Her Humanity Matters Too

ARREY- ECHI
Posted November 21, 2019 from Cameroon
The rock reminds me of the struggles many women go through in life, yet refuse to get broken.

She was just a child herself. She was however, expected to wake up daily by 5am, to help her wards... the children of her caregivers... get ready for school. When they leave home, she dare not go back to sleep because, that was a crime in the book of her caregivers. Her dreams of going back to school became just that, a dream. She saw the dream die away. No matter what she did, she never did anything right. She was just a pest, taken from the dungeons of poverty or so it seems, to be uplifted by her new parents, to get a chance at life she couldn't get with her real parents. Only that, her uplifting means she became more or less a slave who worked and scrubbed and cooked and washed and ironed away with little or no sleep, feeding on left overs and dressing in discarded clothes which have seen years of tear and wear. Put simply, for a chance at a better life, her dignity was lost and her humanity forgotten.

This is a scenario a lot of us have probably watched repeatedly before us, sometimes even by relations and people we know... the plight of the girl child and the desire for a better future which transforms many of them into over worked, abused and under starved  kids playing domestic workers. They are often abused emotionally, dealing with all kinds of insults, physically beaten with objects, sexually...sometimes abused by the man of the house or other boys present in the house while the mistress turns a blind eye, and even economically. Promises to send them to school or to learn a trade usually hardly ever materialize and sometimes, they run away after years of slaving with no evidence of financial compensation for their labours of love and sacrifices.

They leave scarred, cheated upon and sent back to start life empty handed. Most often, such girls may end up as prostitutes or run the risk of falling into the hands of traffickers in a quest to better their lives.

The sad thing here is most of the maltreatment these girls face are in the hands of some women who call themselves emancipated and empowered. I have often wondered why an emancipated and empowered person, would fail to see the humanity of other vulnerable children under them who ask for nothing but a chance to be empowered and be emancipated from poverty?

There have been so much talks on the many aspects of GBV affecting women but so little talks about domestic abuse of domestic workers...most of whom are children themselves.

A couple of years ago, I witnessed an incident that left me angry and at the same time, forced to stand up for a young girl working for a family. Why did I stand for her? The answer is simple. She may have been a domestic helper, doing menial work according to the people she was working for, but to me, I saw her humanity first, deserving of dignity and respect. That incident made me to promise never to look down on anyone, especially the many women who are often forced by cultures and circumstances beyond their control to find themselves in situations they never imagined to be there. When you see such people what comes to mind?

For me, I see their struggles. I feel their frustrations for being exploited and manipulated just because they are trying to make a living.. But above all, I see their need for love, dignity and respect. I see them standing tall like the unbroken rocks that they are despite being beaten and thrown down by life's unfairness.  I see their humanity and that is why #IStandWithHer.

This story was submitted in response to #IStandWithHer.

Comments 29

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otahelp
Nov 21
Nov 21

Hey Arrey you reach couched this captivating story so much that it became alive in my heart as I was reading it. Painted picture of the sordid treatment of house helps and vulnerable are still playing in my mind. Thank you very much. Please keep up standing up for vulnerable girls and women

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Ota,
Thank you for reading and getting the essence of what I am trying to say. A lot of house helps face such sordid treatment society usually turn their eyes against. It is a form of voilence which degrades the women making up the majority of such workers that needs to be addressed.

Tarke Edith
Nov 21
Nov 21

Hello Arrey
Thanks for sharing sister
Lets do our best to fight for the right of her.
Have a nice day

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Sister Edith,
Thank you for always reading and dropping encouraging words. Yes, let's all continue to stand up for all the abused and vulnerable.
A blessed weekend to you.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Nov 21
Nov 21

Dear Sister, your story and several more here I can relate too. Unfortunately many women are not protecting our girls and in fact the reason the girls are being exploited. But I can say this "let's focus on the good women" who are striving to making a difference like yourself.
Fighting for women and girls rights takes courage, lots of advocacy support and resources.
We also " stand with her and many girls" globally whom are in this situation without judgement.
I live and work in Senegal, West Africa and these stories are commonplace unfortunately.
Please reach out to us for support because "we stand with you" in the fight for justice for our girls thank you for sharing.
Sincerely,

Queen

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Sister Queen Sheba,
Thank you very much for reading and for the valuable input. I agree with you that many women are not protecting our girls enough largely due to the fact that they have been raised to believe women are their own worse enemies. I also agree with you that we need to focus on the good women doing amazing stuffs in an often difficult milieu.

Nevertheless, these discussions need to be had. It does not in anyway take away the focus on the women doing amazing work. I believe it rather shines the light brilliantly on what they are doing and what is moving them to do what they do. There could be no fight if there was no social injustice putting the woman and the girl child in a constant vulnerable position. To get out of this position, we need to bring them up so women see what they are doing and what still needs to be done.

I sure will reach out for support in fighting such injustice, thank you.
In sisterhood,
Arrey

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Nov 22
Nov 22

Yes I totally agree, " I stand with you in unity"!
Stay strong!

Dear Sister Arrey,

You truly are a gifted writer, and once again you used words powerfully. Thank you for speaking up about the pain and abuse encountered by domestic helpers who should have been in school. That is really heartbreaking.

Thank you for standing up with them. Your heart is so big, your soul is full of love. May your influence expand to many countries. May your tribe increase! Hugs.

Have a great weekend, dear.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Sister Karen,
Thank you very much for the ever kind words.
It is difficult to witness injustice and turn a blind eye, unless, you are amongst those who carry it out. May we all continue to speak for the vulnerable.
Amen to the kind words and prayers and may it come true for us all.
Much love always
A better weekend to you.
Hugs

You're welcome, my dear. Yes, dear, let us be the voice of the voiceless.
Much love to you, too!

Ekitah
Nov 22
Nov 22

Hi sister!
Thanks for standing firm with this child. We need to keep on protecting the girl child. Its not easy but we have to keep on encouraging ourselves. The girl child must be valued. Thank for sharing with us

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Ekitah
Thank you for reading and for leaving a kind comment. You are right, it is not easy, but we need to keep at it and encourage each other, reason why we need to keep have such discussions which shed light on such injustices.

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Nov 22
Nov 22

Social Injustice abound every where and it very sad that often times it is perpetuated by the privileged. We must continue to speak out against these issues.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear Toyin,
Thank you very much.
Yes, it is sad indeed that social injustice is often perpetuated by the privileged. We have to keep sounding out these issues.
Thank you for reading.

Jill Langhus
Nov 22
Nov 22

Hello Arrey Love,

How are you? I'm so glad you posted this side of GBV so that it's included in the midst of all the others. It's also just as important. You're such a lovely and caring human being. It's so sweet that you cared for this girl that you mentioned. You're right not a lot of people would. I also see their need for love, dignity and respect. Hopefully the rest of the world will learn this going forward, especially the younger generations because they will continue to shape the future of the world.

I hope you have a great weekend, dear.

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

Hello Sis Jill,
Thank you so much for reading and for leaving the always ready encouraging words.
I am glad you see the need for us to have this discussion too along side the mainstream GBV topics. Let's hope the world also gets to see why they like everyone else, also deserve love, dignity and respect.

I am doing great, thank you and hope you are too.
Wish you a lovely weekend,
Love,
Arrey

Jill Langhus
Nov 23
Nov 23

Hello dear:-)

You're very welcome!

Yes:-)

Great to hear! I'm doing well, thanks.

Thank you, dear!

XX

Lisbeth
Nov 22
Nov 22

Dear sister,
It's a while, and I hope you are doing great? Thanks very much for sharing the plight of these housemaids.
Honestly, their conditions are not good to ride home on. Do you Know that some are even sold for a huge sum of money to the host family? Especially, those who travelled out of theirs countries, hmmm.

You have sum it all beautifully here
"For me, I see their struggles. I feel their frustrations for being exploited and manipulated just because they are trying to make a living.. But above all, I see their need for love, dignity and respect. I see them standing tall like the unbroken rocks that they are despite being beaten and thrown down by life's unfairness. I see their humanity and that is why #IStandWithHer."

I as well #istandwithher
Have a great weekend.
Hugs

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 22
Nov 22

My dear Lizbeth,
It's been a while indeed. Thank you for noticing that. I have been very mobile lately.
Indeed, it is a sad reality, the plight the girl child goes through. I have read countless stories of many sold into such by those who promise them better in different countries. Many have even ended up dying.
Thank you for seeing with me and for echoing that last thought well. May we all continue to #StandWithHer
Hope you are keeping well.
Love and hugs for a beautiful weekend.
Arrey

Lisbeth
Nov 23
Nov 23

Oh that's good news :-).
Very unfortunates stories out there.
Same here and take care of yourself.
Hugs

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 24
Nov 24

I will, thank you.
Too many unfortunate stories out there. May we keep doing our best to shine light on such even as we stay determined to stand with her.

Spiritedsoul
Nov 22
Nov 22

A powerful post. Thank you for standing with her and all others. Hugs.

Lisbeth
Nov 23
Nov 23

Hi Jessica,
We missed your comments, good with a come back. Hope you end is good.
Take care of yourself.
Hugs

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 24
Nov 24

Thank you for reading and for the kind comment. I appreciate.

Tamarack Verrall
Nov 24
Nov 24

Dear Arrey,
I am so grateful to read your story, calling on all of us to make sure that in our work for freedom, justice and respect for women and girls, we make sure that we mean everyone. This movement of women for a different world in which we are respected, is not a movement to include a few women gaining ground in the current system and ignoring others. For those who join the privileged and go no further, even as you report, using girls as indentured labour in their own homes while presenting themselves as leaders of our movement, need to think about what they are doing. It is sisters like you who give me hope. And I celebrate that here within World Pulse we are many, who are working to make sure that every woman and girl is free and able to live a full life free of every kind of pain. This includes ending slavery and indentured labour altogether.
In sisterhood,
Tam

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 27
Nov 27

Dear Sis Tam,
I am ever so happy and thankful to read a piece or word of encouragement from you. They always overflow with wisdom which make us reflect. These words from your comment above, sums this well beautifully of why we need to keep speaking out for all...'in our work for freedom, justice and respect for women and girls, we make sure that we mean everyone. This movement of women for a different
world in which we are respected, is not a movement to include a few women gaining ground in the current system and ignoring others.'

Thank you very much,
In sisterhood,
Arrey

IyaBeks
Nov 25
Nov 25

Along with you Sis, #IStandWithHer
Its sad that this phenomenon is so common that a lot of us have become blinded by the ills of it unless in extreme cases. Speaking up like this helps awaken our subconsciousness to be more aware. Thank you for intervening on behalf of that girl.
I am glad to connect with you here Arrey and I look forward to enjoying your pieces.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 27
Nov 27

Dear Sis IyaBeks,
Welcome to the Pulse!
So glad to have you here. You are very correct sis. It has become normalised that we are indifferent to it altogether unless in extreme cases like you say. I am glad we are all using this opportunity to look into the not so spoken about issues of violence.
Happy to connect with you here sis.
Love and hugs

Kat Haber
Nov 29
Nov 29

Slavery is a serious global problem. Perhaps these resources might assist you in standing with her.
Sex trafficking: https://unlikelyheroes.com/survivors/
7 orgs supported by Salesforce on trafficking: https://www.salesforce.org/7-nonprofits-leading-fight-human-trafficking/
Digital directory ending human slavery now: http://www.endslaverynow.org/connect