The brave words of Geneviev may save her and her family from the clutches of her father.
The Stockholm syndrome is applicable for the other victims, along with the diagnosis of Mental illness.
ILLEGAL CONFINEMENT is not the treatment for mental illness.
'Elizabeth is tied with a rope. My daddy beats her'; says Geneviev (daughter of Francis Gomes)
2 October 2009
MUMBAI: The Gomes saga is turning out to be a bizarre tale of human endurance, a person's imbalance, apathy and state's neglect. Francis Gomes (60) has been accused of keeping his wife Theresa (50) and two daughters Elizabeth (27) and Barbara (21) confined in their second floor apartment in Naigaon (west) for the last three to four months. But the media has now found out that well before the Tuesday rescue, Gomes's middle daughter Geneviev (23) - who was freed from her filthy and scary home-prison in June - had written to the police two months ago seeking their help in rescuing her mother and two sisters. However, the Vasai police were waiting for a "formal complaint''.
Geneviev's letter is likely to be admitted as evidence when the Vasai sessions court hears the missing case filed by Francis against the Mumbai NGO Sakhya, which not only rescued Geneviev in May, but has also successfully rehabilitated her. This court case notwithstanding, a police complaint made by Francis appears to have been closed. Despite filing a complaint against Sakhya for kidnapping his daughter, the accused seemed to have made peace with the fact that Geneviev had "chosen to'' stay away at a shelter.
She seemed the only one among the women in whom there was some "spark of intelligence'' and "who could and attempted to speak'' said Sunila Bhise, a social activist with Sakhya, who along with another social worker Martina Forgos, had visited the Gomes's house in May, which was then at another address in Naigaon. "We do a lot of work in the Vasai area, and the Naigaon Pali Church informed us that there seemed to be a medical problem at the Gomes home. On May 28, we went there and found the door bolted from outside. We opened it and knocked. Theresa opened it further. Despite having visited numerous areas in the slums, I vomited. The stench was unimaginable,'' said Bhise.
The social workers found Elizabeth with her hands tied behind her back wearing clothes that were unwashed for months. Barbara, the other daughter was sitting with her neck bent; injured from a beating her father gave her. Geneviev, the middle daughter, sat with her feet swollen. Geneviev was the only one who spoke. She was a BCom grad. She said, "I have sinned and God is testing me.'' For three months they had barely eaten.
Francis came home by 1pm, while the social workers were still there. He was hospitable and brought out cold drinks for them from a locked kitchen.
Activists told Francis to take all the women to a hospital. The next day, with the church committee's intervention, Geneviev was admitted to Cardinal Gracias Hospital where doctors said she was "severely malnourished''. Hilda Fernandes, coordinator of Sakhya, said that the following day Francis himself admitted Barbara.
"On June 6, at the time of Geneviev's discharge, we had a meeting with her father and the church team. We told Francis that Geneviev showed some improvement and needed a change of place, but he got aggressive and began shouting that he knew how to take care of his daughters,'' said Fernandes.
The Sakhya told Geneviev that she was a major and could decide for herself. Next morning by 7.30am, when her father went out to get milk, Geneviev left home and made a call to Sakhya saying she wanted to go to a shelter. She put a change of clothes in a plastic bag and walked to freedom.
On June 14, Francis complained to the police against Sakhya. The police called the NGO and got Geneviev to the station where she met her father and stated that she was staying at a shelter on her own free will. Francis gave a written statement to the police that he was happy to see his daughter and allowed her to stay away.
Geneviev has landed an accounting job with a salary of Rs 5,500 per month. "We did not rescue the two sisters as they are also adults, and we required their consent to shift them,'' said Fernandes.
Her plea for help to the police
I, Geneviev Gomes, am the daughter of Francis Homes, residing at Mariam Park, Naigaon. I was staying with my daddy, mother and two sisters. I have done my BCom and a three-month teaching course. But my daddy forced me to join a bank. I couldn't get a bank job. He would lock the kitchen door and shut the main door from the outside. My sister Elizabeth is a FYBA and has done a teaching course. My daddy beats and scolds Elizabeth and has confined her. She is tied with a rope most of the time. Her pathetic condition is due to ill-treatment by my daddy. Other sister Barbara studied in Sofia College. She cannot sit straight or talk. I request help. We are kept in very unhygienic conditions and are not allowed to go out or talk to anyone.
If anyone comes to help us, my daddy puts police cases on them. On May 28, the NGO Sakhya came home, and after persuading my daddy with the help of the Church, I was sent to a hospital. I want to stay in the shelter as they are giving me medicine and taking care of me.
I feel sad that my mum and two sisters who are in need of medical care are still at home. I request you to help them to come out of my daddy's hold.
On July 31, even the NGO Sakhya, which had helped rescue Geneviev, wrote to the Vasai police station seeking their help. "You know the entire incident and we request you to help give custody of Theresa Gomes and her two daughters to Sakhya so that we can rehabilitate them," the letter read. The police said the two daughters have to give a statement on their own as they are adults.
May 28: NGO Sakhya visits the Gomes, after a local church tip-off.
May 29: Geneviev is admitted to the hospital. Doctor says she is malnourished
June 6: Geneviev is discharged. Sakhya suggests that she be moved to a shelter, but Francis starts getting abusive
June 7: At 7.30am, Geneviev manages to leave the house when her father is away, and makes a call to Sakhya, saying she is ready to leave
June 14: Francis lodges a complaint against Sakhya for kidnapping Geneviev