I am delighted to report that we have a happy ending for the maid. The night of the confrontation, the wife attacked her as well, for having the audacity to seek help from our housemaid. Our housemaid had advised her of her rights, and has a good friend at the Employment Agency that originally brought her over.
The maid bailed out late that night. The agency intervened with the family, and obtained the release of the maid's paperwork, passport, and personal effects the very next morning. The maid has accepted a somewhat better paying position with a new family, who have been thoroughly advised of the maid's rights. The maid is aware the Stone and I are happy to intervene again, and that she is not to return to A's house without Stone along to escort her. I'll be sure to let you know how it works out in the long run.
Our maids have been instructed to call the police if the man of the house so much as looks at them. The guy is clearly an asshole, and both adults have now shown a propensity for violence.
Stone will be speaking to the wife, and possibly the Husband in the office today, after enlisting the support of a Senior Omani Female to supervise the discussion. Key points will include:
- We are aware of the Maid's claims, and believe them.
- Treating and paying your housemaid like that is unacceptable Socially, morally, and legally.
- A short rundown of the legal rights of any Expatriate employee.
- That neither Husband or Wife are to set foot on our property ever again, and they are not to have any contact with our housemaids whatsoever.
- That we have lots of ROP wasta, and plenty of Corporate wasta.
- That we will be watching, closely, the treatment of A and any future maids.
- We will not hesitate to throw every ounce of Wasta we have at having charges pressed at the first sign of abuse or neglect, either towards the maid, or A.
I think that anyone who treats thier household staff in such a manner is unlikely to treat thier children much better. Perhaps the threat of knowing that we, and other neighbours are watching will be enough.
I really, really, really want to thank those who commented for the good advice, and for the votes of support. I also want to highlight a couple of really great points from the comments section. For the full text of all the excellent comments, please follow the link at the top of the page.
mmk080 said: sadly the mentality is that it will be crazy if we didnt pay them the absolute minimum, it would be 'tabtheer' or 'wasteful'... what's wasteful is our lack of use concsiousness when it comes to treating other human beings like this
That is such a good point! It's one of the ways people justify doing the wrong thing here. Stone and I don't feel it's wasteful to pay our maid well, because we are supporting her family in making thier lives better in the process. Her Son has attended a good school, and has diplomas in Hospitality and Graphic Design. Her Husband gets private medical care for his affliction. Her grandchildren are attending a top preschool back home, and she is able to save for her retirement. There is nothing wasteful about that.
Outsider said: To me, it seems that there is very little enforcement of social norms beyond the very superficial, such as wearing proper clothing. God forbid someone goes out scantily clad, but many will turn a blind eye to what the neighbor is doing to the maid as its not their business.... As long as (a) a minority thinks that they can do whatever the hell they want with no consequences and (b) no one calls them on it, people will continue to act like assholes, from cutting queue to abusing their maids. Very different degrees of wrong, but they both require social enforcement to be stopped.
Thank you so much for your lengthy and thoughtful reply. You. are. dead. right. Nothing much will change until the society decides to start saying aloud that a particular behavior is unacceptable. My mom sometimes says that Sunshine is the best disinfectant. I. E. putting the problem out in the open is usually enough to make the problem go away. It's unfortunate that the usual reaction to problems like this here is to ignore them, or cover them up for fear of causing trouble or embarrassment.
Dragon, Hajib, Alex, and Anon's # 1,2,3 & 4, Thanks a million for taking the time to comment, and for the very, very, Very, good advice. Please come back anytime.
Later in the week, I will write something funny, and maybe publish a love note to Stone.
Also, Suggestions for Blog Posts are always welcome. OtherOman at Gmail Dot Com