Child abuse: Unlike Cinderella, some children cannot escape evil stepmothers

Published: February 29, 2012
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The children,  ill-treated by their step-mother, will be handed back to their parents. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

The children, ill-treated by their step-mother, will be handed back to their parents. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

SWAT: 

Home is not always where the heart is — a seven-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister learnt the heartbreaking lesson after their stepmother came into their lives and showed them the door.

“After spending two nights in a deserted wasteland, my sister took me to a culvert, where we spent the third night. It was very cold so my sister covered me with her shawl, but when I asked her for tea and food in the morning, she only cried,” said the boy.

The two children were forced to fend for themselves after being thrown out of their house.

When their mother died, their father, a driver by profession, remarried a woman, who from the first day of marriage, hated her stepchildren and did not waste any opportunity to inflict emotional and physical abuse. Scars from cuts and unhealed wounds are still visible on their faces, remnants of the insufferable cruelties witnessed by the children. The brother and sister were in their stepmother’s care since their father was away most of the time and lived with her children from a previous marriage.

“Once she even hit me with an axe,” the boy told The Express Tribune. When asked whether he was taken to a hospital for treatment, he shook his head. “My stepmother made a poultice of salt and pepper and rubbed it on my open wounds,” he added. “It really hurt.”

Both children were tortured by their stepmother, who made them work all day and fed them only at night. The children said they had to sleep in a separate room and were not allowed to sleep with their stepbrothers and sisters.

Expelled from their home, the two sought shelter in various houses before coming to a village close to Mingora, where they spent six months. At last, a tailor took pity on them and brought them home. He handed them over to a local orphanage run by the Khpal Kor Foundation (KKF).

The children are residing at the foundation’s shelter for now, but they will soon be turned over to the local administration. “It is our responsibility to give missing children shelter and look after them till their parents have been found and notified,” said KKF Director Muhammad Ali. He added that the children’s father had been traced through the District Child Protection Unit and that they would soon be handed back to him.

The unit’s coordinator, Gohar Ali said psychologists had been hired to counsel both children.

“We have traced their parents and reported the matter to the assistant coordination officer, who in turn has initiated an inquiry,” he said, adding that the children will be handed back to their parents shortly.

With a new chapter about to begin, the children are still terrified by the prospect of returning home. With tears dripping from their cheeks, they could only say, “We don’t want to go back. We hate that place”.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • siddiqa
    Feb 29, 2012 - 10:26AM

    so disturbing! I cannot even start to imagine how many kids out there are without help. just disgusting

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  • Innocent
    Feb 29, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Heartbreaking

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  • Feb 29, 2012 - 12:38PM

    Why are these helpless children being sent back to that vile woman? She should be behind bars and her (own) children in an orphanage. Should serve her right. And what was the role of the father in all of this? Is he not a culprit too by conveniently turning a blind eye to the ordeal of his own blood? He too should be punished, or at least counselled! State should constantly monitor the children (w.r.t. their mental and psychological health, and education).

    This kind of behaviour would not be tolerated under a PTI government!

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  • Arif Syed
    Feb 29, 2012 - 1:22PM

    Their parents are not humans!! we can call him MONSTERS.I find it amazing how regular citizens can come up with better punishments for freaks like this than our legal system ( i say legal because true justice is rarely ever seen being delt by the court system, so whoever calls it a justice system is seriously blind). if punishments for people like this were left to the public, i think there would be less crime in my opinion. we need to start putting people like this in pillorys just like back in the 1800’s

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  • ARF
    Feb 29, 2012 - 2:02PM

    poor kids – my heart goes out to them

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  • pointofview
    Feb 29, 2012 - 2:54PM

    Heartbreaking indeed! Won’t the children face the same fate for which they fled? Can’t Khpal Kor Foundation do regular checks on them to insure they are being looked after well? There’s no point in them going back – reading about the torture inflicted upon them – they might even be killed for coming back home!!!

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  • karim khan
    Feb 29, 2012 - 3:20PM

    This is heartbreaking! I blame not only the cruel woman but the father also for failing to protect his kids. If only I had a house and allowed to rescue them, I wold not have spared a moment in adopting them as my kids. The provincial government should see to the safety and wellbeing of these innocent victims.

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  • turth
    Feb 29, 2012 - 5:48PM

    Wish that Khpal Kor could keep them away from their stepmother

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  • Zohra
    Feb 29, 2012 - 6:40PM

    Damn world of Cruel people

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  • fazal maula zahid
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:05PM

    so sad, so cruel, so painful.
    mohammad ali of khpal kor foundation may be requested to give protection to the childern as suggested above, instead of handing over back to home, local administeration may find out their parent and put them to task.
    fazal

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  • Khan
    Mar 2, 2012 - 5:59PM

    sure, the children should not be sent to the parents

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