One evening over dinner, when we often share stories about how the day had been. Yeye had news to share inspired by her friend at school. Her friend was curious about something she was told is common in African households, my daughter is the only one in the class of 18 children that remotely looked black so she is the perfect person to answer the question.
“Do your parents beat you?” the six years old *Curious Clara asked.
“I hope you told her the truth” I said.
“Yes, I did” Yeye responded.
“Great, did you remember to add the time I had to shove you down the chimney to clean it up because you asked for a second?” I joked.
Yeye gives a ‘stop the joke’ look
Because Yeye was as curious as Clara so she asked her friend the same question and wanted to know why Clara came about parents beating children of all questions.
Curious Clara has a nanny who is originally from somewhere in Africa, she was the one who told Clara how lucky she was to be born into her type of household where child abuse i.e beating is a no, no unlike black people who beat their children.
Clara’s nanny was not entirely wrong, I don’t get upset for this kind of generalisation anymore because it is something we brag about openly on TV drama as the way to impact discipline into children.
While Curious Clara believed Yeye’s side of the story, stories of child abuse is all over the internet now, how do we stop this if not from home?
The latest I read is about three-year old Peter whose parents out of the goodness of their heart (or not) let him live with his Aunty. Monday, Peter’s Aunty is said to have been married for 7 years but is yet to have a child of her own so made arrangement with Peter’s parents to look after him and in turn keep her company in Lagos.
This kind of arrangement is very common, many people in the city live with their relatives. There are lots of success stories whereby a relative from the village moved to the city or even out of the country to help out with childcare and household chores and in return Uncle/Aunty pays to take care the child’s primary needs and education.
Peter’s case isn’t one of the successful stories, he was only 3 years old and his Aunty thinks he was pooping on himself so she is determined to beat Peter until the ‘spirit of pooping’ leaves him.
Here is what the DPO, Badmos Dolapo, Isokoko Police Division, had to say when she saw the scars on the toddler’s body:
“In all my years in the police force, I have never cried. But seeing the damage that had been done to this child, I could not hold back tears; I wept like a baby. She had been brutalised. We will not leave any stone unturned in this case,”
We can excuse Mrs Monday for not knowing that a three year old boy still needed help with potty training but what is certain is that she was once a child herself so where is the sensibility here?
It is promising that cases of child abuse is coming out in the open, and that people are encouraged to report extreme cases around them to the police. Maybe case such as this will push the government to do something about child abuse offences in the way that children are protected in future.
*Not her real name