The Saudi English daily Arab News published a report today about the apparent growing trend of maids who attack their employers as a response to mistreatment. The report, titled “Maids turn up the heat on sponsors” portrays the maids as the abusers, while barely mentioning the abuse maids suffer all across Saudi Arabia.
Following this line, “Maids’ sneaky ways to get back at their sponsors vary from black magic to child abuse”, the report provides interviews with a number of Saudi woman who’ve suffered at the hands of their maids. We of course don’t dismiss the reports about children who have been abused by maids, or murders and theft perpetrated by maids. However, reports such as this one, which portray the sponsors as victims and maids as aggressors, are disregarding the weakness of migrant workers in Saudi society and the little to no rights and state protection they are offered.
The report concludes with this ridiculous paragraph:
A Saudi woman said her husband left her and married the maid because she put a spell on him.
“I accidentally noticed a piece of thin fabric which held some hair and some unknown words written on it under my husband’s pillow. I searched more and I found a voodoo doll between his clothes. I later discovered that my maid was making a love talisman for my husband to make him leave me and marry her,” said Umm Omar, a housewife.
These kind of reports help justify racist attitudes toward migrant workers and their abuse. Aggressors who feel like they are the real victims will persist with their abuse with no scruples. Saudi media should be reporting less about witch maids, and more about the systematic discrimination against migrants under the sponsorship system in the kingdom.