#Education

Students still abused by teachers — Investigation

Rejoice Opeyemi & Elizabeth Abiodun

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Secondary school students, especially the female ones, are still being abused by teachers, The Hope has confirmed.

Our investigation revealed that many of the victims of the abuse were unable to speak out due to fear and stigma.

Some of the victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity with The Hope, narrated how they faced molestation from teachers, including female teachers. 

Oluwafunmilayo, who was former student of a boarding school in Akure said her English teacher, who is a young woman, used to caress her body anyhow.

She said that aside from that she also did molest her emotionally because whenever she tried stopping the teacher, the teacher would fail, insult and always make her feel uncomfortable.

She added that she couldn’t report to her stepmother because she (her stepmother) would not believe her.

Olufunmilola said she escaped the teacher after her family relocated from the area and she changed her school. 

Another victim said she was molested by her Biology teacher while she was in secondary school.

“Anytime I went to his office, he touched my body anyhow. I reported to my house mistress but she warned me never to say it to anybody, or I would be expelled from school,” she narrated.

Unfortunately, she said she was later raped by the teacher but could not tell anyone because she did not want to be expelled from school.

UNICEF reported in 2015 that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18.

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The United States Department of Education estimated that one in 10 children around the world experience some form of sexual misconduct by school employees.

Suggesting solutions, the founder of Global Girls Africa Initiative (GAGI), Sophiath Bello confirmed that there has been a growing concern about the issue of teachers sexually abusing students in recent years.

According to her, “This is a violation of trust and a betrayal of the student’s safety”. 

To curb this immoral act, she said the government and NGOs should also provide training and education for teachers on how to prevent abuse and how to report it if they see it happening.

She added that policies and procedures for investigating and responding to allegations of abuse should be properly formalised and support and resources must be provided for victims of abuse, including counselling and legal assistance.

Bello advised students to always speak up whenever they are abused by any of their teachers, adding that “no one should have to endure it, and everyone deserves to feel safe and supported.”

The GAGI founder admonished parents to always listen and study their children, to discover and study their children and never ignore them because they are to be their children’s first comfort zone.

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