Pinay in Taiwan jumps from building to escape rape, murder attempt

A FILIPINA caregiver in Taiwan was forced to jump from the window of a second floor apartment to escape attempted rape and murder by her employer.

Eden Abarientos, a 43-year-old caregiver from Taiwan, suffered broken bones and severe injuries after she jumped from her employer’s window at 1:00 in the morning of September 9.

Abarientos arrived in Taiwan last August 31. When she arrived, she immediately experienced sexual harassment from her employer Chang Chiung-Liang.

In her sworn affidavit submitted to Migrante International, Abarientos said that her employer touched her breasts and private parts while she worked in the kitchen. “Araw-araw po ginagawa sa akin, halos oras-oras. Sinabihan ako ng amo ko na pumunta sa kwarto niya pero hindi ako pumayag. Bibigyan daw ako ng pera, sabi ko ayaw ko.”

Abarientos lasted for a week in her employer’s house before she decided to escape because she heard her employers talking about killing her. “Narinig ko na papatayin nila ako at ilalagay sa plastik.”

“Noong gabi ng September 8, nagluto ako ng hapunan, ako ang huling kumain. Nilagyan nila ng gamot ‘yung pagkain ko. Naramdaman ko na nanunuyo ang aking bibig, walang laway. Ang ginawa ko, uminom ako ng asukal na tinunaw sa kalahating basong tubig na mainit. Tapos tumalon na ako,” she said.

She was found by the police at 6:00 in the  morning. Taiwanese police brought her to the hospital. It was also the police that called her agency in Taiwan.

A certain Mrs. Chiu, representative of her agency, went to the hospital and promised to pay for her hospital bills. “Sinabihan ako na pumirma ng statement na katunayang wala akong habol sa employer ko pag-uwi ko sa Pilipinas at kung hindi ay papatayin daw ako kinabukasan. Isang Chinese, isang Pinay at iyong anak ng amo ko ang humarap sa agency at sa MECO.” The MECO (Manila Economic and Cultural Office) is the de facto Philippine embassy in Taiwan.

Abarientos said that she got no help from the embassy and from OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) officials in Taiwan. Her week’s worth of work was unpaid.

“Walang assistance mula sa OWWA o sa DFA. Ang agency ang nagbayad ng ticket ko. Asawa ko ang sumundo sa akin. Hanggang pag-uwi ko rito ay walang tulong ang ating gobyerno.” Abarientos was repatriated last October 5.

According to Gina Esguerra, Migrante International secretary-general, Abarientos’ case is one of the many cases of violence against women migrant workers.

“On November 25, the  International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children, we will call for justice for Abarientos and others like her who were victimized not only by perpetrators but also by government neglect and the circumstances that forced them to vulnerability and injustice,” Esguerra said.

She added the violence against women migrant workers and children will be one of the highlights in the witness testimonies for the upcoming International Migrants’ Tribunal.

The International Migrants’ Tribunal will be held on November 28-29 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. It is organized by the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), International Migrants’ Alliance (IMA) and the International Women’s Alliance (IWA).

The Tribunal will put on trial the Global Forum on Migrantion and Development (GFMD) as it is being facilitated by sending and receiving countries, including the Philippines. It is expected to be attended by judges and witnesses from different parts of the world.

One of the judges will be renowned theatre actress and women’s rights advocate Monique Wilson. The head judge will be Niikura Osamu, president of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA), a member organization of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

Migrante International and other migrants’ groups and advocate organizations will be witnesses to talk about the intensification of labor export in migrant-sending and receiving countries and its adverse effects on migrant workers.

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