Gender Gender

Some step-fathers can be cruel

Speak Out on Violence: DORIS KASOTE
RECENTLY, I received mail from ‘Mr anonymous’, whose main concern was to encourage me to explore other avenues of my stories.

Among the several topics he suggested that I explore was the issue of step-fathers. He feels some step-mothers have been described as cruel and media reports have played a part in painting stepmothers black.

According to him, there are also some step-fathers who are equally cruel, in some circumstances, even worse off than some step-mothers.
He writes:
Women with children from a previous relationship or marriage do not have it as easy as people may think. Some men refuse to allow such children into the home from the onset saying they cannot fend for another man’s children, especially if the father is still alive.
These are cases where the man knew about the children well before the marriage. In other cases, the woman is told to change the children’s name into that of the husband, for the children to receive support.
For some of the men who have allowed stepchildren into their homes, there are stories of mistreatment and deliberate segregation.
An elderly woman confided in me that men by their nature do not find it easy to love another man’s children. Stepdaughters have sometimes been raped and mistreated.
I knew of a family where the man, despite having a comfortable job, refused to help with school fees for his stepchildren, yet his wife never discriminated against his children.
The man would even accompany his wife to borrow money to pay bills concerning his stepchildren.
Another woman was shocked when her husband declined to financially support his stepdaughter’s wedding, yet he expected to be given a father’s honour at the function.
Sometimes, stepchildren are clearly shown that they are not loved. They are treated like maids or house boys and are blamed for anything that goes wrong in a home.
Another case I know is of a man who blamed his stepchildren for whatever misfortunes that came his way. He would even feel uncomfortable to see his wife spend time with her children.
Women make their actions obvious towards their dislike for certain issues, especially in the home, while men are subtle.
That is it for the week, let’s keep in touch.


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