by Akata Julianah
Eko Girls’ Grammar School, Okota
It all started one day when I went to see Ngozi, a friend of mine who lived on the street next to mine. When I got to her place, she was not in. on my way out, I peeped in at the backyard, only to see Yetunde, a girl who lived in the same compound weeping. I went to her and asked what’s wrong. She stopped weeping and said there was nothing wrong. I was surprised because I had known Yetunde for some time – although she was not very intelligent, she was pretty and very jovial girl. I persuaded her to walk with me to my place and to tell me what had happened. She stood up, and by the time we got to my place she had calm down. Fortunately, my parents were not in, so I took her to my room, and cajoled her into telling me what the problem was. By the time Yetunde finished telling me, I was very shocked, to say the least.
Yetunde confided in me, saying that since Junior Secondary School Three (JSS 3), there was a particular teacher in her school, with whom she had been having an affair. The teacher had approached her when she was in JSS 2, but she refused even after he threatened to make her repeat the class. At the end of the term, she was told to repeat the class. It was then that she realised that the teacher was serious. She went to beg him, but he refused and said the only solution was for her to have an affair with him. At this point, she couldn’t say “No”. Left with no alternative, she agreed to this relationship. Before resumption, everything was worked out, and she was promoted.
The reason for her tears was since the initiation of their relationship, she had aborted two pregnancies. The first time she became pregnant, the teacher had directed her to a place at Isolo, a back-street known as Agbabiaka; where she terminated the pregnancy. The teacher also made her take an oath never to tell anyone of their relationship, or she would die. Recently, she terminated the second pregnancy for the same teacher. After the procedure, the native doctor had warned her against having another abortion, so as not to risk destroying her womb. She had told her teacher, but he dismissed it as lame excuse not to go out with him; and so the relationship continued. However, now she thought she was pregnant again and didn’t know what to do.
I was shocked at first, then angry at the teacher, and then at Yetunde. “How could you?” But I couldn’t reprimand her further because she started to weep again. I therefore concentrated on calming her down; told her that it might be a false alarm and we should wait and see. She then left for home.
A month later, Yetunde told she was sure she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. I advised her that since the native doctor had warned against another abortion, she should get ready to have the baby. At this, Yetunde flared up, “No way! I can’t have the baby. I’m not going to subject myself to such ridicule and disgrace”, she said. She then stormed out of our house in anger.
A week later, I learnt that Yetunde was seriously sick and at home. I never went to see her because I suspected she had aborted the pregnancy. It was Ngozi who later told me that Yetunde’s mother came to her house (Yetunde lived with her aunt), and that Yetunde had confessed all to her, that she had aborted the pregnancy, with the help of a quack chemist down their street, and the resulting complication was the cause of her ill-health. She told her mother that a teacher in her school was responsible, but she never told her mother the teacher’s name, before she died, after two weeks of being in bed. Yetunde’s mother had cried uncontrollably, but there was nothing she could do but wish the teacher God’s judgement.
Now Yetunde is dead and buried. Whenever I remember her, I feel like hauling fire and brimstone on that teacher. A lot of girls have suffered, a lot are still suffering, and more will still suffer in the hands of men, who exploit their positions of power to ask for sexual favours as a condition for promotion at work or in school? It’s unfair!