Kuwento ng dalawang au pair sa Europa

Rappler.com
Kuwento ng dalawang au pair sa Europa
As au pairs, Christy and Jhoy wanted to improve their lives. What they found instead was heartbreak, maltreatment, and a future in limbo.




To protect the identities of the au pairs whom were interviewed, we recorded what they narrated ​and used different names and voices.​ The edited transcripts are based on the actual recordings originally in Filipino. The English translations are, in turn, based on the edited Filipino narratives.




Velkommen til Denmark!

Christy, a 27-year-old nurse, left her hometown in Southern Philippines to be an au pair in Denmark, hoping for a better life.

Her host family picked her up from the airport and when they got home, her host mother expected her to start working immediately and non-stop.

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Of course, one of your expectations when you come here to Europe is that they follow the law, especially when it comes to contracts. But they don’t. Because they know that Filipinos won’t complain. So they abuse them. When I arrived from my trip, I worked right away even if I wasn’t supposed to. It was a Friday, Saturday and Sunday should be rest days but I still worked. The woman reasoned, I would get oriented with the work in their house.


Work is supposed to be only 5 hours. Yes, you’re supposed to help around in the house but you’re not a slave. It’s a cultural exchange and you’re supposed to be part of the family. There’s supposed to be respect. They’re not masters, you’re not a servant. So you’re supposed to be really on equal terms. So when I arrived here, I was shocked at how they treated me.


Filipino au pairs should tell their masters it’s not supposed to be this way. But what happened to me was, when I arrived, my friend told me, “It’s the way it is here.” I didn’t think of confronting them because I was told, “What’s in the contract is not real.” “You should be good, and just accept everything.”




Siyempre, isa sa mga expectations mo kapag pumunta ka dito sa Europe, e sumusunod sila sa batas, lalo na sa contract. Pero hindi sila sumusunod. Kasi alam nila na ‘yung mga Filipino, oo lang nang oo. So ina-abuse nila. So pagkagaling ko ng biyahe, nagtrabaho agad ako tapos dapat hindi muna. Friday kasi ‘yun. Saturday at Sunday, dapat rest, pero nagtrabaho pa rin ako. Kasi ang rason ng babae, para ma-orient ako sa trabaho doon sa bahay nila.


Ano lang talaga, 5 hours lang ‘yung trabaho. Oo, kailangan tumulong sa bahay, pero hindi ka alipin. Cultural exchange, tapos part ka ng family. Kumbaga may respect. Hindi sila amo, hindi ka katulong. So on equal terms ka talaga. So pagdating ko rito, na-shock ako sa trato sa akin.


Dapat sana, ‘yung mga Filipino au pairs, dapat sana nilang sabihin sa amo nila na dapat hindi ganito. Pero ‘yung nangyari kasi sa akin, pagdating ko, sabi sa’kin ng kaibigan ko, ganito dito. Kumbaga, hindi ko na naisip na i-confront sila kasi sinasabi niya sa ‘kin, “Hindi talaga kung ano talaga ang nasa kontrata.” “Dapat maging mabait ka, oo ka lang.”




Like Christy, Jhoy, 29, left to work as an au pair. She decided that being an au pair in Denmark was better than working at the plant in Southern Philippines.

She was better off than Christy because her host mother was more welcoming.




When I went to my master, they treated me well, they welcomed me. When I arrived in the airport they had a…what do you call it?…A real banner that said “Welcome Jhoy…”




Nung pagpunta ko dito sa amo ko, maganda naman yung treatment nila sa akin, winelcome nga nila ako eh, nung pumunta – nung pagdating ko ng airport meron silang..ano tawag dun?…Banner talaga, tapos, ‘Welcome Jhoy…”




But being an au pair was hard work.

They had to get along with their host family. Without a host family, they had no job, no home.



Problema agad




 I arrived April, May, June, July…By the first week of August, she decided she no longer needed an au pair because she had a boyfriend at that time who was always at her house. So her boyfriend moved in.

I looked for a master…One hour away from Copenhagen…it was really far because my master was a farmer. I had difficulty because the house was 7 kilometers away from town, so it was really like we were in the middle of ricefields.

I cleaned their office every Friday…but I no longer cleaned their house…They had a huge office…it’s really no longer the work of an au pair, but a renere. The renere is what’s called a cleaner here…I would even clean the toilet, and that’s really dirty.



Dumating ako April, May, June, July…Pagka-first week ng August, nag-decide siya na hindi niya kailangan ng au pair.Kasi may boyfriend siya that time na laging pumupunta sa bahay nila. So dun na lumipat yung boyfriend niya.

Naghanap ako ng amo…One hour away from Copenhagen…malayo talaga siya, kasi yung amo ko is farmer.Dun ako nahirapan, kasi yung bahay, 7 kilometers away from town, so parang nasa ano talaga kami, yung parang..nasa gitna ng kapalayan.

Naglilinis ako ng opisina nila every Friday…pero sa bahay di na ako naglilinis…Ang laki ng opisina…kasi di na trabaho dapat ng au pair, yung talagang renere na ba. Yung renere, yung taga-linis na talaga dito…Pati yung toilet nililinis ko, e siyempre ang dumi kaya nun.






The woman was the problem. She would really shout at me when we’re supposed to be on equal terms. And there’s supposed to be respect for each other. When you’re supposed to babysit, that’s all that you’re supposed to be doing. You don’t clean the house. But in her case, even if I was sick, I had to clean the house and babysit.

I had been there 6 months. I didn’t expect it would be this way. My second one, I thought they were kind but they were always quarreling, always shouting at each other. Even if they had guests, the husband would really shout at the woman. And they would throw things at each other.

The woman takes out her frustration with her husband on me. I said, just so they wouldn’t think I was rude, I’d make it last for 6 months. But by the first month alone, I already wanted to leave.

I was afraid then even if I knew I wasn’t involved. Because I was in their house.

If things don’t work out with your host family, to be safe, you should find another host family within two weeks and file for another contract. You’re given ‘til one month. But I already consumed one month. I was afraid I’d be sent home or something. And I’d have nowhere else to go to.

‘Yung babae ang problema. Sinisigawan talaga ako. E dapat equal terms. Tapos dapat may respect sa isa’t isa. At dapat ‘pag nagbe-babysit ka, babysit ka lang. Hindi ka maglilinis ng bahay. E sa kanya, may sakit pa ako, naglilinis pa ako ng bahay, nagbe-babysit pa ako.

Six months lang ako dun. Hindi ko inexpect na magiging ganito.Tapos ‘yung pangawala ko, akala ko, napakabait nila pero palagi silang nag-aaway. Laging nagsisigawan. ‘Yung husband kasi niya, kahit na may bisita sila, sinisigiwan talaga ‘yung babae. Tapos nagbabatuhan.

At saka ‘yung babae, ‘yung frustration niya sa asawa niya, binubuhos niya sa ‘kin. Sabi ko, para ‘di nila masabing bastos ako, paabutin ko ng 6 months. Pero noong first month pa lang, gusto ko na talagang umalis dahil doon.  

Natatakot ako doon, kahit alam kong hindi ako involved. Nandoon kasi ako sa bahay nila.

Kung sa third host mo, mas malala pa pala, kawawa ka.

‘Yung application kasi ng au pair, dapat usually, para safe, dapat within two weeks, nakapag-file ka na ng another contract. Pero bibigyan ka ’til one month. E na-consume ko na ‘yung one month. Natakot ako na baka pauwiin ako or something. Wala na akong mapuntahan.


Relasyon

Christy met Henrik. He asked her out to dinner and she accepted, it was just supposed to be dinner. But she woke up the next day without her clothes.

She couldn’t go to the police. Her stay In Denmark wasn’t exactly legal because she no longer had a host family.She was too afraid to be deported. Where could she go?

Christy moved in with Henrik. He gave her a roof over her head but it was far from being a home.



I accepted his invitation. But I don’t really drink. But here, drinking is normal. I got drunk, then something happened between us.

When he was taking off my clothes, I was still aware, but I didn’t have any strength or energy. “Don’t, don’t, stop,” I said, “It hurts.” I stayed with a friend for several weeks.

But her host started to ask why I was there. Because they didn’t want to get involved…the penalty for sheltering someone illegal is huge, I think about 50,000 kroner.

I was thinking that if I reported him to the police, I might also be sent home. I was thinking I would fail my family if I went home.

So I chose to remain quiet. Then I told myself, ever since I was in high school, they were relying on me. It’s better to have someone take care of you.

He was hiding my passport and my pink card, my visa card.

Umoo na rin ako sa invitation niya. E ‘di ako umiinom masyado. E dito normal lang. Na-ano ako, nalasing, tapos may nangyari na sa amin.

Noong mga time na hinuhubaran niya ako, aware pa kasi ako, pero wala akong lakas, matamlay. “Huwag, huwag, stop,” sabi ko masakit. Sa kaibigan ako nakitulog nang ilang weeks.

Kaya lang, ‘yung host kasi niya, nagtatanong na kung bakit daw ako nandoon. Ayaw kasi nilang ma-involve … malaki rin kasi ‘yung penalty nila, kung sakaling nag-she-shelter sila ng illegal or something, makakapag-penalty sila…50,000 kroner yata.

Ang nasa isip ko kasi, ‘pag pinapulis ko siya, baka mapauwi rin ako. Ang iniisip ko, mafe-fail ko ‘yung family ko ‘pag umuwi ako.

So hindi na lang ako nagsalita.Tapos sabi ko sa sarili ko, simula pa kasi noong high school, ako na kasi ‘yung inaasahan. Mas maganda namang may mag-aalaga sa ‘yo.

Tinatago niya ‘yung passport ko saka pink card ko, visa card ko.


When Jhoy met Kristoffer, he was charming and sweet. He called, he messaged, he constantly asked when he could see her. He was so persistent, it made Jhoy giggle with annoyance.

He made her feel happy. He made her feel beautiful. She was not used to feeling that way. She did not know what to do.

When he suddenly stopped calling, she got confused and angry. Until another man, Nikolaj, came along. He, too, was charming and sweet. He was persistent and wouldn’t take no for answer. This new one made her feel beautiful again.


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It was June when I met my ex before the other one – I don’t know if I could even call him my ex because it was like I was the only one who…At the time I met him, he kept on calling me – he made me feel lile he was really interested in me.

I felt then like I was always in heaven…each time that he was calling…Me, I’m only human…and it was like I was falling for him…he seemed so sweet, I thought he was serious…I felt I was so beautiful – he kept on chasing me…Then he kept on buying all sorts of things for me…Then suddenly – his treatment changed, he suddenly became cold. Then when I wanted to speak with him, he didn’t want to, it was like…the wind blew in a different direction.

With the first, it was so painful, it was like I was so hurt by the first one because I was made to hope like, you know…I was being twirled around his finger. I was also hurt with what happened with the other one…It seemed like I was no longer thinking straight. I was always crying then the other one suddenly came.

We became friends on Facebook. When he introduced himself to me, he said, “I’m single.” But he said, “I’m a single dad, but I don’t have a relationship with anyone.” He never told me he had a relationship with a Filipina…but he really exerted effort, made me think that I was really pretty, made me feel I was important in his life when all he was after was sex…

I was getting tired of being alone. I told him, I wanted to get married then I told him, I wanted to have a child….I was thinking that because he was older, he might be more serious…he might be serious with me…at least I told him that I want to have a child. I want to get married.

June, nakilala ko yung ex ko before yung isa – ewan ko, di ko naman masabing ex yun kasi parang ako lang naman ang nag-aano sa kanya eh… Kasi nung time na nakilala ko siya, tawag siya nang tawag kasi sa akin – tapos parang inaano niya talaga na parang interesado siya sa akin.

Ang feeling ko nun, parang lagi akong nasa langit…everytime na…lagi siyang tumatawag sa akin… ako tao ako…parang, nahuhulog yung ano ko…tapos parang ang sweet-sweet ng dating ba, akala mo seryoso…Feeling ko ang ganda-ganda – habol siya nang habol…Tapos pag bibili ng kung ano-ano para sa yo…Tapos bigla siyang – biglang iba na yung treatment niya, parang ang lamig-lamig na. Tapos pag gusto ko siyang kausapin, ayaw na niyang kumausap, parang…umiba yung ihip ng hangin.

Doon sa una, parang ang sakit-sakit, parang sobrang nasaktan ako nung una kasi para bang pinaasa ako na para bang, alam mo yun…pinapaikot ka niya. Nasaktan din ako sa pangyayari dun sa isa…Parang hindi na ako nag-iisip nang matino nun eh. Lagi akong umiiyak, tapos bigla siyang dumating, yung isa.

Nag-friend lang kami sa Facebook. Nung nagpakilala siya sa akin, sabi niya, “single ako.” Pero sabi niya, “Single dad ako, pero wala akong karelasyon.” Never niyang binanggit sa akin na may karelasyon pala siyang Pilipina…pero talagang nag-e-effort ba, na akala mo ang ganda-ganda mo. Na parang feeling mo importante ka sa life niya pero yun lang pala habol niya, yung sex…

Parang napapagod akong mag-isa. Sabi ko sa kanya, gusto kong mag-asawa, tapos, sinasabi ko sa kanya gusto kong magkaanak.…Inisip ko kasi nga dahil medyo may edad na siya, baka seryoso itong tao…baka seryoso din siya sa akin…at least sinabi ko sa kanya na ah, gusto ko mag ano, mag-s–magkaanak. Gusto ko mag-asawa.


Christy got pregnant.

Jhoy got pregnant.

An au pair couldn’t get pregnant. It was in the contract. It was in the law.




Buhay Pinas

Christy is a registered nurse. That’s what her diploma reads and what her license certifies.

But like many nurses in the Philippines, she traded her stethoscope for a headset and began working in a call center.


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I worked in a hospital as a volunteer for 6 months. My mother used to sell then stopped. My father was just a farmer. My parents expected I would be the one to send my younger sibling to school. So because the expectation was I would be able to help and I wasn’t receiving any allowance from the hospital, I applied with a call center. There are a lot of nurses in call centers. Because the pay amounting to a maximum of P30,000 was attractive. As a nurse, the pay is maybe P5,000 at the lowest up to P10,000. I worked in a call center for 6 months.

Nagtrabaho ako nang 6 months sa ospital as volunteer.  ‘Yung nanay ko, nagtitinda tapos, nag-stop na rin siya. Tapos ‘yung tatay ko, may sinasaka lang siya…expectation ng mga magulang, ikaw na dapat magpaaral ng mga nakababatang kapatid. So..kasi nga expectation e makatulong ka na, e wala namang allowance ‘yung natatanggap ko sa ospital, nag-apply ako ng call center…Maraming nurse sa call center. Kasi nakaka-engganyo na ‘yung sweldo mo e maximum e 30,000. E bilang nurse, ano lang, siguro, pinakamababa yata P5,000 to P10,000. Nag-call center ako for 6 months.


Jhoy’s work at the plantation was a mindless routine of peeling, sorting and packing. It was boring, it was tedious, and it was driving her mad.

Workers like her were never regularized.

After they were let go, their contract would be renewed and it was back to the same peeling, sorting, and packing. It was back to the same endless routine.


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I wasn’t a regular there, we were contractuals. I was starting to feel tired because our pay was so small…Then we weren’t getting the regular benefits of regular employees because we were contractuals. Then my parents were farmers…My mother was the only one providing for us because my father seemed to be always dependent on my mother.

Di ako regular dun, contractual kami. So parang napapagod ako kasi yung sahod namin maliit…Tapos hindi namin nakukuha yung regular benefits ng mga…regular employee kasi nga ano kami, yung contractual…Tapos yung parents ko, farmer…Ang bumubuhay sa amin is nanay ko lang kasi yung tatay ko parang nakaasa lang siya dun sa nanay ko lagi.


Au Pair: Pagkakaton na

Christy and Jhoy saw the “au pair life” even before they knew that it was supposed to be a cultural exchange in Europe.

Friends and family members who were au pairs always posted about their weekend trips and adventures. They always looked so happy.

 


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The opportunity to go to Denmark came so I grabbed it. But cultural exchange was not my motivation. My real motivation was to be able to save then come home and continue. For me, all I wanted was to be able to send my sibling to school, that’s all.

Actually, my cousin came before me. What they say is, of course, they don’t look down on au pairs…They don’t tell you the truth. Imagine, you just do black jobs here and money’s there. You don’t really have much to do. That’s all that they say. And it’s only 5 hours. At the time, I gave up the call center. I thought, I could do black jobs, and earn even more.

Dumating ‘yung opportunity dito sa Denmark so grinab ko. Pero hindi ‘yung cultural exchange ‘yung motivation ko. Ang motivation ko talaga ay makapag-ipon saka umuwi at saka makapagpatuloy. Ang sa akin lang kasi, mapag-aral ko ‘yung kapatid ko, ‘yun lang.

Actually, ‘yung pinsan ko, mas nauna siya sa akin. Ang sinasabi kasi nila, siyempre, parang hindi din masyadong mababa ‘yung tingin ng mga tao sa au pair…Hindi nila sinasabi ‘yung totoo. Naku, kapag magkuskos ka dito, nilalagay lang ‘yung pera. Wala ka namang masyadong ginagawa. Ganun ‘yung sinasabi. At saka 5 hours lang. At noong time na ‘yun, ginive up ko ‘yung call center. Inisip ko, puwede pa ko magkuskos, baka mas malaki ang kita.



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I saw on Facebook, the others I knew like schoolmates, they worked as au pairs here, that’s why I thought of being an au pair…Then I asked how they came here. They said there was an agent from our place who helped people come here. That’s why I went there, we paid P60,000.

They were like…what do you call them, a consultancy…The 50,000 came from my mother. The ricefield was her source of income that’s why she had that kind of money. The P10,000 I provided myself because I earned a salary from the company.

Nakikita ko dati sa Facebook, yung mga iba kong kilala, mga schoolmate, nandito kasi sila nag-au pair, kaya naisipan kong mag-au pair…Tapos tinanong ko kung paano sila napunta dito. Sinabi nila merong agent sa ‘min na tumutulong para makapunta dito. Kaya dun ako pumunta, nagbayad kami ng P60,000.

Parang ano sila…ano bang tawag dun, consultancy…

Yung 50,000 galing sa nanay ko. May source of income siya sa rice field kaya meron siyang ganyang pera. Yung P10,000 kasi sumasahod naman ako dun sa company noon, kaya ako na nag-provide.


Kuskos

Jhoy and Christy eventually found themselves without a host family who made their continued stay in Denmark legal.

To get by in between host families, Christy took on black jobs, mostly cleaning houses. It was illegal. She risked deportation. But the money was more than what she made being an au pair.

As undocumented migrants, surviving and living in Denmark required Christy and Jhoy to be inconspicuous, to be discreet…to be invisible. They went about their work with no one noticing. The hours bled into days and they got used to feeling inconsequential…and feeling invisible.

Jhoy worked illegally twice a week – 3 to 5 hours a day, twice a week.


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It was in the first week of May I think that they decided they no longer needed an au pair. I could’t force them, could I? Two months before, I met a Filipina. She’d always call me and say, “Spend the weekend here.” So that’s where I stayed after this. Because I no longer had a master. I couldn’t look elsewhere because I had already transferred several times and besides, I was already 30 years old. So I went to that Filipina. I lived with them for 2 months because I no longer had a master…It was like I was adopted by her.

I was able to survive…You know about the black job here, that’s the illegal job that we’re not supposed to do.

Nung first week ng May yata nag-decide sila na di na nila kailangan ng au pair. Alangan namang pipilitin ko. Two months before, may nakilala akong Pilipina. Lagi niya akong tinatawagan na, “Dito ka mag- weekend,” ganyan. So dun ako naka-stay sa kanila after this. Kasi wala na akong amo e.Di na ako puwedeng maghanap kasi ilang beses na akong lumipat, tapos sa age ko, 30 years old na ako. So dun ako pumunta sa Pilipina na yun. Doon lang ako tumira sa kanila nang 2 months kasi wala na nga akong amo…Parang inadopt niya ako.

Nakaka-survive naman ako…Alam mo yung black job dito, yun yung illegal na trabaho na supposed to be hindi namin tatrabahuhin.


 


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When I was an au pair with my second host, I was able to send home P80,000 just from black jobs. My only problem was my master who said she was against my taking on black jobs. There’s a risk when your au pair does illegal work and is caught. They’re the ones who will get penalized.

Once I was even able to send P100,000 before.

Sometimes I don’t eat because there are days when I work 8 hours, 7 hours a day to the point that I get really hungry. And there’s really nothing to eat. I scrounge for food in the trash because they throw it away, there’s bread, that’s what I eat, because I’m really, really hungry.

Noong nag-au pair ako sa pangalawang host ko, dumarating din sa P80,000 ang napapadala ko dahil sa kuskos. Ang naging problema ko lang talaga e sinabi na kasi ng amo ko na ayaw na raw niyang magkuskos ako. May risk kasi kapag ‘yung au pair nila magkuskos, tapos mahuli, sila ang magkaka-penalty.

Minsan nakapagpadala pa ako ng P100,000 noon.

Minsan hindi na ko kumakain dahil may araw na 8 hours, 7 hours a day to the point na talagang gutom na gutom na talaga ako. Tapos wala talagang pagkain. Nagkalkal talaga ako ng basura. Kasi may tinatapon, may tinapay, ‘yun kinain ko, kasi gutom na gutom na talaga ako.


 



Buntis

Henrik beat Christy even when she was pregnant. He called her stupid, said she embarrassed him, said she ate weird food. The slap, the punch always came with a reason. He always said she deserved it.

 


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There are times when he’s kind. Sometimes he’s crazy. Actually, the first time he hurt me, I already looked for another place to stay.

But that was the worst and the very first. He was so mad at me, because he said I embarrassed him.

Then he punched me, kicked me. Then he hit my head.

Then the time that he was hurting me, at the same time, I was trying to change, put on jeans, get a jacket, to be able to run outside. But he was able to punch me several more times. He ran after me even after I ran out.

Some people heard. I’m not sure anyone saw me running. But some heard. If ever I filed a case, they said they have an incident report because there’s a witness. Before, I still took pity on him because what I was weighing was, there were many times when he was good to me, or maybe I was just stupid.

I said, okay, I forgive you, but I was already planning to leave. But it was hard to transfer elsewhere.

Minsan mabait siya. Minsan may topak. Actually, noong first time na sinaktan niya ako, naghanap na ako ng ibang matitirhan noon.

Pero ‘yun ‘yung pinakagrabe at pinakauna. Galit na galit na siya sa akin. Kasi pinahiya ko raw siya.

Tapos sinuntok na niya ako, sinipa. Tapos inuntog niya ‘yung ulo ko.

Tapos noong time na sinasaktan niya ako, at the same time, nag-ta-try ako mag-change, mag-jeans, kuha ng jacket, para makatakbo palabas. Pero ilang beses pa niya akong nasuntok. Hanggang sa lumabas ako, hinabol pa niya ako.

May nakarinig. Ewan ko kung may nakakita ng pagtakbo ko. Pero may nakarinig. If ever daw mag-file ako ng case, mayroon silang incident report kasi may mga witness daw. Ako kasi noon, iyon bang naaawa pa rin ako sa kanya kasi ang tinitimbang ko, maraming times naman na naging mabait siya sa akin, or siguro, ewan ko kung katangahan.

Sinabi ko na o sige, pinatatawad na kita, pero nagpaplano na ako umalis. Pero kasi, mahirap humanap ng lilipatan…


 

 Jhoy’s boyfriend Nikolaj told her he couldn’t possibly be the father of her child. He couldn’t have children anymore.


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I said, maybe I was pregnant. Then he said, “Who’s the father of that child?” Then he said, “I can’t sire a child. I had a vasectomy long before.” The father said, “Don’t contact me. Stop calling me anymore.” Then he said, “I can’t sire a  child.” So “Good luck to you,” he said.

It was like I was slapped on the face. It’s true, it was like I was slapped because of my stupidity.

I kept on crying. Then sometimes I was dazed. I would remember everything that happened. I would think of him because of the child, I was already 2 weeks pregnant.

I had a schedule for an abortion in the hospital. But I couldn’t sleep because I was always thinking, if I had the baby aborted, what would happen? I still had a visa good for one year…I was wondering about what would happen to me, I could still stay in Copenhagen, to continue my life, I’d still work…

Sabi ko, buntis siguro ako. Tapos sabi niya, sino bang ama niyan?Tapos sabi niya, hindi ako puwedeng magkaanak. Matagal na raw siyang nagpavasectomy. Sabi nung tatay, wag mo na akong kontakin. Stop calling me anymore. Tapos sabi niya, “Hindi nga ako magkaanak.” So good luck sa ‘yo, sabi niya.

Para akong sinampal. Totoo, para akong sinampal sa katangahan ko.

Iyak ako nang iyak. Tapos minsan natutulala ako lagi. Naiisip ko lahat ng mga pangyayari. Naisip ko siya kasi yung bata, 2 weeks pregnant na ako.

May schedule ako sa ano, abortion, dun sa hospital. Eh di ako makatulog, kasi laging nasa isip ko kung iaabort ko yung bata, ano ang mangyayari? May visa pa nga akong one year pa…Inisip ko anong mangyayari sa akin, puwede pa akong mag-stay ng Copenhagen, para itutuloy ko lang yung buhay, magwowork pa ako…


 

Walang Mapuntahan

Christy felt she was about to burst when Henrik hit her that night. She worried about the baby. He beat her so badly she needed medical attention.

A lady she cleaned for was a lawyer. She and her husband brought Christy to the hospital that night. The lawyer promised to help Christy.

“Don’t ever think that you are just our cleaning lady. You are our friend and we are here to help you,” she told Christy.

Christy gave birth shortly after.


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When I got pregnant, he seemed to get even worse. I had cravings, he wasn’t supportive. We would always fight over that.

I know it’s hard to be without papers. But this hospital was a big help because normally without papers you would not be able to go to a normal hospital for new checkups.

I was working up to 8 hours, until 5 months, 6 months I think.

But I wanted to leave because he was maltreating me. There were times when he was kind, times when he wasn’t, to the point when he wanted to bring me to Immigration.

I was pregnant and he would hurt me. He punched me. Three times, I think. But the second time, it was really painful. The other one, not so much. Then he pushed me. First he pulled me upstairs, then he pushed me several times. I was already ready to leave then, but he was stripping off my clothes so I couldn’t leave. Then he locked the door. Then he pushed me again.

Because I was beaten up, I was brought to the hospital. I was taken in by the hospital till I gave birth.

At the time, I had the guts to leave him because of the lawyer who wanted to help me. The lawyer said that based on the law the father just needed to sign then the baby would earn the right to stay…so the two of us would stay here.

Noong nabuntis ako, parang mas naging worse pa siya…Naglilihi ako, hindi siya supportive. Palagi naming pinag-aawayan ‘yan.

Alam ko kasing mahirap dahil walang papel. Pero itong ospital, malaking tulong kasi normally, hindi makakapunta sa isang normal hospital for checkups kung wala kang papel.

Nagwowork pa ako hanggang ‘yung talagang 8 hours pa rin ‘yung trabaho ko, hanggang 5 months, 6 months yata.

Pero gusto kong umalis. Kasi hindi maganda ‘yung trato niya sa akin. May mga times na mabait siya, may times na hindi, to the point na gusto niya akong dalhin sa Immigration.

Buntis ako, sinasaktan niya ako. Sinuntok niya ako. Tatlong beses yata. Pero dalawang beses ‘yung pinakamasakit. ‘Yung isa di masyadong masakit. Tapos pinu-push niya ako. Una, kinaladkad niya ako pataas, tapos tinulak niya ako ilang beses. Naka-ready na kasi ako para umalis, tapos hinuhubaran niya ako para hindi ako makaalis. Tapos ni-lock niya ‘yung pinto. Tapos pinush niya na naman ako.

Kasi nga binugbog ako, nadala ako sa ospital. Kinupkop ako ng ospital hanggang nanganak ako.

Noong time na ‘yun, may lakas loob ako na iwan siya, dahil sa abugadong gustong tumulong sa akin. Sabi niya kailangan lang pumirma yung tatay based doon sa law, tapos ‘yung baby, may right na mag-stay…so dapat dito kaming dalawa.


 

Jhoy found a lawyer, too. He specialized in cases like hers and he helped her file a paternity suit.

She was glad she took his advice.

Months after her child was born, she saw a photo of her ex-boyfriend on Facebook with his newborn child with another woman.


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I pushed through with my pregnancy. When I was several months on the way, we went to the lawyer. The lawyer said if the father of your child is Danish, your child has the right to stay in Denmark.

Then after 3 months I gave birth. When my child was 3 months old, I searched for the father – among his Facebook friends– because we totally had no communication. I saw a child who looked similar to my child – my instinct was so strong. So I just looked at the child. When I looked, I say the father in one of the pictures. Then I saw, the mother was Filipina. I just asked, I messaged the mother, asking whose child was the kid. Then she said, the child of Nikolaj. Just like that.

Then there was a paternity case. There was a letter sent that said the father has to take a DNA test to prove he was the father of the child. But he didn’t come. That’s why it took several years, 2-3 years.

He really never went. It’s as if it was nothing. Then the court decided that if he didn’t come, the police would pick him up to take the DNA test. So he went…That’s why it was so slow…It takes 3 years. I was the only one who supported the child. Until now, there’s still no support coming from the father.

Tinuloy ko na lang yung pagbubuntis ko.

Nung ilang months pa yung tiyan ko, nagpunta kami sa lawyer. Sabi niya, kung ang anak mo – kung ang ama niyan is Danish, yung bata, may right na mag-stay in Denmark.

Tapos after 3 months nanganak ako. Nung 3 months na si baby, nagsearch ako dun sa ama niya – sa Facebook friends ng ama ni baby – kasi totally wala na kaming communication. May nakita akong bata dun, na medyo similar – parang ang lakas ng instinct ko – sa mukha ng anak ko. So tiningnan ko lang yung bata. Nung tiningnan ko, dun ko nakita sa mga picture, andun yung tatay. Tapos nakita ko dun, Pilipina yung nanay. Nagtanong lang ako, nag-message ako dun sa nanay, kung kaninong anak ba yung bata. Tapos sabi niya, anak ni Nikolaj. Ganun…

Tapos, may paternity case na nga na nangyari. Nung nandun na sa case, may letter na nagsabing yung tatay, kailangan niyang magpa-DNA test na to prove na siya yung tatay ng bata. Eh hindi nga siya pumunta. Kaya umabot ng ilang years, umabot ng 2-3 years.

Di talaga siya pumunta. Parang wala lang. Tapos ang korte na ang nagdesisyon na kung di ka pumunta, pipick-up-in ka ng pulis para magpa-DNA. So pumunta naman siya…Kaya masyadong mabagal…It takes 3 years. Ako nag-support lahat sa bata. Hanggang ngayon wala pa namang support yung bata galing sa tatay.


 

Katapusan

Christy wants to get away from Henrik. But she doesn’t know how. She’s not sure if she and the baby can survive on what she has saved. She can’t go back to the Philippines with a baby and no husband.

It would be much easier if he signed the birth certificate and acknowledged he is the father.

It wouldn’t change things for her. But it would make a difference for her child.


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For now, I want to be free from him but at the same time, I’m afraid. It’s like I’ve become dependent. That’s my other fear, I wouldn’t know what to do. I myself know he will never change, I know that. The time will come when he will hurt me again. But I’m afraid to start over by myself.

Where would I live and I’m also saving some money. What I’m saving is payment for the lawyer, for the immigration lawyer. It’s also payment for a possible apartment because I was told I would need my own apartment. Last night and the other night, I didn’t know what to do. I was frustrated because I kept on crying, I didn’t know what to do with him. Then I was by myself.

I was also afraid that he wouldn’t sign for my baby. I’m also afraid that we would be sent home. Then I don’t know, I’m confused about whether I should push through with the lawsuit they were telling me about. I don’t know. It’s because I don’t know if it’s stupidity, I really don’t know.

Sa ngayon, gusto kong makawala sa kanya at the same time natatakot ako. Kasi parang naging dependent ako…’Yun ‘yung isang fear ko, hindi ko alam kung ano’ng gagawin ko. Kung ano ba… alam ko sa sarili ko na hindi siya magbabago, alam ko ‘yun. Darating ‘yung time na sasaktan niya ako ulit. Pero ‘yun bang natatakot ako na magsimula nang mag-isa.

Saan ako titira at saka nag-se-save din ako ng pera. ‘Yun sine-save ko – bayad sa abogado, doon sa immigration lawyer. Bayad din sa possible na apartment kasi kailangan ko daw kumuha ng own apartment ko. Kagabi nga at noong isang gabi, hindi ko alam kung anong gagawin ko. Nafu-frustrate ako kasi iyak ako nang iyak, hindi ko alam ‘yung gagawin sa kanya. Tapos mag-isa lang ako.

Natatakot din ako na baka hindi siya pumirma sa baby. Natatakot ako na baka mapauwi kami. Tapos ewan ko, naguguluhan ako kung itutuloy ko ba ‘yung demandang sinasabi nila. Ewan ko. Kasi din naman, hindi ko alam, katangahan, hindi ko talaga alam.


 

The paternity case dragged on for almost 3 years but Jhoy won.

The court subpoenaed Nikolaj to give his DNA and when he ignored the summons, the police came for him.

He is the father – only on paper, he says. He makes no effort to contact Jhoy or see the baby.

None of that matters to Jhoy now. She still won.

 


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When I gave birth, I was focused on the child.

Because when I got pregnant, what I kept on praying for was they we would have good health. Because I didn’t want to die yet. (Laughs)

It’s like being given another chance to live again because money, I could look for that anywhere. Let’s say this happened while we were in the Philippines, I would raise the child, I’d just look for a job because I could look for the money elsewhere, isn’t it? So I’m just blessed.

Nung nanganak ako, naka-focus lang yung sarili ko sa bata.

Kasi nung nabuntis ako, ang lagi kong pine-pray, na magkaroon na kami ng good health. Kasi ayaw ko pang mamatay, kumbaga. (Laughs)

Kumbaga bigyan lang ako ng isa pang chance na mabuhay ulit kasi yung pera, puwede ko namang hanapin kahit saan eh. Let’s say kung nangyari na nasa Pinas kami, mag-ina, bubuhayin ko naman yung bata, maghahanap lang ako ng trabaho kasi puwede ko namang hanapin sa iba yung pera eh. Di ba? So blessed lang ako.


 

Reporting by Ana P. Santos
Edited by Chay F. Hofileña, Investigative Editor
Produced by KD Suarez 
Art by Nico Villarete
Coding and design by Dominic Gabriel Go
Featuring the voices of Marguerite de Leon (Christy) and Nile Villa (Jhoy)
Audio editing by Emerald Hidalgo
Supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Rappler




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