Note from Black Brazil Today: These types of stories are always difficult to read. I want to believe that these sorts of situations don’t happen in the 21st century, but unfortunately, a country such as Brazil won’t allow me to dismiss the possibilities and the actual events. This is due to at least three reasons. One, Brazil’s three and half centuries of the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, two, the low value that modern Brazilian society attributes to its black population, and three, the numerous reports that have come to light just in the last few years detailing slave labor but also for several decades after the official ending of slavery in 1888.
The fact is that slavery never really ended in Brazil. there have been numerous rescues of groups of people living and working in conditions analogous to slavery as well as several individual cases that have made headlines. I must also add that these are only the cases that have actually been discovered and exposed. As many as there have been just in the last five years, I haven’t even been able to report on all of them.
The story below sounds so crazy that it’s hard to believe, but again, in the context of past stories that have been confirmed, I hope all of the details of the situation come to light and the young woman who was victimized gets justice for her ordeal.
Babysitter jumps from 3rd floor of apartment building after being threatened and beaten by employer
In an attempt to escape from aggression and private captivity, Rainara Ribeiro, jumped from the 3rd floor of the building where she had been working for a little over a week, in the neighborhood of Imbuí, in Salvador
Last Wednesday (25), another revolting news story highlighted the reality of domestic workers in Brazil. Raiana Ribeiro, 25, fell from the 3rd floor of a building in the Imbuí neighborhood, in Salvador, trying to escape from the violence inflicted upon her by her employer, identified as Melina (no last name) in a story by the newspaper Correio 24 horas.
The young woman, born in the city of Itanagra in the state of Bahia, was in the residence for only 8 days, and found the job after searching an ad on the OLX website to work as a nanny for three children.
Sleeping in the house was part of the labor agreement, but upon realizing the regime of violence and exploitation, the young woman informed that the employer that she no longer wanted the job.
“After I saw the ad, I got in touch, and the agreement was to work full time and take time off every 15 days,” said Raiane.
However, after starting work, Raiane says that she received a new job offer and that after communicating it to her boss, she started to be threatened. “When I asked to leave the job, she answered: ‘I want to see if you leave. I am not a tramp. You are not leaving,” said the woman.
When she stood up against the violence and tried to leave the residence, Raiana was treated as property, with no power to choose. Even under aggression, imprisonment, and surveillance, she managed to send an audio to her family members asking for help, but had her cell phone confiscated soon after. An aunt of the young woman went to the place to look for her, and her employer lied saying that she was not at the residence.
On Wednesday (25), a person returned to the building at the request of Raiane’s aunt to look for the young woman, according to her, this time, the employer tore out the intercom wiring to avoid contact. With no outside contact, Raiane says she was locked in the bathroom. Desperate, she tried to escape through the window.
Trapped in a room and fearing for her life, after being beaten with slaps and a wooden spoon, Raiana’s only option was to jump out the window. She was taken to the State General Hospital, without serious consequences, and is now recovering.
“She locked me in the bathroom, then I saw the window and decided to escape to reach the window of the apartment next door and ask for help, but then I couldn’t, and I was left hanging. Then I fell”, she says.
She fell inside an apartment located on the second floor and was rescued by an ambulance from the Mobile Emergency Care Service (Samu) to the State General Hospital. Raiane fractured her heel and received stitches on her forehead. Besides having some bruises on her body.
Raiane also denied the possibility of hitting one of the three children she was babysitting. The version was reported by a neighbor. According to the woman, the nanny had been caught being aggressive with one of the children and, when she was caught, she hid in one of the rooms and ended up throwing herself to escape from her.
The young woman denies any kind of aggression and says that in the last few days she was even prevented from feeding herself. “It’s a lie. How would I assault the children? Why? I spent days without eating, without drinking water. She told me to call my mother and tell her that everything was fine. My mother asked if I wanted to come home, and I said yes. She insulted my mother, my aunt. Then she said that today she was going to take me to the bus station. Then when she arrived today, she hit me again.
Raiane filed a complaint at the Boca do Rio Police Station and already has a lawyer on the case. She has help from her aunt who lives in Salvador, but says that she intends to return to her hometown for not being able to look for a new job at the moment.
“I have no conditions to walk at this moment. I’m going back to Itanagra and get over some of this trauma, because it was traumatizing what I went through.
In recent times we have seen an increase in the number of reports of slave labor and violence in the context of domestic work. These cases reveal how the slave culture is still so present in the context of black women’s work.
How many more young black women will be subjected to settle for underemployment in Brazil? Until when will whiteness behave as the owners of the bodies and lives of the black workers that serve them?
It is also impressive to see how the employer had her name and identity withheld by the Bahian press. She needs to be exposed to due justice. Raiana and her family deserve to be compensated!