Journeys out of the Ordinary | Tasini

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Photo: UN Women/M R Hasan
Photo: UN Women/M R Hasan

People tell me not to think about what happened. They say that it won’t help to think about it and that I should be strong and try to be happy like before. I know they mean well, but it will take some time before I can forget about the physical abuse I experienced when I was abroad. It will take some time before I can forget about having to sleep on a cold cement floor that caused my body to ache constantly. My employers beat me, and my body is covered in the evidence of that cruelty.

My wounds are slowly healing, and they will be replaced by scars. The scars will remind me of what I endured. For those long months, I lived in another family’s home, in another country, trying to take care of my own family back home in my own country. All I wanted was to go abroad to earn some extra money to pay for my son’s surgery. I’m his mother, and I migrated because it was my duty to help him. And after all of that the employers didn’t even pay me my wages. I came back with nothing but scars and painful memories.

I’m home now. My family, friends and neighbours are here for me, and they help me. A volunteer from the migrant workers’ association has also been a great support and I’m seeing a doctor who’s treating my injuries.

I’ve always been a hard worker, that’s what everyone says. They also tell me I’m strong.

I’m just happy to be back home.

My message to other migrant workers who are experiencing abuse by an employer is: “Know where to get help. Make sure to keep contact numbers separate from your phone in case your employer takes your phone. In my case, I went to the police and they returned me to my employers. I didn’t know where else to get help. Both the police and my employers told me never to tell anyone what happened. I was scared at first, but now I am telling my story so this won’t happen to anyone else.”