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11 August, 2007

Tahiya's tale

Tahiya was a young Bangladeshi girl whose older sister, Asma, had worked as a housemaid in Dubai for several years. Her employers were very good people, and when the wife's cousin needed a housemaid, they recommended Tahiya.

Tahiya came over to Dubai to work for the cousin and his wife, who lived nearby in Jumeirah. Tahiya was supposed to be about 21, but she looked around 16 and may well have lied about her age in order to get overseas employment. She spent most of her days off with her elder sister, and was a happy and spirited girl.

One summer Tahiya's employers went overseas. While they were away Asma visited Tahiya and found her bleeding and in great pain. Asma called her "madam" (her female employer) who quickly drove Tahiya to a private hospital - some sixth sense stopped her choosing a cheaper, government clinic.

It turned out that Tahiya had suffered a miscarriage. A Bangladeshi handyman had been hanging around the villa during the summer, and the obvious happened. The hospital said there was very little they could do for Tahiya, because the necessary medical prodecure (a dilation and curretage) would have to be reported to the authorities, since Tahiya was unmarried.

So after Tahiya had received basic treatment, Asma's employer drove both sisters to the airport and bought them a ticket to Bangladesh, where Tahiya could get proper medical care without fear of prosecution.

Four years later, Tahiya is back in Dubai working as a housemaid again. She has not had a very happy life since. She married a man in Bangladesh but he severely physically abused her, and they divorced. Luckily Asma was able to find her another good situation in Jumeirah. But Tahiya no longer looks like an impish young girl. Her ordeals have taken their toll, and she now looks considerably older than her years.



Blogger ali900 said...

Reading these stories of sorrow are greatly painful but this is such an everyday common problem now these days, and no one does much.

There isn't enough government action to support or help these people WITHOUT THE FEAR OF PROSECUTION and i promise you, if the guy was a local or anyone who has authority or power, they would be serving a jail term for "ADULTERY" and then deported - never to come back to the UAE.

On the other hand, shouldn't there be a system which helps or at least SUPPORTS these people? At least listen to their stories and be given a second thought?

11 August, 2007 13:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Ali900,
If you continuously play the “FEAR OF PROSECUTION” trump card, nothing will ever change. Someone needs to take the risk and suffer the consequences to induce change – otherwise absolutely nothing will be done about these sad incidences.
Also this is the result of tabuing such topics, because do we really know how many Emirati girls are victims of sexual abuse? How many will be forced to have illegal abortions? Resulting only in being stigmatized by society …?

11 August, 2007 14:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an horrific tale, hopefully Tahiya's new employers are as enlightened as her cousin's were.

Unfortunately the poor woman, as she must be now, will most likely not be able to read the responses here, or indeed the article.

Hopefully, as Dave Allen, Irish comedian, used to say, "May your God go with you, Tahiya".

11 August, 2007 15:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw why ws my comment held for until approved by the owner?

11 August, 2007 23:34  
Blogger secretdubai said...

All comments are held for moderation.

And yours was offensive, so it was rejected.

11 August, 2007 23:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for the good guys but... thats the way men are. A man used me for 4 years, and me too, I became in a short time old, frustrated and sad.
Strange thing is, they blame it on us, its all our fold.
And then they wonder, where do all those bitches come from?
I can really feel that girls pain, I hope in long terms, things will turn out right for her....

12 August, 2007 00:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should not tell this, but right now, this man works for the goverenment in Dubai.
Talking about menpower....

12 August, 2007 01:48  
Blogger Bravecat said...

It's funny how people with power just expect you to forget that you're a human being for as long as you live and work unmarried in the Gulf.

12 August, 2007 09:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Tahiya no longer looks like an impish young girl. Her ordeals have taken their toll, and she now looks considerably older than her years.

No woman, irrespective of her origin or ethnicity deserves such a treatment.

Good Lord, may no woman endure such a predicament under your watch.


12 August, 2007 10:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cartouche & Qatar Cat,
It seem you girls / ladies in the UAE urgently need one of those “Cheaters / bad date / bastards” (don’t know exactly what they are called?) websites to expose those faces to the rest of us and warn other potential female victims about them. Looking forward to finding some of my colleagues and some of those incompetent nerve wrecking guys in government positions on there :- )

12 August, 2007 12:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

H in A says

Since we are on a related topic, it is a fact that none of the hospitals on clinics in UAE will do an abortion even for medical emergencies. I had my wife at American Hospital, and they refused to do an abortion , rather letting her have a painful miscarriage, with some painkiller aid. I tried to take her out to other hospitals, and realised for the first time that no hospital there would do an abortion, it is either banned due to religious reasons, or maybe it needs some special sanctions from powers up there.

So all you expats out there, be aware of this. I hope they do make an exception if it is life threatening. The more medicine progresses, more other things regress. Beats science, and logic. But where was the question of logic here anyways.

12 August, 2007 12:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't be bitter about men - I would tend to agree that most men are dogs, but hardly most of them are inhumane.

The problem in the UAE and the Gulf in general is that house help are not seen as full-fledged humans. This is an attitude that cannot be changed overnight. It is the media's job to change those perceptions. Where is the responsible media?

12 August, 2007 12:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK we build some "Cheaters/Beware of these *$@!!" web sites. Then what? Wait for sissy-salat to block them because its against the culture and religious beliefs to tell the truth?!

And seriously...responsible media?! If not for blogs, the outside world would still believe that workers have rights here!

12 August, 2007 13:24  
Blogger Man of Letters said...

How sad. I hope things get better for Tahiya.

Where's the source of this by the way? Was it in any news article?

12 August, 2007 13:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dated a local girl for 2 years. She had been raped by her step brother when she was twelve years old. When she told her father, she got beaten up instead. Until she was fourteen one of her unkles used to touch her in her private places as well. She also told me it was very common among her friends. Many of them were abused.

Finally we had to break up since her parents would not allow a Hindu Indian to marry their daughter. In a way I am glad since I do not have to handle her people or her emotional baggage anymore.


12 August, 2007 14:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear sevensummits and fellow atheist,

i must say, i was so hurt and the temptation was very high to expose his face and name on the internet.
But than what?
He has a very high position at the government, he would probably start a prosecution for calumny (i'm not sure if calumny is the right word)
Anyway, i'm sure he would win and i would be left even more bitter and hurt.
Its frustrating to know, that he lives a nice rich life in Dubai, and that people overthere respect and like him... but thats the way it is and there is nothing i can do about it.
Maybe, if there is a God, one day he will be punished for it, thats all i can hope for.

But this is not about me, this is about Tahiya, lets pray the poor girl will find the happiness she deserves.

12 August, 2007 15:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand personal blogs moderating comments but a blog which is all the time whinning about the injustice and freedoms of speech of the government and wht not ,being run like a little dictatorship ,lol talk abt double standards.maybe in ur quest to westernize dubai u have become more sheikofied then u realize

12 August, 2007 19:20  
Blogger secretdubai said...

When I wrote this entry, I decided that out of respect to Tahiya I wasn't going to allow any comments of people trying to slag her off or cast their own sanctimonious judgements.

Happily, you are the only person who has done so. I haven't had to reject any other comments except yours.

Maybe, rather than ranting at me, you should go away and take a long hard look at yourself and your motivations. You might want to ask yourself why you felt it necessary to post that comment, and why you have chosen such a username.

And then maybe you might grow up a little bit.

12 August, 2007 19:28  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Where's the source of this by the way? Was it in any news article?

Some friends - they were the people that employed Tahiya.

12 August, 2007 19:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe in ur quest to westernize dubai u have become more sheikofied then u realize

Whoa! Be careful what you say here. You may end up burying yourself should some righteous bloggers see you offending the rulers!

Hey Moron, this has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This post pertains to a woman that's been ravaged and taken advantage of. Have some respect for her, as we would, if God forbid, your Mother or Sister were in a similar predicament.

See the light of this comment any which you like; it could either be a truck or wisdom approaching your way.

12 August, 2007 20:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all i sed was if u live in a place where it is illegal to hv sex out of marriage you should

1.respect the law and not do it

2.or do it and use a contraceptive so nobody knows(not be stupid)

but since i am ranting(disagreeing with u) ull probly go ahed and delete this too.y i dont hv to take long hard luks in the mirror to know who i am is becoz i dnt hide it,its out there for evryone to see like in my nickname.

kyle since my comment ws nvr posted u didnt know wht i sed and still u felt a selkf righteous urge to call me a moron and throw a truck load of wisdom at me.i will not call u a moron because there is no need to.

13 August, 2007 01:54  
Blogger Bhetti said...

Second class citizens.


And I can't believe I never thought about it when I grew up with this. I definitely think about it now.

It's just. Oh, the pain.

The more ignorant the khaddama, the more happier the employers... even if she did have rights, they'd make sure she'd be too afraid to assert them.

Change takes time. You can't exactly throw a revolution in the UAE or force anyone to change things. You can only do your best to make sure the future generation understand what's happening. They access information in places their parents can never dream of.

I feel a sense of hopelessness inside me prevail, however, because innately I believe that humanity is more likely to be selfish and evil. Where old evils are conquered, new ones are created.

Is it enough? Have we, through history, actually made the world better? Or just found more ways to make it worse?

Even as we try, I have to ask: Can we fight this?

13 August, 2007 05:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wht i sed and still u felt a selkf righteous urge to call me a moron

I'll skip Moron. How about Ace then but only after you re-baptize yourself & refrain from deliberate typos.

and throw a truck load of wisdom at me

It worked, didn't it? Because your comment got published instead of getting lost in cyber space.

13 August, 2007 07:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enlightening as usual.

13 August, 2007 10:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of agree with f--3-. Respect the rule of the land you're living in, and not try and ridicule it because its not as "western" as you like. But then again, adequate measures must be taken to protect women who've been abused.

13 August, 2007 11:03  
Blogger Orange Bronze said...

Our house maid bought with her savings gold before she went back to Srilanka, while waiting for her plain in Sharjah airport, three attempts were made to know this girl, as she was wearing all the gold she bought on flight!
No, we did not agree on that, in fact, the money that she bought the gold with was money that we saved for her, so that she would not send it home and her alcoholic brother would just spend it, and none would reach her very young son.

13 August, 2007 17:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having grown up in the UAE, I am aware of the kind of double standards that exist towards all moral issues. The extent of judgement and shame depends on social status and gender.

A wealthy businessMAN can behave like scum and never raise an eye brow. While the poor and lonely domestic help seeking any kind of companionship with the opposite sex will be flogged or at the least deported.

Socially the UAE is stuck in the European Middle Ages. The concepts of the Enlightenment, though several centuries old, have yet to arrive here.

13 August, 2007 20:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Khaleej Times:

Expat gets 3 years jail for raping 5-yr-old girl
By Adel Arafah

14 August 2007

ABU DHABI — Upholding the verdicts of the lower courts, the Federal Supreme Court has sentenced an expatriate, convicted of sexually assaulting a minor girl, to three years in jail followed by deportation.

The case unfolded when the child’s father lodged a complaint against the accused, M.S., whom the five-year-old girl had identified by name. The culprit was detained. He admitted to his crime.

The Public Prosecution charged him with violently kissing, hugging, and raping the child, and prayed that he be penalised in accordance with the rulings of Islamic Shariah, and article 2/356 of the Federal Penal Code.

The Shariah Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced the accused to three years in prison, and deportation thereafter. The ruling was confirmed in the Shariah Criminal Court of Appeal.

M.S. moved the Federal Supreme Court, contending that the previous judgment be declared null and void. He denied having raped the girl, and claimed to have only harassed her. The Apex Court dismissed his petition, and upheld the verdicts of the lower courts

......................... and who pays for the stigma the little girl carries all her life long??

Cheers to justice .... blind indeed.

Sam Hunter

14 August, 2007 07:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re anonymous' comment on abortion in uae hospitals. whilst i dont necessarily agree with it if it was not the case my daughter would not be here. hospital in sharjah said i was having a miscarriage and in uk i would have been cleaned out without a second thought or a scan or anything. in sharjah they sent me away told me to come back in a week. after few days bleeding it stopped very odd, then i started feeling still pregnant. when i went back after a week they did a scan and found i had had two babies, one had miscarried. the other was fine and is now 13. she wouldnt be here if i had been in uk so sometimes this policy is an advantage.

14 August, 2007 10:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and who pays for the stigma the little girl carries all her life long??

The judge should have ordered his weenie chopped off. That'd set a precedent for future perps who ever thought of going weenie happy.

14 August, 2007 16:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:43,

I hope you are not saying that hospitals in UK would carry out an abortion without first thoroughly examining your uterus. In which case, the presence of a second foetus would've probably been detected.

15 August, 2007 06:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to question about hospitals in uk i had 2 miscarriages, in 1979 and 1981 and in those days they didnt have scans like now. both times i had a d&c with no checking who knows. if the comment about the stigma the girl carries is aimed at me i was happily married and already had children there was no abuse involved i was merely commenting on the fact that in uae due to the abortion laws they are not so quick to do a d&c which is not necessarily a bad thing. my daughter is a happy well adjusted 13 year old. if that wasnt aimed at me then i apologise for misreading it.

21 August, 2007 02:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people have ended up in prison because of sexual abuse. Even reporting it to the police will get them locked up inside a jail in any one of the emirates. If any of you have stories on people you can post them on i wonder how long it will last before etisalat ban it?

26 August, 2007 10:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am unmarried, and ended up at a government hospital a while ago, with severe abdominal pain and bleeding. It turned out I was pregnant. I needed an emergency procedure to deal with the bleeding, and this operation could effectively be considered an abortion. I was not reported to the police, I was safely discharged from the hospital after a lengthy stay, and there was - and will be - no prosecution.

Oh, by the way, did I mention I was white? Yet more proof of the dual rules this country operates...

28 August, 2007 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I am surprised about is how do all the underaged people come into the country with official documents and pass papers from the offices in their capitals to come here. It is very clear how young a lot of them look, and very obviously they are not being ask to produced the birth certificate when getting the passports. This is major legal loophole, I just don't understand. No wonder they face problems here. I think all birth certificates should be produced before they leave and enter any country to work.

22 September, 2007 17:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is really sad that abortions are illegal especially for people that need them like Tahiya...

I also agree of the double standards in the gulf, as white women do get them easier....

It happened to a friend of mine while being single and working in Dubai. Her boyfriend was Emirati and insisted she aborts no matter what.
Fortunately she was European so she dumped him, flew back home and kept the baby.
Now he is banging his head against the wall as she refuses to add him to the birth certificate.

25 September, 2007 23:26  

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