In the wake of the Chrisland school scandal, where a two-year-old pupil has accused her 47-year-old teacher; Mr Adegboyega Adenekan of rape,(we cannot make this up) several views have sprung up trying to discredit the little girl’s video testimony, played in the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.
I’m angry. A Nigerian school hires a SAN to defend a teacher against a 3 y/old’s accusation of sexual impropriety. When I read that headline, I felt a heavy ball drop in my stomach. A potpourri of pain, incandescent rage, horror etc. I have been there. I was 3.
Didn’t want to write this. But I’ll do it for her. I’ll do it because some people, in the face of evidence, properly collected, believe that child is telling tales. Someone said, “He’s such a good Christian man. Very dedicated church worker. Loves his kids.”
All those qualities describe the teacher who locked my friend in the toilet every school day and forced her to perform fellatio on him. She was 5 y/old then. I was 3 and I’ve never forgotten. My saving grace, just as this child, was that I spoke quite well, have the memory of an elephant and an excellent relationship with my mother. This was in the 80s. He was our caregiver. Early twenties, smart (according to the adults around me), hardworking, caring, etc. I don’t remember much before then. But I distinctly remember the day it began.
It was during bath time for my late older brother and myself.
“Do you know what this is?” the Molester asked, pointing at my vulva and my brother’s p*nis.
“It’s our wee wee,” I immediately replied.
“Do you know what it’s used for?” he asked.
“To wee wee,” I replied, confused
He giggled. Can’t forget that high-pitched, asinine giggle.
“It has another use,” he said. “Don’t worry, one day, I’ll show you.” I remember wanting to ask my mother what other use there was for our “wee wee.” But child that I was, I forgot.
Each day after that, this Molester would ask us that question, get the same answer, laugh or giggle, and promise to show us what our private parts could be used for. I don’t know the timeline of this supposed grooming of his. But I remember the day he made his move.My parents were away at work. Perhaps we were on midterms or some holiday because it was in the middle of the day and I was asleep. “Baby,” he said, shaking me awake. Only my dad calls me baby. I thought it was him. So, I opened my eyes. My father was the best fun, daddy, a little girl could ask for. Nothing could keep me asleep if he was home. When I opened my eyes and saw who it was, I closed them again. In my head, I was a bit puzzled as to why he’d call me baby. He lifted me from the bed and carried me to the lobby, where we had our children’s dining. I can still hear the sound of the chair scraping the floor as he pulled it out and sat down. Then he lowered me from his shoulder, spread my legs and sat me across his crotch.
“Baby, wake up,” he said. How can I forget that low, heavy breathing? Or the wetness of his lips on my forehead and lips? How can I forget the urgency of his fingers as they parted my panties and fumbled around my vulva? I cannot forget how he said, “Baby wake up. I want to show you love.” Groggy, I opened my eyes, long enough to say, “B* I want to sleep.” That was when he pushed me slightly away from himself, reached down, pulled down the zip on his trousers and brought out his p*nis. I remember because it was way bigger than my brother’s. I tell you, the sleep left my eyes when he reached down, pushed my panties to one side, raised me just so and tried to put that humongous p*nis inside me.
The pain. I cannot describe it. It was bad. Worse than when I fell down and scraped my knee. Worse than anything before.”B* stop! It’s painful!” I cried out. “I’m sorry my baby. But it’s paining you because you’re not opening for me. Open your legs.” These words were accompanied by a further spreading of my legs. Even that, hurt.
He tried again. This time, I hit his chest. “Stop! It’s still paining me,” I said and started crying. He said he was sorry and told me not to cry. Kept on saying, “Please open for me. Just open for me.” “I’m opening but it’s painful,” I cried.
How can I forget that sigh of frustration he heaved? How he said, “OK. You’re not ready for me. I will be using my finger till you’re ready. It’s OK. Don’t cry again. Baby, stop crying.” I stopped because the hurt was stopping. He took me back to bed.
My mother usually returned from work before my father. Back then, she was working and going to school, caring for my brother who suffered from sickle cell anaemia, my younger brother and I. We were all under 5. But she always had time to talk to us. Always asked how our day went and actually listened. She was in the kitchen chopping up tomatoes. I walked in and quietly stood beside her.
“Nsido?” she asked. “What is it?”
“Mummy, what can we use our wee wee for?” She turned and looked at me. “To pee, of course. What kind of question is that?”
“I told B* that it’s for wee weeing but he said that we can do another thing with it. He said he will show me and Ini. Mummy tell me, so I can tell him that I know.”
I can still hear the echo in the kitchen as the knife she held clanged on the table.
Oblivious, I went on. “Today, he put his wee wee in my wee wee. Mummy, it was paining me. So I told him to stop.” I can’t remember her expression, but can still feel the tremble in her hands as she turned, knelt before me, held my upper arms and said, “What did you just say?”
I repeated the same words.
By now, she was shaking like a leaf in the wind.
“He….he…. Oh God! I’m finished!” she whispered. “My child oooo!”
I thought I’d done something wrong.
“Mummy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.”
“It’s not you, my darling,” she said, hugging me. By then she was crying. She said I was brave. “I’m happy you told me.” “You told me to tell you if anyone touches our wee wee,” I said. Unlike her friends, my mother didn’t think sex education was too much for her toddlers.
Very early on, I knew the PANTS rule.
P- Private parts are private.
A – Always remember that your body is yours.
N- No means no.
T- There are no secrets from Mummy.
S – Say something, so I can do something about it.
I don’t want to go into the details of how my Mum nearly stabbed him with that kitchen knife. How she told Dad. How his rage terrified me. How he brought that fellow to the edge of life itself and how he’d be in jail for murder if not for my mum. But I can tell you that two of my friends weren’t so lucky. Edna* was molested by her female teacher from when we were 5 till she turned 9.
That baby’s words,[The 3-year-old at the court house] “This your bum bum is very sweet,” hit a nerve. That teacher used to tell Edna the same thing while licking her vulva in the locked classroom.
Emem* wasn’t lucky either. She performed fellatio on that teacher for years. Couldn’t tell anyone because her parents were hard as stone. It was the 80s in Nigeria. People rarely if ever talked about child molestation. That’s why it’s grown into the monster it is.
No, it’s not a new phenomenon. Many teachers are paedophiles. Many of these paedophiles are upright citizens of the society. Yes, children tell tales. But 3-year-olds don’t tell à story consistently over and over.
So, think twice before you water down this horror into he said – she said thing between a 47-year-old man and a 3-year-old baby.
Now, let me go find some cold drink and calm my nerves.
I didn’t say the teacher shouldn’t have legal representation. I’d have preferred he get one himself, not the school offering the services of their legal team. I also hate that many think the child is telling tales. Especially those who’ve got no experience with children.
End of Story
We now live in perilous times and it is sad to say that 1 in every 15 children is being or have been molested. Keeping your children safe is a primary responsibility you and you alone. Teach them early what is right and wrong. Teach them where is private and that no other person can touch. It is never to early to teach your children about their reproductive organs. Give them the information they need to stay afloat in this sea of monsters.