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#BBCtrending: Video of nanny abusing toddler shocks Uganda

By BBC Trending
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image copyrightRuth Alexander-NBH

A video apparently showing a maid physically abusing a young child in Uganda has been watched more than 21 million times in just four days on Facebook.

The graphic footage, which is taken from a camera hidden in the corner of the living room, shows the woman Jolly Tumuhiirwe, 22, hitting the 18-month-old girl when she resists feeding and then throwing her to the floor, beating her with a torch, before stepping on her and kicking her.

The child's father Eric Kamanzi said he installed the camera after he noticed bruises on his daughter and that she was limping. After capturing the violence on film, the police say he reported the incident to the police on 13 November.

The disturbing video has since been widely shared on the internet, provoking horror and upset from Uganda to California.

It's also raising a debate in Uganda about whether it's safe to pay for childcare. In a statement confirming that the maid has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, the police advise that people should "[take] great care while selecting domestic helpers." They recommend that families do background checks with friends, neighbours, local police, council and previous employers before taking on such an employee.

"I will continue being a stay home mum till my child is of age," a Facebook user named Daughter-of-A-Queen posted.

"After watching this I am even happier that my wife made the decision to be a stay home mother," George D Barugahare says.

"If the mother is not working, where was she?" comments Omukama Kabarega, from Kampala.

In Uganda, there's no requirement for nannies to have qualifications and the police statement warns of other horror stories: "In extreme situations maids or helpers have suffocated babies to death, stuffed them in fridges, injected them with HIV/Aids, sexually molested infants and attempted suicide due to psychological problems and mental fits."

But the police also say that families should treat domestic staff well, and people commenting online have also raised the issue of how badly some maids are treated in Uganda.

"Am not condoning the act but let it ignite a discussion about our domestic affairs," Justus Amanya says on Facebook. "Most of us treat maids like robots not humans, most likely this is what happens. Some men rape maids, and psychologically these maids become mad...we need to start thinking. Its dangerous to stay with a stressed person whose desperation levels are acute. They can kill without knowing. Sometimes the real cause such scenes are the home owners. Regardless this act is sad and there's no measurable reason that can justify it. I too condemn."

The video made it on to the internet after the girl's father Kamanzi shared it privately with family members, who then passed it on to their friends - one of whom then posted it online.

"Personally, I prefer my privacy but I'm sure I helped a lot of people out there and on that note I'm happy that the video is out there," Kamanzi told BBC Trending.

He says his daughter is now physically well.

Ms Tumuhiirwe will appear in court on 8 December.

Reporting by Ruth Alexander and Samiha Nettikkara

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Related Topics

  • Uganda