6 Queer Nigerian Women Talk About Experiencing Violence For Being Queer

November 25, 2021

Trigger warning: abuse

In October, a video where a man was physically abusing his daughter for being a lesbian went viral. This was just one of the examples of the kinds of violence queer women in Nigeria face. In an inclusive study conducted by The Initiative for Equal Rights on violence against women in Nigeria, it was found that queer women are at a higher risk of experiencing violence in Nigeria without any real chance at legal redress. In this article, six Nigerian women talk about the violence they experienced because they are queer. 

monochrome woman

Ayomide, 25 

When I was in secondary school, senior girls would call other girls that looked like me to their rooms and punish us. . They called us blokes, masculine-presenting girls and we had a rule book that said  we had to wear BYC singlets, sag our pants and do other silly things. The seniors would inspect us every week. If we followed the rules, they punished us. If we didn’t, they still punished us. 

There were a lot of rumours about me being a lesbian in secondary school which  got me in trouble with senior students. I didn’t get suspended like some of the other girls because they never caught doing stuff with girls, but I always got in trouble. When I got older, I realised that this is how the world treats masculine-presenting people.

Sophie, 31

In February 2021, I posted a video on Tiktok about liking women and a faceless user left a comment saying that they’d rape me. It shook me. I deleted the reply and blocked them, but I haven’t forgotten. 

Jane, 22 

During the EndSARs protest, queer people waved the rainbow flag and that caused a lot of violence targeted against queer people online. One popular Twitter user said we were trying to hijack the protest and many other things. I quoted the tweet telling other queer people to ignore it. She replied to the tweet, and after a couple of back and forth tweets to each other, she called me a nobody whose whole life revolves around being queer. It was a homophobic dog whistle. A lot of people engaged the tweet with homophobic stuff directed at me. I tried to fight back but I was scared that someone would recognise me and out me to my parents. I locked my account the next day and I haven’t unlocked it since then.

Jumoke, 26 

In 2014, I wanted to explore my sexuality. I met this girl, Janet, on Badoo. She was nice. We texted for a couple of weeks before we started dating. There were no video calls then so we were always texting. In the third month of our relationship, she said she was travelling to Dubai for work and wasn’t sure when she’d be back;she wanted to see me before she left. I told her I didn’t have money and she said she would sponsor the trip. 

I left Warri for Lagos the next day. She told me she would pick me up from the park at Ikotun. When I got to the park and called her, she said she couldn’t come to meet me because she was packing but she would send her brothers. Although I felt something was wrong, I wanted to see it through. I followed her brothers to a house somewhere in Lagos. It was dark inside. I was talking to Janet on the phone. She asked me to sit outside and wait for her. 

Around 9 o’ clock , I called her; I heard the phone ringing in the compound and when she picked, I realised  it was one of the guys mimicking a girl’s voice. Everything changed instantly. All the boys started beating me. They showed me my nudes and said they were going to report me to the police. They said as big as my bum bum is, it’s women I like. They collected all the money I had with me. 

They wanted to rape me, but I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I could tell that they didn’t want me to bring attention to them. Then they threatened to kill me, but I stood my ground. 

I noticed the door was open, and at some point, I ran out of the house. They pursued me, but they couldn’t chase after me because they were afraid they would draw attention. I escaped to a provision store and asked the woman there for a phone. The guys felt like I was reporting them, so they ran away. I called my friend who came to pick me up. I didn’t tell him what happened. The next day, I went to my grandma’s place. My grandma gave me money to go back to school. I didn’t talk about it for four years. Till now, when I meet women that like me online, I am skeptical about them. 

Oyin, 21 

A year after I got into the university, I met Halima. She lived in the same estate as I did. We liked each other and spent a lot of time together. One day in 2018, before I went back to school, she kissed me and that’s how we started dating. She liked to touch and kiss me while we took our evening walks. I was always worried that someone would see us.

One day, after she kissed me, a man walked past us. I hadn’t realized that he was following us but I knew he saw us. Two weeks later, my mum sent me to the house behind ours to buy pap. The compound was empty when I walked in. As I was figuring out what to do, the man from that night walked in through the gate and locked it. He walked past me into one of the apartments in the building and locked the door behind him. I was afraid and I wanted to leave immediately. I knocked on the door of his apartment but he didn’t answer. I could hear him shuffling inside the house. I kept knocking for a few minutes before he opened the door and pulled me inside. I screamed as loud as I could when he started hitting me but we both knew no one would hear me over the sound of generators. At some point, I stopped trying to fight back. When he realised I was too weak to move, he raped me. I don’t know how long I was out for but I know when I woke up, he was out of sight. Outside, I could hear someone moving around. My crying must have been loud because the woman I came to buy pap from opened the door. She rushed to my side and took me to her apartment where she cleaned me up before taking me home. Tosin came over later that day to check on me as usual but I couldn’t talk to her. She kept pushing, asking me what was wrong until I snapped at her. I told her I didn’t want to be with her anymore and I hated what we were doing. I could see the confusion on her face as she walked out of my room. I was so scared that man would rape her too. I blocked her everywhere and deleted everything that would remind me of her. Till today, I hate that I did that to us but in my head, it was the only way to prevent her from getting hurt. 

Bibi, 28

In 2016, a friend I considered a big brother invited me to a bachelor party. It was a weird party — there were a lot of naked women and men touching them. There was also cake, and I ate some.  I didn’t know there was weed in the cake, so when I started feeling high, I was surprised because I didn’t drink. When the party dispersed around 3 am, I tried to sleep off my high on the couch. My “friend” woke me up and said I could stay in one of the bedrooms. 

One of the strippers had just finished having sex with the groom-to- be in the room my friend led me to. They were laying on the bed. I was too high to think too much about anything so I lay down. My friend lay behind me. The groom moved closer to us and kissed me. I pulled away but he started to touch me. I took his hands off and he complained to my friend I don’t want to play with him. My friend then proceeded to hold me down while the groom took off my jumpsuit. None of my pleas was heard. My friend told the groom that I’m bisexual, so they asked the stripper to touch me. I can’t count how many times I said no but no one listened. The stripper held my hands and my friend held my legs so the groom could have sex with me. When he noticed I wasn’t interested, he stopped. My friend tried his luck too. I said no and curled up in a foetal position till the day was bright. I still went to the wedding the next day but I haven’t spoken to any of them since then. 

Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Travelling By Road In Nigeria
May 27, 2021

Travelling by road in Nigeria is a herculean task because of the bad roads, multiple police checkpoints and probable kidnap attempts but what’s travelling by road in Nigeria like for women? I spoke to nine Nigerian women about their experiences, here’s what they had to say:  Timinu, 24 I used to travel by road a […]

April 19, 2019

It’s very hard to make a case against dating apps. Yes, I know there is the occasional unsolicited penis picture you inevitably get. And men who take on sexual harassment as a full-time job. But all of that comes with conventional dating methods too.  The only difference is that with dating apps you get to […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 7, 2021

Selected entries to receive exclusive Masterclass with TY Bello and George Okoro Days after innovative Smartphone manufacturer Infinix Mobility launched its Zero X Pro device in Nigeria, the tech giant today announces the start of its #ZeroXChallenge. The Zero X Challenge is an initiative to inspire boundless creativity among Nigerians and empower the youth to […]

December 7, 2021

MTN Nigeria recently announced the price of its initial public offering to retail investors.The offer which opened at 8:00am on the 1st of December 2021 will close at 5:00pm on the 14th of December 2021 with a minimum subscription of 20 shares and lots of 20 shares thereafter. At the retail offer roadshow in Enugu […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

More from Her

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X