The length some women go in maltreating their step children boggles the mind and makes one to question the inherent compassion in women.
The story of a seven year old boy that had his hand burnt with stove by his step mother just because he added Dettol in his bath water in Lagos is shocking and unfortunate.
According to Aminya newspaper of last Friday, the boy Awwal told its reporter that his step mother, Aminot Otun beat him and burnt his hand after he added the Dettol, and it was after four days that he was taken to the hospital.
Neighbours contacted a Non-Governmental Organisation, Child to Child Network, and the head of the NGO, Ngozi Ekwerike Okoro took Awwal to the hospital.
The story carried the picture of little Awwal with his badly burnt right hand. The palm was blackened, it seems like the step mother pressed his hand on the stove. It is a picture that is very touching and would remain in the memory of people for a long time.
Anyway, the case is now with the police and hopefully justice would be done to send signals to such wicked step mothers that they cannot maltreat step children and get away with it.
The story made no mention of Awwal’s mother and even the father. If the mother is no longer together with the father, at least the father would be expected to be around, and unless he had travelled, we wouldn’t know exactly why Awwal was not taken to the hospital until after four days with a burnt hand.
In a peculiar trend some women give better food to their own children with meat, eggs and so on, while their step children get one without the trimmings. Some are even given leftovers.
In one such case, the cornflakes and the juice that the father buys were for her own children alone, the maltreated children beg the ‘loved’ children for some. And they give them little, but whenever their mother found out, she would beat the step children for being bad children for begging. She also scolds her children for giving them.
Also in terms of sleeping arrangements, those with their mothers in the house are given the bed, mattresses, blankets and pillows to have a sound sleep. But the step children are made to sleep on the floor by spreading a mat or an old blanket.
In all this, I wonder where the fathers are, because if they care to find out how things are going in their houses, particularly with small children whose mothers are not around, the step mothers wouldn’t be so daring in their maltreatment.
The fear of the husbands finding out what they are up to would make the step mothers to reduce or even stop their wicked acts.
But some men would just assume that the step mothers would take care of the step children as their own, especially where the step mothers are the types that would show exaggerated love for the step children in the presence of the fathers. But this should raise suspicion to confirm if the love and care are true or a ploy.
The women doing this are teaching their children to become wicked and selfish, even though there is nothing to gain by maltreating other people’s children. The strange thing is that some of these step mothers have not even lived with the step children’s mothers; therefore it could not be that they are taking revenge on any offence their mothers might have committed against the step mothers.
In a lot of such cases, the maltreated step children turn out to become successful people and help the wicked step mothers later in life, while their own children may not have turned out to be successful or have the inclination to help their mothers.
However, this wickedness by women though legendary against step children, is not limited to them. Some maltreat their house girls or boys as the case may be. Some even are poor relatives given to them to work as house helps for them, and they would in turn put them in school or some training.
This week there was also the case of an 11-year old girl, Ita Bassey- Eno in Lagos who was allegedly set ablaze by the woman she was working for, for stealing a piece of meat from a pot.
It is a pity that such wickedness throbs in the hearts of women. It is time for all concerned to rise against such maltreatment of children in our society.