Archives For Abuse


Today my heart cracked a little

I read the story of a mother from Mercer County, PA

Cracked my heart a little

I cried me a river when I heard

that

Mary Rader is a mother of four

Doing her job was too much of a chore

With her own mother and her mother’s husband living at her home

There’s was almost one child for each adult

Who could ask for more

But in her eyes it wasn’t good enough

So I don’t know her rhyme or her reason

But she chose her 7-year-old son Antonio

To be sent to his own private dungeon

He slept in the basement

with the cold cement floor for his bed and his bathroom

No company, no food, no hot water

Sometimes allowed upstairs for the sake of a cold shower

Maybe a small fraction of food

An occasional trip to the backyard

Not remembering how to play he catches bugs like a snake

for that he is beaten

He tries to sneak real food but is beaten again

So it’s time to return to the basement

Where silence has become his best friend

Each day that passes his pounds slip away

His little teeth begin to rot and his feet have become infected

What his case worker sees when he is finally found

is a poor little 7-year-old skeleton near his death

The adults tending to the house

Show no remorse of course

The case worker is puzzled

When she finds three healthy siblings running about the house

With no rhyme or reason poor Antonio lay wasting away

in a tomb darkened by boarded windows

What wrong could a poor little boy do

Covered in urine and feces atop his dirt riddled body

Near death she said

An undeserving mother now facing charges

Antonio and siblings with a better future ahead

Now Mary Rader must face the music

There is no penance that can save her

A full sentence must be served

May god heal her children with happiness and cheer

May they find peace through the love of good people

This is the only thing that can heal the crack in my heart

Copyright 2014 Today my heart cracked a little© Felina Silver Robinson


Domestic helpers rally outside Wanchai District Court in Hong Kong on Sept. 18 in support of an Indonesian maid who was tortured by her employers.

 

Reuters

The case of a young Indonesian maid hospitalized after allegedly being tortured by her employers has sparked outrage in Hong Kong, the latest in a series of cases that have spotlighted the abuse such workers often face.

According to a local migrant workers union, an Indonesian domestic helper in her 20s, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, arrived in Hong Kong in May and worked for eight months before leaving on Jan. 10 to return to Indonesia, where she is currently being hospitalized. During her employment, she was beaten and periodically burned to the point that she struggled to walk and use the bathroom on her own, said Sringatin, vice chair of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union. Sringatin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, added that the maid was being compelled to use diapers as a result.

Photos of an injured woman who the union identified as Ms. Sulistyaningsih showed a person with legs and arms that were badly lacerated and scabbed.

“They would always say she’s lazy, cannot work, cannot perform,” said Ms. Sringatin. It was unclear who had paid for Ms. Sulistyaningsih’s ticket or under what circumstances she left Hong Kong. Ms. Sringatin didn’t disclose the name of Ms. Sulistyaningsih’s employers.

The Hong Kong police said Tuesday that they are currently investigating a Sunday report from a domestic helper employment agency that an Indonesian maid may have been tortured by her employer, without identifying the woman by name.

Attempts to reach Ms. Sulistyaningsih were unsuccessful. The Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong said it has identified and plans to blacklist Ms. Sulistyaningsih’s employer, thereby barring that individual from hiring any Indonesian domestic helpers in the future, said Sam Aryadi, consulate spokesman. As of 2013, there were 155 employers in Hong Kong whom the consulate has blacklisted for mistreating their helpers, which includes offenses such as underpaying and physically abusing them, he said.

Hong Kong is home to some 150,000 Indonesian maids, largely female, who together account for roughly half of the city’s 300,000 domestic helpers. Most of the rest are from the Philippines.

In a recent report by Amnesty International titled “Exploited for profit, failed by government,” the group blasted the city for failing to adequately protect such women, declaring that employers “frequently subject  migrant domestic workers to serious human rights violations in Hong Kong,” including physical and sexual violence.

According to the report, three-quarters of the women they interviewed had their identity documents confiscated by their employers or placement agency, with many told that they would be returned only after their placement fees—which can cost as much as US$2,700 or more—were repaid.

A staff member at Ms. Sulistyaningsih’s employment agency, Chan’s Asia Recruitment Centre, said that they had heard from Ms. Sulistyaningsih only once after she arrived in Hong Kong, a month into her new position, when she called and said that her employers were too demanding and didn’t pay her on time. She didn’t complain of physical abuse and never called again, said the staff member.

On Tuesday, Ms. Sringatin said that Ms. Sulistyaningsih’s case showed how the requirement that maids live with their employers made them more vulnerable to abuse by denying them of any safe space of their own. “There were no witnesses to what was going on for her,” she said.

Hong Kong has seen several well-publicized abuse cases over the years, including one last year in which an Indonesian maid was scalded with an iron by her employers, whipped and periodically kept bound in a chair. Her employers, who denied the charges, were sentenced to prison last September. In another case, an employer was jailed for beating her Indonesian maid to the point that she also required hospitalization.

Note: This post has been updated to include comment from the Indonesian consulate.

– Te-Ping Chen and Chester Yung


 maid.jpg

Protest to call for support for abused Indonesian maid, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih at Jardein’s Crescent, Causeway Bay. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

An Indonesian domestic helper who claims she worked for the same employer accused of torturing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih revealed yesterday that she suffered similar beatings and death threats in 2010.

Sulistyaningsih, 23, who alleges she suffered months of torture in Hong Kong, is recovering in hospital in Sragen, on the main Indonesian island of Java, after returning home last week.

Her wounds are healing but she continues to suffer from headaches caused by blows to the head, according to Karsiwen, spokeswoman for the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers who is handling the case in Indonesia.

Sulistyaningsih has become angry, saying, “I want to go back to Hong Kong and beat back my employer,” said Karsiwen, adding that Sulistyaningsih has recently appointed lawyers in both Indonesia and Hong Kong.

At a “Justice for Erwiana” protest outside the Indonesian consulate in Causeway Bay yesterday, a 28-year-old Indonesian woman who gave only her nickname, Bunga, said she experienced 10 months of beatings working for the same female employer who allegedly abused Sulistyaningsih.

“One time the employer got so angry she dragged me onto the balcony and threatened to throw me off of it. She made me beg for my life,” Bunga said.

“I told her that she could beat me as much as she wanted but I went on my knees and begged her not to kill me because I had a son.”

Bunga said she was never allowed to go outside the employer’s apartment in Tseung Kwan O, and when the family went out, Bunga was locked inside.

“The woman threatened to pay the Indonesian police money to kill my entire family if I talked to others about the beatings,” she said.

The employer is in her forties and doesn’t work, with two teenage children and a husband who is rarely at home because he works elsewhere, Bunga and campaign organisers claimed.

Bunga said she was saved when her family in Indonesia told her agency in Hong Kong to help her.

“But the agency convinced me not press charges and got me a job with another employer instead. I was too scared to go to police. I’m speaking out now because I feel so sad I didn’t do anything to help Erwiana,” said Bunga, adding that she and Sulistyaningsih did not use the same agency.

Last night, “Justice for Erwiana” campaign organizers told the South China Morning Post that Sulistyaningsih was not allowed to leave the home and that before her boss allowed her to return to Indonesia, the woman threatened to “kill her family” if she told of her treatment.

Hong Kong police have launched an investigation and classified Sulistyaningsih’s case as wounding. The city’s police officers have visited the employer’s home, as have officials from the Indonesian consulate. A police spokeswoman said today that no arrests have yet been made.

Bunga said she would consider cooperating with police in the investigation.


By GERRY MULLANY

An alleged beating of an Indonesian domestic helper by her Hong Kong employer has drawn new attention to the treatment of the hundreds of thousands of such workers in the territory, raising questions about whether the authorities are vigilant in preventing abuses in such cases.

The helper, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, returned to Indonesia on Jan. 10, traveling through Hong Kong International Airport with the assistance of a friend because of cuts and burns on much of her body, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. The newspaper said she was now in critical condition at an Indonesian hospital.

Ms. Sulistyaningsih, who had worked for eight months for a family in Tseung Kwan O in the New Territories, was apparently given 100 Hong Kong dollars, about $13, by her employers before her departure and told not to talk to any Indonesians before boarding the plane, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong is home to an estimated 300,000 domestic workers, and they provide valuable services like child care to the city’s busy workforce. Amnesty International said in a report last year that Indonesian workers are particularly prone to abuses, as employment agencies lure them with promises of high pay, demand high fees to secure work for the helpers and then often withhold their documents to prevent them from leaving the territory.

“They are using deception and coercion to recruit Indonesian migrants and to compel them to work in situations which violate their human and labor rights,” said the November 2013 report. It said Hong Kong employers then “frequently subject migrant domestic workers to serious human rights violations in Hong Kong, including physical or verbal abuse.”

The treatment of such workers attracted intense media attention last fall when a Hong Kong couple was sentenced to three to five years in prison for essentially jailing their Indonesian helper for two years and torturing her by beating her with bicycle chains, a hot iron and a paper cutter. The woman was also allegedly tied to a chair for five days during the family’s vacation, and left without food and water.

In the latest case, the woman’s employment agency filed a report with the Hong Kong police alerting them to the alleged mistreatment — after she had left the territory.

“On the afternoon of Jan. 12, the police received notice from an domestic helper recruitment firm, that a foreign domestic helper was suspected of having been tortured by her employer,” said a police statement.

The woman apparently paid 18,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $2,300, to secure her job through an employment agency, even though such agencies are only allowed to charge 401 Hong Kong dollars under Hong Kong law, Robert Godden, an official with Amnesty International, told the South China Morning Post.

In its November report, Amnesty faulted the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Indonesian government for not doing enough to prevent such abuses.

“The Indonesian and Hong Kong SAR governments have not complied with their international obligations to prevent and suppress trafficking and the use of forced labor,” the report said. “They have failed to properly monitor, investigate and sanction individuals and organizations which are violating domestic legislation in their respective territories.”


Child welfare advocates urge church to support legislation

Military day care child abuse

BOSTON —Child welfare advocates have sent a letter to the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston asking him to back legislation that would extend the time that victims of childhood sexual abuse could file lawsuits.

The open letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley released Sunday came days after he announced a major effort by Pope Francis to explore ways the church can protect children from abuse and care for victims.

The Vatican commission marks the Catholic church’s first comprehensive effort to address a worldwide scandal that exploded in 2002 in Boston.

“Protecting the ‘dignity of the human person and the sanctity of (all) human lives,’ the expressed goals of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, apply to the quest for justice that victims of sexual abuse and advocates for children have been on for so long,” says the letter from a group of advocates led by Massachusetts Citizens for Children.

By supporting the legislation, “you can help us help them and prevent more children from being abused,” the letter reads, according to The Boston Globe.

The bills are the latest efforts by advocates to get the state Legislature to allow more time for victims of childhood sexual abuse to pursue their alleged abusers in state court. One proposal would allow abuse victims to file a lawsuit up to the age of 55.

Current law generally caps the filing age at 21.

Current law applies to all abuse cases and is not limited to church-related ones.
While not addressing the letter directly, a spokesman for the archdiocese says the church is committed to protecting children and helping victims.

“We indemnify and provide services for any person impacted by the sexual abuse of minors in the church, regardless of when the abuse took place,” Terrence Donilon said.

Opponents of similar legislation last year said they feared it could expose the church to additional liability.

 

 

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10/22/2013 — Leave a comment

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