Bottomline: I evolved from a domestic worker to a sex toy to be used,misused and abused by all male members of the family from the father to the sons. I resisted for as long as I could but the more I resisted the more they persisted the more it was painful. It came to a point I normalized the pain from the rape.
Every time I come across news stories on television,newspapers, social media or radio concerning African migrant caravans navigating the Sahara desert towards the Mediterranean sea with the hope of a better future, I just tell myself they don’t know what they are getting themselves into.Things might be tougher back home but its better to be poor with dignity than to be rich in disgrace.
News of how flotilla of boats often capsize in the Mediterranean due excess migrants as smugglers aim to make a kill out of desperate and disillusioned youthful migrants who hope for a better life on the shores of Europe. There might be few success stories about how migrant workers have managed to circumnavigate their way up the socio-economic chain the latest being the Malian spiderman Mamoudou Gassama, who was honored by being granted French citizenship thanks to his heroism there are many heartbreaking stories that will be told in the afterlife.
It has been two years since I came back from Muscat,Oman where I had been recruited as a ‘domestic’ worker by a local recruitment agency. After languishing in poverty for a better part of my life, I saw it as an opportunity to uplift my family from the lowest cadre in the social stratification system. The pay was good triple of what domestic workers earn around here,in fact it was even more than what first time graduate employees, diploma or degree holders earn, 500 US dollars as I was meant to believe.
What I wasn’t told is that the recruitment agency and agent had a significant ‘cut’, they pocketed close to half the salary as they sought to reimburse themselves of passport,air ticket and other hidden charges that they couldn’t explain in simple understandable terms, however, all in all it was still far much better than what lower cadre unskilled and semi skilled workers get over here.
On arrival I was picked by a local agent from Muscat International Airport who rarely spoke to me, supposedly he knew I had limited knowledge on Arabic.He just handed me a hijab to cover my hair confiscated my passport and phone though he said it was only temporary as we boarded his vehicle en-route to my new employer at one of the suburbs. I arrived at round 2 pm, the local agent exchanged pleasantries with my employer, a middle aged man who was either in his late 40’s or early 50’s. After the pleasantries I was welcomed into the compound,at last poverty was about to be pushed out of my life, so I thought.
It was a two storey maisonette each floor was home to one of the three wives in this polygamous arrangement with three wives and 19 children 8 boys and 11 girls. I was assigned a store like room that resembled a corridor, I could touch all corners of the room by stretching my arms out.My tiny-dingy room on the ground floor close to the kitchen and laundry area gave me a clear picture of what domestic chores await me. So tiny was the room that it only fitted my mat which acted as a mattress,no room was left to shelter my luggage save for my beddings.
The house was untidy clothes were scattered all over the house, different perfume stenches filled the air giving me a nauseating feeling accompanied with a mild headache, the sink had rotting dishes which were a week or so old. Nothing seemed to be going on as far as cleanliness was concerned.For a moment I was tempted to ask where the previous house manager had gone but I remained tight-lipped not to start off on a wrong foot with my new employer considering it was my ticket out of abject poverty.
Hardly had I settled down when one of the wives,the first one,I could tell from her commanding voice and sense of entitlement,from her choice of words,she never had a choice of words though. She started shouting at me in English to the nearest Arabic language reminding me that this was not a holiday camp I should start dirtying my hands. I started out at the Kitchen clearing the sink of rotting utensils before cleaning up the house from the ground floor up to the second floor. As I did this everyone was deep asleep as I donkeyed myself out till 2 am before blacking out on the floor as I was cleaning up.
The following day a doctor was invited over to carry out some medical tests on me, I cooperated since I presumed it was simply a standard practice for any employer to know the medical condition of the employee. I got some injections which also seemed normal to me then little did I know they were birth control injections which I was given every three months to ensure I don’t become two in one.What was to follow under the cover of darkness from that day henceforth can’t be narrated in printable words.
It became a routine,day in day out I evolved from a domestic worker to a sex toy to be used,misused and abused by all male members of the family from the father to the sons. I resisted for as long as I could but the more I resisted the more they persisted the more it was painful. It came to a point I normalized the pain from the rape.I tried to speak out to the wives about it but none bothered instead they hurled unspeakable insults towards me in particular and towards African domestic workers in general of how immoral and loose we were as we were the ones seducing their sons and husbands to our beds.
I barely slept, the father used to come in first finish what brought him to my humble abode before leaving after which the sons trooped in a systematic sequence from the eldest to the youngest. They never cared whether am on my periods or I will infect them with sexually transmitted diseases. To them I was just a sex playground to experiment with in preparation for their adult life. As tired as I was from the daily chores I couldn’t do anything to stop them at one point I was emotionally drained to an extent that I contemplated suicide as it seemed to be the easiest and only way out.
With no contact with the outside world,no means of getting word out to the local agent who brought me to my oppressors. Nine months down the line,I took one of the boldest step ever,threatening to jump to my death from the second floor if they won’t allow me to depart. I had already made up my mind to jump to my death head first,zero chance of survival it had come to that point. After close to an hour of standoff my handler came in, he had been called with my passport and cell phone.
Within the nine months of torturous ordeal I had never received a cent instead the handler was the one being paid my salary as a proxy.I requested for the contract to be terminated since I had already undergone enough emotional torture, I just wanted to go back home.To my disbelief he agreed to organize for my passage back home at a cost, he slashed a significant amount of my pay but that didn’t bother me considering of importance was life.I stayed at his house for three long days as I waited for him to organize my flight back.At some point I thought he wanted to offer me to another employer considering my visa had 11 months remaining before expiry.
I finally got to the flight and arrived home safely without any physical scars but plenty of emotional scars that always haunt me to date. In my dreams I see everything clearly nothing goes away as much as I try to close this chapter in my life, counselling hasn’t helped much.
All I want to tell our political elites and bureaucrats who are responsible for our under development,economic stagnation through plunder and outright theft of resources in Africa as they take their children to school in Switzerland,wives to shop in Dubai,close relatives to hospital in France,invest in the USA as they go for holidays in The Bahamas whereas they expect to be buried in Africa which is their cementry, Africans are still slaves in the Middle East and Europe thanks to them.