As Told By Nigerian Women: 17 Places Where We Experienced Sexual Assault

| Her
June 2, 2020

Nigerian women experience sexual assault; according to the stats, one in four Nigerian women have experienced a form of sexual assault before they’re 18.

After the news was reported that Uwa was raped and killed in a church, people expressed shock that it took place in a church. The context of their shock lies in slut-shaming and victim-blaming: the belief that women, in this case Nigerian women put themselves in a position to experience sexual assault. This is a false and harmful narrative. Women have continuously told their stories to dispel this myth, proving that there’s literally no place safe for women.

That’s why we asked a few Nigerian women where they experienced sexual assault. Their responses range from religious gatherings to their own homes.

TW: This article contains stories about rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Nigerian Women Sexual Assault
Illustration by Lauren Mitchell, @curious_lauren

1. In a gathering of my Christian sisters and brothers:

It wasn’t church, it was just a gathering of Christians where we played games and gisted with each other. Me and this guy (who is really like a brother to me) were alone in another part of the building when he started making passes at me. Because I considered him a brother, I tried to educate him on why what he was saying didn’t make sense. He stopped. But then later (when we were with other people), he started to touch me inappropriately. I resisted quietly because I didn’t want to cause any trouble.

2. In the hospital:

Nigerian Women Sexual Assault

I was 17, doing my IT in a military hospital. This doctor claimed he liked me and said I should visit him during his rounds. We ended up going to his quarters and before I knew it he was sticking his penis in my vagina. I just stood there because I couldn’t shout or scream. He kept reminding me I went with him willingly.

3. In the activity hall used for church services:

I was in Babcock, in the activity hall beside my hostel. A “friend” called me to talk about the rumors of him having sexual relations with someone outside of his relationship. I knew it was true but I don’t know why I thought I would get him to confess. I had an injury on my ankle and in the course of our conversation he stepped on my injured ankle and fingered me till he came and just stood up. and left. I felt like an idiot because I wanted to prove a point and the point I proved was that he was a sexual predator. Nobody believed me sha.

4. In my father’s house:

I wasn’t raped, but I was abused by my cousins. They used to live with us and when I slept in their room, they’d touch me inappropriately. I didn’t even know it was abuse at the time. I wasn’t up to 8.

There was another family friend who visited very often, I remember that one day, when we were alone, he brought out his penis and asked me to touch it, I ran. I remember talking to another friend who knew him and she told me not to ever be alone with him — we both knew he did weird things

5. In Yaba market

Nigerian Women Sexual Assault

I went to buy jeans in Yaba. I had just finished trying on the jeans when the seller came from behind to ‘adjust’ something. Next thing I knew, he held me down and started rubbing his erection against me. It became a struggle but I was so scared because he was a lot stronger than me and it was a corner shop — it could get violent. He eventually let me go, but I remember just breaking down in tears when I got home. All I wanted was to buy jeans.

6. At home:

I had a neighbour who used to come over and touch me inappropriately for years. It didn’t help that it was a female neighbour, so no one suspected anything. A lot of times, the abuse happened with an adult in the room next door.

7. In public transport:

I don’t like to talk about sexual assault because I have been raped too many times to count. Since I’m poor. I expect it to keep happening so, I’ve learned to make myself unpretty. Cut my hair, wear ugly clothes can’t afford skincare so that’s that.

I was 7 my mother asked me to stand in the Molue we boarded and this man kept poking me from behind. That’s one.

I was on my way to school in my first year. I was 18. The bus stopped at Enugu and we couldn’t continue on to Ebonyi. I didn’t want to sleep because I was in a bus filled with men. I didn’t notice when I dozed off. I woke up to find my fingers wrapped around a guy’s dick – the guy sitting by my left. Meanwhile, the one on my right was running his hand down my chest.

8. In church:

I was in church for a program. Deeper life. The church was in full swing and was boring, so I fell asleep. It was then I started feeling something running down my chest. Anytime I jerked my head up to check what was going on, there was nothing. So I closed my eyes again and decided that instead of jerking myself awake, I would be quiet. And that’s when I noticed the boy sitting close to me. He had bent his head in the sameway mine was to to give the impression that he was sleeping. Meanwhile, he was touching my breasts. My boobs are really small by the way.

When the news started circulating. A memory that I’d forgotten surfaced and I remembered that as a baby 2 years or so, a crippled uncle that stayed in the public compound we lived in used to ask to carry me and he stuck the cover of a biro and his fingers simultaneously in my vagina.

9. In my grandmother’s house

I was two. It wasn’t rape. But it was a dark room, I can remember my pants being removed and that he touched my vagina. He was my teenage cousin. I remember liking how it felt, but I didn’t understand anything. Not then. I remember him “peeing” though. I didn’t tell anyone at home, for some reason. And I blocked out those memories for so long that it started to feel like I imagined it all. But as I got older (it’s been 20 years since) a lot of things started making more sense. The memory became clearer, and I remembered that he stopped because someone else came into the room. An uncle. He didn’t do anything, but he didn’t say anything either. And I just forgot about it.

10. Walking home in broad day light:

Nigerian Women Sexual Assault

I was walking home from work when this guy lunged at me from nowhere. I walked as fast as I could just to get away from him because I assumed he wasn’t well. Unfortunately, I got to the road just before my street. It’s such a busy road and so I couldn’t outrun the guy. He touched my arm first. Then my back and was making his way down when I started shouting, “leave me alone”. No one helped out. I ran into the road without a care, still he followed me until I entered into someone’s compound, pretending it was my house. I waited there for more than an hour.

11. During a family event at my sister’s house:

Nigerian Women Sexual Assault

My sister’s husband groped my breast, literally in front of everyone and I couldn’t say anything. I was supposed to stay over that day, but I refused. When my mum asked why, I told her what happened and she called me a liar.

12. In the office after work hours:

This happened to me twice in one night. I stayed late after work to catch up on some stuff that I couldn’t attend to during the day. There were other people around too, but we weren’t a lot. A few hours later, the security man — probably patrolling the building –walked into my office. I used to joke with him and so it didn’t feel weird for him to sit on the seat across from me and for us to talk about nothing in particular. I don’t even know how but this man pinned me against the wall and started putting his hand up my skirt. I started shouting, “what do you think you’re doing” but he kept telling me to shut up. Luckily, a few guys came to help out. One of the guys dragged the security man away, while the other guy stayed with me because I was very clearly out of sorts. Do you know that this other guy still tried to touch me on my thighs after he saw that I had just had to fight off what could have been rape? Again, I got lucky and the guy who left came back to check in on me, stopping what would’ve happened.

13. My boyfriend’s house:

I was in my boyfriend’s house, but he wasn’t home yet. He asked that I wait for him. His brother was there. We weren’t even talking to each other when this guy came to me and forced himself on me. He said I had been sending him signals. He raped me and told me that no one would believe me. Luckily, my then boyfriend did and by himself made a report to the police, although it didn’t go beyond that. Apparently, it wasn’t the first time his brother was sexually assaulting someone he was dating.

14. Pastor’s office:

I went for counseling and the man asked me to take off my shirt shortly after he prayed. I didn’t wait to hear anything before I ran and never returned to that church. When I used to hear that women (even Nigerian women) experience sexual assault, I used to think it could never happen to me with the way I dressed and all. What a fool I was, because that day in the pastor’s, I was full clothed – you couldn’t see an iota of my skin.

15. Ile kewu

I don’t remember much about it, just that my brother was with me and then he wasn’t. I wasn’t more than 7, but the man teaching us tried to put his penis in my mouth. I must have blocked out the memory because I don’t remember much else after that.

16. Teacher’s staff room

I went to collect scripts for a test my class had done. I was the class captain and this was ss2. I didn’t meet the teacher I wanted to see. There was a staff meeting or something so the staff room was empty. I instead met two corpers. One of them taught my class, so I knew him. I was going to leave, but one of them told me to hold on. I did. Both of them started to touch me inappropriately and make lewd remarks at me. I was so uncomfortable. I eventually left and then made a report to a family friend the HOD of a department. He reported to the principal. Although she sanctioned the guys, she announced on assembly that I was an example on why girls shouldn’t go the the teacher’s staff room.

17. In church:

So I was 9 and we used to attend an Anglican Church. He was the son of the choirmaster so he was quite famous. I think he was in his early twenties. Every Sunday service, he would come to the children’s department, take excuse from the teacher that he needed me to help him get something, and she’ll say I should go with him. There was an abandoned building in the premises, the only room being use there was the children’s department church. So he’d take me into one of the other rooms, take down my skirt and pant and start fingering me while I would look on, totally oblivious of what was going on. He did it every Sunday until I changed churches.


You can also read this on how long it took Nigerian women to speak up about their sexual assault experience. Join the protest for justice for Uwa.

Ope

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 27, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 55-year-old Nigerian woman who is a Christian and a feminist. She talks about how discriminatory experiences as a female worker in church made her change churches and how she became a feminist.

June 15, 2020

As misogynistic, incoherent, and unrealistic as the Nigerian version of wife material is, it has got nothing on the Zeeworld’s version. The storylines are not the only annoying thing about Zeeworld, the standards women have to keep up with in their relationships with men are too. Here’s a Zeeworld Women’s Guide to landing a husband. […]

April 19, 2021

Bras are one of the most unnecessary things on earth. They dig into your skin, leave marks on your shoulder, and are just downright uncomfortable especially if you have bigger breasts. Now, because we all hate bras, here are some alternatives. 1) Nylon We are all about recycling and taking better care of the environment, […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

August 3, 2021

You’re probably on the wrong side of Twitter NG if you’ve not seen any tweets from user, @deoors. Recently, I saw a couple of really nice tweets from him, so I decided to do a deep dive on his account and find some more bangers. You’ll smile (or chuckle a bit) throughout this post. 1. […]

August 3, 2021

If you are single and in search of reasons why you should get into a relationship, then you are in the right place. Here are eight reasons to convince you and not to confuse you as to why you need to get into a relationship 1) You have someone to be helping you zip your […]

August 3, 2021

The show has started and housemates are already giving their fans something to talk about. Here are five things you need to enjoy Big Brother Naija Season 6 wherever you are in Nigeria, other African countries, or the UK. 1. Cool Friends You may need to change your friends if they yab you for loving […]

man flexing arm bicep
August 3, 2021

In today’s society, everyone has an opinion about what it means to really be a “man”. Whatever those opinions are they end up doing more harm than good, seeing as 75% of suicide victims are men. Here are some of the ridiculous ways society thinks you should act like a man. 1. Never cry. As […]

August 3, 2021

There are very few things that make adults happy. The word ‘adult’ here is used loosely because some of you are 18 and you only barely qualify as adults. Truth is, the older you get, the more simple things make you happy.  1. Finding the perfect grocery store Not everyone can say that they have […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 4, 2019

After successfully predicting when y’all are getting married (please, email any complaints to noneofourbusiness@nayousabi.com), we are back to tell you how much is currently in your account. How, you might ask? By using your taste in Nollywood, of course. Shhh. No questions. Just take it already:

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

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. […]

More from Her

July 31, 2021

Angel, one of the resident Gen-Z’s in the ongoing Big Brother Nigeria has shown us that beyond being self-aware, she is also very funny. Here are a few times Angel has shown us that she is one of the top 5 funny women in Nigeria. 1. She being a generous and accomodating side chick. 2. […]

sad girl covering her eyes
July 29, 2021

As told to Mariam  In a group chat conversation about Nigerian parents, Tega said her parents were toxic. When I asked how, here’s what she told me:  Trigger warning: Physical abuse  I’m the first of three girls. My father was distant when I was younger. He was rarely around except when there was a problem […]

July 28, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 24-year-old woman who has a very rocky relationship with her stepmum. She talks about how she misses her mum, the ill-treatment she got at the hands of her stepmum, and the medical condition that messes up her self confidence. What’s your earliest childhood memory? It’s driving […]

two women with curly hair
July 27, 2021

If you found out your younger sex was having sex, how would you react? We spoke to three Nigerian women about how they found out that their younger sisters were sexually active and how they reacted. Here’s what they had to say:  IB, 24 One day, we were gisting and she said,  “You know I’m […]

diagram of the female reproductive system
July 25, 2021

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is still largely unspoken about across Nigeria. Many people may have heard about it but a lot of them don’t know what’s true or false about the condition. Here are five myths and facts about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Every woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome grows hair in unlikely places.  Though a […]

black woman in the gym
July 25, 2021

I spoke to four Nigerian women about what visiting the gym as a woman is like. Here’s what they had to say: Bibi, 22 I always have a pleasant experience at the gym but there was this day, my friends and I were on the mat and the instructor was helping us stretch our bodies. It […]

July 23, 2021

Romantic relationships bring different changes to our lives. Some welcome, some not. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about how their partners changed their lives.  Bisola, 23 I grew up in a conservative space but I always knew I wanted to explore certain things and with the help of my current partner, I am […]

black girl using her phone
July 22, 2021

There is a growing number of dating apps available to Nigerians living in Nigeria. In this article, three Nigerian women talk about using dating apps.  Dami, 27 I downloaded Bumble a few months ago. This is my first time using a dating app. I chose Bumble because my friend told me that the app is […]

July 22, 2021

TW: Sexual Abuse Everyone has a story about their first time. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about the first time they had penetrative sex. Nancy, 22 I didn’t bleed during my first time, probably because my boyfriend in secondary school used to finger me when we made out.  The first time a penis […]

what she said design with a woman in a hospital gown sitting down
July 21, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is a 23-year-old woman who had an ovarian drilling surgery. She talks about PCOS and how it affected her mental and physical health, how unhelpful the doctor who diagnosed her was, and needing an ovarian drilling.  Tell me something about your childhood. Okay, let’s talk about my first […]

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