A Nepali Woman’s Ordeal in Saudi Arabia

Swayambhunath in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Swayambhunath in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Photo: Dhilung Kirat.

Raped, battered, made pregnant, then kicked out: a common story

Sapana Bishwokarma, 26, has no answer when she is asked about the father of the two-year-old boy who plays beside her. She says her body trembles with fear each time she recalls her son’s father.

“I didn’t know that man very well,” says Bishwokarma, who requested her name be changed. “He used to rape me as many times as he wanted, any given time of the day.”

Bishwokarma, from an eastern Nepal district, moved to Saudi Arabia four years ago as part of an army of millions of economic migrants, to work as what she thought would be a nanny, enticed by an employment agent with the prospect of a good income. She says she paid the agent about US$700 to secure the job. To get around a government ban on working in the Gulf – which was in force when Bishwokarma was seeking employment but was officially lifted last year – she travelled first to neighboring India.

Read more: Asia Sentinel

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