By Ify-asia Chiemeziem
I think I was 7 years old then and in primary 2 in a government contraption called school.
We had a maths teacher, an Yoruba woman with receding hairline. She accomplished two things in my life. She made me hate maths and forced me to profile Yoruba women without hair around the front of their head as wicked or witches. That belief only left me recently after I met wonderful Yoruba friends with wonderful moms who have scanty hair.
That is why you should be careful what you do; you represent your tribe, nation and religion wherever you go.
So, one day this our maths teacher/ class teacher who used to flog us for the fun of it, especially when she was pregnant, announced our upcoming arts and craft exams, which was slated for next morning. As usual, she listed the kind of arts and crafts objects we must buy, “bring Omo, Jet, Lux, Joy, Milo, Milk, Sugar, if you bring broom you will get zeroooooo. You hear me?” She screamed, drawing her ear for emphasis.
We chorused, “yes ma.”
She repeated the announcement more than three times and we chorused , yes ma, all through.
The next day, me and my friend came to school early with our “arts and crafts”. She gave us good marks. Some dirt poor pupils came with brooms, she tongue-lashed them alongside giving them a big zero. Those who came with actual drawing or crafts, I don’t know what happened to them.
Then, when class had settled and we were doing other things, the headmaster came to the class, dragging one of our classmates with him. Christian, a habitual latecomer, was an apprentice trader and had a lot of money at his disposal, so he bought plenty “arts and crafts” that would have earned him a 100%. But, he came late and the headmaster, a tall, slim, handsome Fulani man that hardly knew what was going on in the school, intercepted him on his way to class and was shocked at the amount of provision Christian was carting to his class.
Christian told the headmaster that it was our teacher who told us to bring the arts and crafts.
Our witch of a teacher turned to us, with her beady eyes fixed on us, asked us, “class did I say you should bring Omo, milk and sugar?”
To our chagrin, our mouth opened and chorused, “No ma!”
She asked more than twice and we all shouted, no ma.
It was like magic.
The headmaster was dumbfounded because he knew Christian was telling the truth but we, the oppressed pupils, just crippled him. We truncated justice.
The headmaster left the class with Christian to go and punish him.
If you wonder why I am telling this story, this is exactly what is happening with the Queens College students. It should not surprise you too much that these girls are carrying placards to defend the male teacher accused of sexually molesting some of their mates. You’d be stunned to find out that among those girls are the ones that have been molested too.
In this country, male teachers molesting their students is not as serious as your tailor making mistake while sewing your blouse. It’s not that serious.
In fact male NYSC members enjoy being posted to all-girls schools, it means abundant boobs and vaginas to play with.
While in secondary school years back, I remember some Corp members who had good time in our school. My friends on Facebook would remember this period.
One of my friends in school confided in me that the medical doctor among them took her aside and promised her that she would like his penis when she sees it. “It is big and red,” he told her. I hope the arsehole is reading this. By now he should be married with kids and abusing Mr Osifala on Facebook.
In the same school I remember a permanent maths teacher, one ugly dude who gave expo to his favourite girl. While we were racking our brain for mock WAEC, the girl was traipsing around without care confident that her teacher-boyfriend was going to furnish her with the answers. Anyway, unfortunately for the girl, she was sitting near me and while I was biting my biro, the teacher-boyfriend walked in and dropped the answers on her table. When I complained, he called me out to intimidate me into silence. He slapped me, and I returned back to sender. I chomped down on his arm (biting was my specialty when fighting. I have very sharp teeth). I also tore his clothes, the entire school almost saw that stupid pecker he was using to teach girls. (I was a little devil then). Anyway, I was suspened from school. My friend Uju Okeke, now Uj Araromi , stood by me. Another teacher, a friend to the boyfriend-teacher and partner in crime went and gossipped to the principal that Uju said that if she were the one, she would have chopped off the teacher’s dick. When Uju was asked, she said yes with straight face and gallantly collected her own suspension. Uju, nwanne di na mba. Gallant soldier.
We were punished because teachers usually close ranks when one of them has problems with the student or parents. They protect their own like other professions. They punished us so that students wouldn’t think it was a swell idea to fight teachers or fight back.
When I got home and told my parents. Nobody wanted to hear what the teacher did. “Hian! You fought your teacher! Ewooo! Nwatakiri a, this your sturbbornness will put you into trouble one day.”
I stayed at home and almost missed my WAEC, in fact I missed Oral English. I cried to God. That was when I knew I could pray. I was alone now. All alone. Some blamed me, “If the teacher was screwing the student, wetin concern you?
I was eventually summoned to face a panel, consisting a judge (a very old one that didn’t look like he knew what brought him there. I can still remember he had no teeth), a police DPO, Ministry of Education officials and our school heads.
While waiting to be called in, I was given a punishment, to wash the toilets.I came in later, my sleeves rolled up, my clothes wet.
The DPO was eyeing me as if I was a criminal. “Look at her,” he barked. “Rolled up sleeve like a tout. Looking at her clothes you will know she is stubborn.”
I presented my case neatly, emonstrating how the teacher slapped me and held my bra. The case was found in my favour and I returned to my class and sat for my exams. After a while, I stopped seeing the teacher within the school.
Weeks later, I was at home watching the state governor’s interview in TV. People were calling in and among the callers I recognised the voice of our teacher, the friend to the boyfriend-teacher, his partner in crime. He complained to the governor how a student fought a teacher, even teeeearing his clothes and nothing was done to the girl.
The governor (one of his daughters was my seatmate and must have told daddy what happened) told the caller that he was sure the matter was handled appropriately.
Let me drop here that our principal then was one of the daughters of an ex-president of the country.
Anyway, a year later, I saw the teacher-boyfriend at an academic event. He stopped me and asked for my forgiveness.
I looked up at him and quipped, “if you had truncated (I loved using big English words then) my future then, would you have seen me here to ask me for forgiveness?” I flounced off after hissing long and loud.
That was a secondary school tori, it is not different in tertiary institutions. As at two years ago, in the College of Education in Abuja, a Corp Member was rumoured to have impregnanted several of the female students. Though these girls were above 18 but then, in this country where children remain children until they are 30, people should look out for them too. And I am sure it is not ethical for a lecturer to have sex with his students. And it is not news that these randy lecturers exchange marks for sex or threaten the girls into submission.
School is a firtle ground for sex criminals or sick individuals who prey on helpless females. These animals find a school and burrow deep, picking the cherries as they mature.
In the universities or colleges, girls are being screwed sideways too and just like they were shut up in secondary schools they continue to suffer in silence in colleges as the same sharp-penised molesters now lord over an empire of helpless ladies ripe for the picking. These women, due to previous experiences, have resigned to fate, believing it to be the order of the day. They bend over desks in offices in colleges just like they bent over desks in offices in the secondary schools. It is now normal – one of those things that happen while seeking education. You wade through a torrent of sexual molestations to be educated. So, the certificate given to you at the end of day makes you a true scarred survivor in a country where there is no law or ethic protecting a woman’s private parts. It is left for for the female to fight off the predators or simply spread her legs and take it, hoping it will be over one day. That is if you got married and not work outside your home. All sex predators are not teachers, some are ensconced in offices waiting for you to come and look for a job after you’ve graduated. There, you encounter the good old desks once again.
It is only in this country that it is okay for teachers to marry their students. Before they marry them, they apparently have been screwing them and their friends for a while.
You see a 45-year-old teacher marrying his 20 year-old student and you don’t wonder how and when the courtship began. There are even secondary school teachers who marry their students off the school where they teach, and you tell me they weren’t fucking these girls during breaks and closing hours and probably impregnated them before covering it up with marriage.
It is these same men that would argue that the girls were already sexually active before they came to school.
Well, even if some of these girls were already spoilt, were you paid to completely finish the spoiling? Weren’t you paid as a teacher to mould their character or remould the scattered ones? You are their guardian for crying out loud, the person they listen to and look up to. Children even believe their teachers more than they believe their parents.
Mothers, fathers, this is a war. Equip your daughters with the rights, courage and trust to reach out to you if she was molested, and the knowledge that she was been molested and that it was wrong. And equip yourself with same measure of courage and sense to seek for justice.
Reporting to school authorities has been proved to be useless most of the time. The school heads abhor sexual harrasment or molestation case because they view it as troublesome and a heavy baggage that would weigh their tenure down. So, they manage the lascivious teacher until it was time for her/him to leave.
This is a new day!
Meanwhile, kudos to good teachers, they are the salt of the earth.