A woman from the Philippines, working as hired help in Saudi Arabia, succumbed to severe wounds while in coma last week. The officials believe her injuries were a result of sexual assault by none other than her employer.
Irma Avila Edloy died at the King Salman Hospital in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh. While she was unable to identify her assailant, the 35-year-old pointed at her boss when asked who abused her, according to ABS CBN News.
“Before she went unconscious, the nurse told me that the employer went there which elicited a reaction from Irma,” Philippine Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre "Bebot" Bello III said in a radio interview from Jeddah. “The employer allegedly appeared tense and left. And when the nurse asked her if she was maltreated, she pointed to her employer.”
Edloy suffered several cardiac arrests during her short stay at the hospital, but the doctors revived her each time. Tragically, she died on Aug. 18 while in a deep coma. Nurses reportedly claim that her underwear was covered with blood when she first got there.
The Philippine labor chief, who is currently in the kingdom to help repatriate the stranded Philippine workers who have lost their jobs, also recalled his meeting with the injured woman.
“I introduced myself and whispered to her to move her fingers if she can hear me but there was no response,” he said.
The official also raised the suspicion that Edloy might have been a victim of gang rape due to the extent of her wounds.
“The DFA will continue to do whatever is necessary for Ms. Irma Edloy and her family,” Charles Jose, a representative for the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs, told GMA News Online, “including the repatriation of her remains and legal action against the perpetrator, especially if the legal report indicates that Ms. Edloy passed due to her wounds from any maltreatment.”
Due to the Philippines’ bad economy, thousands of locals seek employment opportunities outside of their own country. As a result, Saudi Arabia, the nation of luxurious lifestyle, has become the largest employer of working class Filipinos in the world.
Cases of sexual abuses, maltreatment and unpaid salaries, though common in the kingdom, are rarely reported due to wealthy locals' influence. Currently, approximately 11,000 Filipinos are among tens of thousands of foreign workers stranded in the country, affected by the Gulf state’s financial woes.
However, as Bello asserted, the government is trying to bring them back to their homeland.
Meanwhile, the Saudi government is investigating Edloy’s death and the rape allegations.