Each month, I take a reader back for an in-depth look at what’s troubling them… D oing horrible, menial jobs like scrubbing the floor always makes me feel happy. What’s wrong with me?! Jean, 29, Margate, Kent
Piece of filth
It’s 1888 and my name is Jeanie. I’m the downstairs maid at a big house in Kensington. I was reprimanded for handing my employer Mrs James the letters that had just been delivered. I was told off as apparently I’m so unclean that I should have put them on a silver tray first.
I was sitting on the kitchen steps last week when Mrs James’ son Nicolas called in. He squashed me up against the wall while his hands roamed my body, one between my legs. Now I feel in danger, and prefer to be scrubbing floors or anything that makes me go unnoticed. He comes to my room and does awful things. I’m only 14, but I know I might get a baby inside me from what he’s doing. Then I’ll be thrown onto the streets.
I’m screaming, my mother tries to help. I did get a baby, and now he tears me apart while trying to get out of me. I had to go home after the James’ threw me out, but seeing my mother’s stricken face and all the blood, I should have thrown myself in the river.
Jenny says: What a very sad state of affairs, to feel safe only when one is on one’s knees, never looking up at the world. Jean should feel angry at what happened to Jeanie, and stand tall and proud of who she is.
Jean says: I can’t believe the cruelty that went on back then, and still goes on in some parts of the world today. From today, I’m determined to help children everywhere that are badly treated. I will make it my life’s work in the name of poor Jeanie!