KUWAIT CITY, Nov 29: The Filipina who was raped and stabbed several times on the neck by a Kuwaiti Traffic Police in the early morning of October 1, 2012 at the desert in South Surra and was left almost dead along the highway finally flew back home to the Philippines on Sunday morning after eight years of fighting for justice.
Marissa, 35, a native of T’Boli, South Cotabato in Southern Philippines was among the over 300 Overseas Filipino Workers who were on board the Kuwait Airways chartered flight organised by Al Tayer Travels on Sunday morning. “I’m filled with mixed emotions. I can’t explain what I feel right now. I’m filled with happiness and at the same time nostalgic, looking back at the eight long years of fighting for justice. Finally, justice is served,” stated Marissa as her eyes welled with tears after checking in at the airline counter.
The Kuwait Court of First Instance sentenced the traffic policeman to death in June 2014 after he was convicted of raping Marissa and trying to kill her by stabbing her several times. However, the policeman’s legal counsel appealed to the Court of Appeals and the death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Kuwaiti human rights lawyer Sheikha Fawzia Salem Al-Sabah who visited Marissa at the hospital volunteered to be her legal counsel pro bono, after learning about her case in the media. “I would like to thank Atty.
Sheikha Fawzia Al-Sabah who volunteered to take my case and be my lawyer. Thank you to the Philippine Embassy, to Ambassador Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, Vice Consul Adrian Baccay, Vice Consul Charleson Hermosura and the rest of the embassy staff.
To the POLO-OWWA, Assistant Labour Attache Cathy Duladul, Welfare Officer Atty Llewelyn Perez, Welfare Officer Jingles and all the staff. To all those who helped me in this fight for justice,” shared Marissa. Meanwhile, Sheikha Fawzia wished Marissa all the best to start a new life with the civil compensation that she received from her case. “I wish you good life, forget what had happened before. I wish you peace of mind and happiness,” stated Sheikha Fawzia during their last meeting at the law office prior to Marissa’s departure.
Marissa was deployed to Kuwait on September 12, 2006 to work as a Household Service Worker for three years and later on at a dress shop in Farwaniya. Based on her account, in the late evening of September 30, she and her female friend came out from a mall along the sixth ring road.
They were inside a cab on their way home to Farwaniya when they were stopped by a policeman who alighted from the police car. Unfortunately, her residence visa just expired four days ago and it’s still being renewed by her new sponsor.
The policeman let her friend got away as she still has a valid visa while she was taken by the police to the police car. Instead of taking her to the police station, he drove her to a dark deserted place in South Surra where he raped her inside the police patrol car and stabbed her with a Swiss knife on the neck and back, leaving her almost dead. But Marissa managed to crawl by the roadside where a passing car found her and took her to the Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital. “It was a tough fight but what kept me strong was my faith in God. There were times I felt like giving up but I prayed more for God to give me enough strength to go on. This is my second life. I would have been dead at the desert at that time but thank God, I’m alive. It may have been a tough and lonely fight but it was all worth it. We have to stand up for our rights. To all the women who have been raped and are victims of violence and abuses, we should not be afraid to speak up and fight,” she pointed out.
Marissa, who was seen off at the airport by the Philippine Embassy team led by Vice Consul Adrian Baccay and POLO-OWWA team led by Atty Llewelyn Perez, looks forward to spending Christmas with her 14-year old son and family back home after spending eight Christmases at the Filipino Workers Resource Center with other distressed Filipina workers who like her had been victims of various forms of abuses.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff