sleeping quarters, many are tiny places w/ just a matress, and many people feel this is justified. How can it be?
I have seen abuse of housemaids first hand. The housemaids do nothing but obey their masters. They don't get time off and are sometimes even locked inside the house because many people fear that the housemaid will mingle w/ men and wind up getting pregnant, which I've also seen happen. But such is life! How can someone deny basic human freedom? Isn't it normal to socialize, to have friends, to find someone appealing - to want to have love and/or a relationship? Who are we to deny this? These women come here and then are expected to NEVER have a relationship w/ anyone. What if they want to have a boyfriend or to get married? Shouldn't this be allowed? They do not belong to us. Who are we to take away their every right???
I just don't understand this... it is beyond my thinking ability. I could probably argue this case w/ certain people until I'm blue in the face and they still would not understand the point. I'd really love to see some of these Bahrainis that are abusing their housemaids get up and do the chores that these women and sometimes men have to do.... crap, I'd like to see some of these women take care of their own children for that matter! and then only get paid BD40 a month for it.
Some housemaids have it good though and are paid well, have good employers and freedom. Many embassies are starting to look at this huge problem and are trying to tackle the issues. I hope that, one day, these housemaids are treated like humans and glorified for the jobs they are doing in this country. One day.... maybe it will come.