Two weeks ago, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media reports say is the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral.
The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the woman dangling outside the window. The employer tells the woman to come back inside.
The panicked woman calls out for her to grab her, but within 12 seconds of the recording starting, the dangling woman loses her grip and falls.
The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported that the domestic worker is being treated at a hospital for a broken hand, as well as nose and ear bleeding.
Al-Seyassah also reported that the authorities arrested her employer, on Wednesday, and charged her for failing to assist her worker. The employer contends she tried to help.
Another daily, Kuwait Times, reported on Saturday that members of the Ethiopian embassy visited the worker at the hospital.
There the victim explained that her employer had locked her in a bathroom and threatened to kill her. She claims she was trying to escape and was not attempting suicide, as her employer had insisted.
This is not the first time a domestic worker – someone hired to clean, cook, and care for a household – attempted a dangerous escape or suicide. The Kuwaiti press often report such stories as “attempted suicides,” as with this recent incident.
They don’t usually question whether these were suicide attempts or, rather, attempts to escape. In 2009, Human Rights Watch spoke to eight women who were reported as having “attempted suicide,” but who said they had really fallen from buildings trying to escape abuse or were pushed by their employers.
No one has suggested that the employer in this incident was responsible for such abuse.