I have a story to tell and if you read it words after words, you may be surprised how these things we call “incoherent” could become really true. I will try my best to make this story short without skipping the important details.

I was around 11 or 12 years old, I was in my JSS 1, in a Junior Seminary School. I met this young boy who picked interest in me. I was a very quiet and shy introvert who also had a serious phobia for conflicts and gatherings. Many people would bully me and get away with it, my belongings in school would be stolen without me having to steal other people’s belongings all in the name of “tapping is a game.” It was in this situation that this young fellow met me, I was scared of troubles, fighting or even having an argument. Whenever I tried being vocal, I struggled with stammering. All of these put together made me say a few words but write much on books. Thanks to the advantage it gave me today anyway.

I was writing about a fellow who picked interest in me right? He was in his JSS 3 class and would always come to meet me during evening preps or Saturday evening of hymns. I noticed something with him, he would always want to touch me all over my body and I didn’t know the meaning of what he was doing. Sex, homosexuality and other words were alien to me and I was smart but so naive! I wasn’t comfortable with the ways he would touch me, I didn’t know what those touches meant but I also was afraid to raise alarm because I wouldn’t be able to control the scene or even defend myself. While I always tried avoiding him entirely, I was always helpless whenever he catches up with me.

One night, after lights out in the hostels, I was asleep but suddenly I started feeling very uneasy. I woke up but wasn’t fully compos mentis and yet something was happening to my body. By the time I came to full consciousness, I realized this fellow had pulled off my shorts and was sucking my penis. We had about thirty people in the hostel but I was too shocked to shout, it was dark and no one was seeing us. I tried pulling him off but he closed my mouth with one hand and said “it’s nothing. Don’t worry, you will like it in the end.” It doesn’t sound coherent here because there were people around and yet I did nothing but this is truly how it happened.

We were both very young, I was still a child at that time after all and I didn’t know what to call what he was doing. I grew up in a very conservative home where there was no atom of sexual education and mum trusted the school she enrolled me into. The only thing I knew that was that “touching a woman or allowing our mouth to come together is a sin.” Personally, at that age, I knew what he was doing to my body was very wrong, I knew there was something abnormal about it if it wasn’t something that can be done in the public. I kept struggling silently until he left me.

Note this, we had about thirty persons in that hostel, I had someone on top of the bunk, I had neighbours but no one knew about this. I told no one about it later but it changed everything. I started living in fear, I started hiding at every sight of him. I can still remember his little face and the way he would always smile when he sees me. I remember he had a mark on his face that looked like large eczema. Whatever happened that night didn’t stop, it continued and yet I was afraid to speak up! Till date, even my parents didn’t know about this because I was scared of the ripple effects of opening up. I felt I would be blamed for not fighting hard, I would be blamed for not shouting and reporting to the school authorities and so I thought it was better not to talk. I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong with whatever he was doing.

At some points, I stopped sleeping in the hostel. After every night prep, I would remain in the class while others go into the hostel. I will stay in the entire school block alone and some nights it would be cold and scary! I was only hiding from someone I felt too weak to fight. My hostel mates noticed I wasn’t showing up in the hostel for some nights and they started accusing me of belonging to a secret mystical cult that usually disappears at night to hold meetings. Once I was accused, I would always break down and cry and they would say my tears are reactions indicating I belonged to a secret cult.

It became so bad, I succeeded in hiding from him sometimes but other times, especially when we are assembled in the evening for hymns and announcements, he would come around in the crowd and start touching me. He would touch me and extend his hand to my penis. I was scared, yet I was a bit helpless! I didn’t even fight because creating a scene and getting people to look me into the face and ask questions was one thing I never wanted to experience. I started finding a way to escape the school entirely.

One day, we were given a project in Fine Applied Arts and it involved getting clays from the neighbouring town. Some students suggested it was easier to follow a path from the fallen fence at the back of the school. In the process, I discovered I could leave the school premises from the back of the school compound and I started planning with my brother who was in school with me on how to escape. While we had a mutual plan, he never knew what was happening to me and I am sure he will only know from this story. It was successful, we escaped the school and start roaming around the village looking for a way home. We found a way but we had to trek from Nsugbe to Nkpor! How we were able to locate our house, I can’t tell to this moment.

To cut the long story short. My parents kept bringing me back to school and instructing the gateman to ensure that I stop escaping. It hadn’t come to the knowledge of the school authorities until one certain time when I got reported. That morning, in the assembly ground, I and my brother were called up to the podium for negative recognition and from there we got suspended from school.

As the suspension was announced by the Principal of the School who is presently a Venerable (as at the time of writing this), I looked at the boy who always comes to me at night and smiled. He looked very sad and defeated. I hurried to the clerk’s office after the assembly and requested the suspension letter. She was surprised at my joy that we were being suspended and she said in a very kind tone

“are you happy that you got suspended?”

I smiled and responded “No. Ma” I was lying

“Well, the suspension isn’t an abomination,” she said, “just ensure you come back with your parents on the day it is over.”

I took the letter and I eventually left the school with my brother. Before then I had dreamt of changing to another School, I even saw the name of the school in my dreams without knowing such school existed. Well, from the suspension, my parents realized that if they send me back to the school, I would continue jumping the fence and even endangering my life in the process of going home. They changed me to another school.

Although I had given instances of the abuses I had faced in my several writings, this is the first time I will be telling the story the way it is! For 17 years, I have been silent to some extents about this and it is something my family never got to know about and even though I have healed from it all, I still feel uneasy and goose pimples whenever it comes to my mind.

I thought I had escaped what I later found out to be series sexual abuses from a fellow child who must have also been exposed to this by an adult. Whatever that boy became then, I had found out later in my life that it was a result of sexual abuse from another fellow! If he had gone around at that age exploiting younger fellows sexually, I don’t know what has become of him now.

When I was finally gone from the school and away from him I thought it was over, but this was just an introduction to what happened to be the worst moments of my life.

There were worst things ahead!

~  George O.N

Unmasking Depression | By George O.N