Domestic Terror, Saudi Style

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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The recent beheading of a foreign domestic servant in Saudi Arabia is just the latest in a horrifying litany of systematic abuse, torture and rape of female workers at the hands of their Saudi employers.

Ruyati binti Satubi, a 54 year-old Indonesian maid, was recently beheaded for killing her female Saudi employer with a meat cleaver. Claiming years of severe physical abuse, Satubi committed the murder when her employer had denied her permission to return home to Indonesia.

Although Satubi’s justification for her actions had no effect on the Saudi court’s decision, it certainly resonated among most of the over 2 million foreign women working as domestic servants in Saudi households.

Many of these women — most of whom hail from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines — have routinely been subjected to emotional, sexual and physical abuse by their Saudi employers.

Sadly, these maids were all recruited by employment agencies in their home countries, but most had little idea where they were going or what would be expected of them, which probably makes sense given what awaited them on their arrival.

Of course, the Saudis have been notorious for the horrid treatment they have directed toward their seven million strong migrant workforce, most of whom have long been subjected to wretched working conditions, physical abuse and unjust imprisonment.

According to a 2008 US State Department report, many unskilled foreign workers in Saudi Arabia — especially domestic workers — had been subjected to “nonpayment of wages, debt bondage, confinement, confiscation of passports, contract switching, intimidation, and physical abuse.”

Not surprisingly, female workers were found to be particularly vulnerable victims. In fact, so widespread is the abuse of domestic servants that some countries — most notably India — no longer allow its citizens to work in Saudi Arabia as housemaids.

Unfortunately, the Saudi’s Islamic judicial system offers no assistance to this horrifying problem. While foreign professionals can seek redress for grievances in Saudi labor courts, unskilled workers –such as housemaids– are not protected by Saudi labor law and therefore have no legal recourse.

The result is that Saudi employers are more often than not given the role of meting out extra judicious punishments. These disciplinary measures have included an Indonesian maid being burned with an iron, beaten and her face and lips cut with scissors; a repatriated Sri Lankan maid having had 24 hot nails embedded into her hands, legs, and forehead; and a 36 year-old Indonesian maid having her neck slashed and her body dumped on a roadside by her employer.

So, in order to escape this living hell, thousands of domestic servants run away from their Saudi employers each year. In 2010 alone, at least 2,800 Sri Lankan housemaids reportedly ran away from their Saudi sponsors, claiming they had been overworked, sexually abused or physically mistreated by jealous wives.

Unfortunately, escape doesn’t guarantee a return trip home since all foreign workers need the consent of their employer or “sponsor” before they can leave the country. Therefore, the runaways are forced to rely on their embassies to resolve the problem.

To that end, shelters for runaway maids have been setup by both the Philippine and Indonesian diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Jeddah. According to one Indonesian official, there are currently close to 400 maids at one shelter alone. In fact, the Indonesian embassy is so overloaded with cases of abused workers that it recently hired a full-time Saudi lawyer to deal with all of the criminal cases.

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  • sharpsrifle

    The irony is that this whole sordid situation further reveals what islime actually is: Arab hegemony/superiority. The Indonesian woman who was beheaded was a muslima…but non-Arabs, even mohammedan non-Arabs, are still viewed as slaves or worse by the Arab mohammedans.

    Just seal the Arab countries off and let them destroy themselves. That'd be best for the rest of the world.

  • StephenD

    Say, why don't we put restrictions on drilling for oil on land here in the States so we can save a snowy egret's habitat and continue and increase doing business with Saudi Arabia?
    Maybe if we give more money to them they will be more humane to their subservient indentured servants. Doesn’t matter, so long as Washington can keep the media from mentioning this they can ignore it while they tout their concern for “Human Rights.”

  • myomy

    Why oh why didn't Truman nuke all the muslims too before he left office? He would have done the world a big favor if he had. These muslim savages are the lowest form of human life on the planet. There is no such thing as a moderate muslim, those are just muslims who aren't devout enough yet.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Just curious…can anyone point to just one Muslim majority country anywhere in the world where Christians and other unbelievers aren’t violently oppressed and systematically persecuted when not outright slaughtered altogether, and where they can build new houses of worship and practice their respective religions openly and freely?

    Yet, according to our government’s official position and the lamestream media as well, Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists, and we really don’t have anything to worry about mass Muslim immigration to the West, even as the vast overwhelming majority of Muslim immigrants to the West have flat out refused to assimilate and integrate and formed segregated Muslim no-go zones ruled by Sharia instead.

  • LindaRivera

    All countries must join principled India and not allow their citizens to work as house maids in Saudi Arabia.

    It is evident that Saudi Arabia employers don't even look upon foreign house maids as being human. They are looked upon as prey to be abused in terrible ways. All countries must not only ban their citizens from working in Saudi Arabia, they must demand that every one of their citizens are sent home immediately. It is a matter of life or death.

  • Anthony

    Hey Americans !
    It is now time to bomb Mekkah and Medinah and obliterate Islaam just as you did to the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    Strike soon or you will regret for the delay. With best wishes.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The Saudis are paying for a war against us, subverting education to be anti-American
    and anti-Israeli, promoting violence and mayhem. The are a low desert breed
    of barbarian nomads that made money on our needs and payed the powers
    that be to end American oil drilling and exploration, leaving Americans in a
    financial lurch where we export wealth in unbelievable amounts to the barbarian
    Islamist enemies fighting our troops in the Middle East. Two things, all of the
    Muslim States are our enemies and secondly so are the American Politicians that
    promote doing business with them to our peril…………………………William

  • Ghostwriter

    Sadly,there have also been cases of Saudis in this country abusing foreign help. Some years ago,I read of a couple of Saudi immigrants who had virtually enslaved a maid from somewhere I can't remember. Eventually,she escaped and contacted the police. They caught them and now are serving prison terms. Hopefully,exposure of this can help put an end to this type of abuse.

  • BS77

    Sudan, LIbya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria…..hell holes …..when will the West awaken??

  • Dispozovdaburka

    I heard that pigs blood is an age old remedy for Muslims.

  • kafir4life

    I think the main crux and root cause of the problem has been largely overlooked. In Saudi Arabia, I've heard that they're fond of the pedophilic maniac that shat the terror guide the koran. A maniac they call mohamat, or momo the pig-faced pedophile. Nobody is really sure why they do, but they tend to attempt to be as much like this insane half dog, half pig beat (mohamat if you forgot) as they can. In order to behave like momo, it's required that they behave un-human. Therefore, rape, beheadings, torture, etc. are considered a positive influence on the ;"ummah", or muslim gang of sub-humans.

  • Wesley69

    The wonderful, peaceful, humane religion of Islam that permits such abuse and its courts that uphold it.