Dubai: A Filipina victim of a rape bid who won her case against her attacker urged her compatriots to seek help and not cower in fear nor let their non-confrontational culture get in the way of justice.
M.S., a Filipina receptionist, was given justice last week when Dubai Court gave a guilty verdict to an Emirati who beat her after failing to rape her.
The single mother of one was looking for a job when the crime happened. The accused lured her to a villa in January with the promise that she would be taken to a company-provided accommodation. She said she was hired to work in a travel agency owned by the accused.
“I managed to outsmart him and called for help but he beat me up badly,” M.S., 26, told Gulf News a day after she learnt about the verdict. “Many people discouraged me from filing a case but I am glad I did not listen to them. Someone even said I could be charged with immorality if I sought police assistance.”
A fellow Filipino gave her Dh50 to take a cab so she could report the crime to authorities. A nurse at Rashid Hospital referred her to volunteer social worker Ray Angulo who connected her with the Assistance-To-Nationals (ATN) Section of the Philippine Consulate General.
They [victims] will get help. They just need to speak up and stand up for their right. I really salute the ATN Section of the consulate for doing just that for M.S.”
- Ray Angulo | Volunteer social worker
“The consulate appointed a lawyer to handle my case and I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as he told me that we won the case,” M.S. said with a smile. “I’m grateful to our ATN officers, consulate officials, Ray Anggulo, the nurse and everyone who helped me.”
M.S. said she decided to speak up to encourage her compatriots who may have been victims of rape or sex-related violence to seek justice.
“Don’t be paralysed by fear,” she said.
“This victory is not mine alone but yours too. I clearly remember what one of the CID officials told me that pushed me to fight for justice. He said no one is above the law in the UAE. They will assist victims irrespective of the nationality of the offender.”
Angulo seconded M.S.’s advice.
“In my years of work as a volunteer social worker, I have encountered many cases of victims withdrawing complaints because of many reasons. But this should not be,” Anggulo said, adding, “They will get help. They just need to speak up and stand up for their right. I really salute the ATN Section of the consulate for doing just that for M.S.”
The Philippine government increased the ATN Fund to one billion pesos (Dh68 million) from 400 million pesos and Legal Assistance Fund from 100 million pesos to 200 million pesos this year.
Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes assured Filipinos that the consulate is totally committed to extend appropriate assistance to all Filipinos at all times.
“We ask our kababayans not to hesitate reaching out to the consulate should they require any assistance. The most important pillar of our foreign policy rests on how much assistance we are able to provide to our overseas Filipinos and this we manifest by reiterating this dictum,” Cortes said.