Women are known to be more caring and loving but the same cannot be said of most Nigerian wives when it comes to how they treat their house helps.
Most Nigerian women will not make heaven because of what they did and are still doing to their house helps. These women are the worst perpetrators of domestic violence. Unfortunately they get away with it because we refuse to report them.
They bring in little children in the name of helping train them in school only to abuse and use them for house labor. The child does all the chores from filling up drums with water, to washing piles of clothes, and cleaning the entire house.
The child also goes to the market to and fro on foot, carrying heavy loads on the head and still get back home to help madam in the kitchen. This child does all these standing or bending down. It doesn’t matter if the child is tired and almost fainting. Any mistake of any sort is greeted with physical and verbal abuse.
They are usually the last to eat be it breakfast or dinner and they do this in one corner of the kitchen, that’s if the food is not the left over from every other person’s plate. This child is also the last to go to bed at night, yet the first to wake in the morning, cleaning and preparing everything every other person would need for the day.
These children have no childhood because they barely have time to do children’s stuff, and often don’t attend same school as madam’s children. They only get to walk to school after madam’s children have gotten to their own school. Even time to read is a luxury.
In the case of female teenagers who are brought in as helps, some madams cut wrappers into pieces and these serve as pads during their monthly flow. They use, wash and dry these napkins for subsequent use. Most of their under wears are torn and ‘hand me down’ from their madams which may not be their sizes. They have no option but to tie both ends so that the oversized underwear doesn’t fall off their waists.
Most of these girls are permanently on low cut or they use scarf to cover their unkempt hair. If they complain of not feeling fine, they are not taken seriously. They never have the luxury of being taken to any hospital for proper medication.
The closest chemist comes to their rescue instead with trial and error treatments. Even when they are visibly dizzy, tired and in need of bed rest, these madams insist they must continue with their chores.
They are easily spotted amongst other kids. They usually sleep in the store, their mattress or mats are folded every morning and their clothes are kept in ‘Ghana must go’ bags just by the corner.
Their bags always get ransacked by madam on any slight suspicion and they are beaten mercilessly when whatever madam is looking for is not found.
These house helps are often embarrassed and beaten in the presence of madam’s children and visitors. Their self esteem and self worth is reduced to nothing. They are often reminded that their lives mean nothing.
Some women take this madness a notch higher using razor blade to cut deep into these girls skin. Others rub pepper in their vaginas or anus when these children misbehave or even when they didn’t do anything wrong.
Some of these helps are also sexually molested by either madam’s grown up sons, brothers and even husbands. And if madam ever finds out, she blames the house help, beats her up while accusing her of seducing them.
If the molestation results in pregnancy, the girls suffer the worst beating of their lives and are forced to get an abortion. Some of them are even sent away so that madam’s marriage can be protected.
Some women have emptied pots of boiling water and have also used hot irons on their house helps. This is what we read in the newspapers or on the internet daily.
Our wives, mothers, sisters, friends and bible clutching church members have become monsters and perpetrators of domestic violence and they do it to their house helps, their step children, their nephews, nieces and orphans.
At a tender age, some of these children already have excruciating back and waist pains due to over labor. Some have chronic migraines due to inadequate rest and getting constantly hit on the head. It is not surprising that some of these children end up with zero self esteem.
Madam, it is foolishness to be mean to your house helps, yet leave your children in their care. They have access to your every meal and water. In fact, the entire safety of your family is in their hands.
If they decide to be vengeful, it will be brutal because your children and food are not safe. They can set your house on fire or even drop their faeces, saliva, urine and poison into your food. You are very vulnerable and you will be the biggest loser if they decide to deal with you the same way you have been dealing them.
It is true some house helps will never see you as family no matter how nice you treat them, but don’t stop doing good because it is the best and the wisest thing to do. Love and treat them like your own children. Don’t forget that your children are watching your actions and learning from you.