10 Nigerians Talk About Traumatic Experiences They Faced In Boarding School

August 10, 2021

Attending boarding school in Nigeria is an extreme sport. The long time effect it largely has on people is often time not spoken about enough. Some people have good memories of their boarding school experience, while some are still living with the trauma from it, many years later. Here are stories of some unforgettable experiences a few Nigerians faced in boarding school.

John

When I was in JSS 1 someone messed up the senior toilet with stool. It was spattered everywhere. The seniors got really angry and asked all my classmates in that hostel to pick a portion and show them before observing our real punishment. I had to use a broomstick to pick my portion. It was a really disgusting experience – definitely one of my worst boarding school experiences.

TW: Sexual harassment

Joe

When I was in JSS3, a senior of mine in SS3 had given me one of his things to hold for him and I misplaced it. When I told him I had misplaced it, he forced me to masturbate in front of him. I didn’t know what masturbation was at the time, till he showed me how to do it. He said that was my punishment for misplacing his stuff. I still hate him to this day. 

Lily

I had a lot of bad experiences, but one of them had to be when a boy in the same class as my room prefect was trying to ask me out. He was sweet, bought me nice things like chocolates and chivita, but I wasn’t interested at all (kinda hated boys and was low-key afraid). I tried to reject them and send them back to him, only to find them in my bag or on my bed.

My room prefect decided to take it upon herself to make my life a living hell. She couldn’t believe a boy in her class like me. I had to move to my cousin’s hostel to avoid my room perfect, but I got unlucky one day when she saw me in her hostel. She asked me to sit on the floor with my legs and arms stretched out at shoulders height, she placed lots of textbooks on them and told me not to drop my hands or let any book fall. I stayed there for about 2 hours or 3. I went from being in intense pain to numb. 

Eddy

Many risk factors contribute to post-injury mental health among black men |  Michigan ACE Initiative : Michigan ACE Initiative
Image used for descriptive purpose.

I had a classmate who always smoked weed – he would smoke and become insane and uncontrollable. Every time he smoked and became and became uncontrollable, he would pick on any junior who had previously offended him and beat them. One day, he beat a junior so badly, the boy could not go to school for almost a week because he couldn’t walk. 

The event still haunts me because I always wish I tried to stop him – but I didn’t. It’s one of the few events I would change in my life if I had a time machine.

Maria

Image used for descriptive purpose.

I went to a Catholic secondary school in Nigeria. If you were not a prefect, you get assigned chores to you. The chores varied from sweeping surroundings to cleaning laundry and any other tasks you can think of. I was assigned to clean the laundry. 

One night, the people who were assigned to laundry duty were not around and I had to do it all by myself. I spent a lot of time cleaning the laundry and couldn’t get done in time for night prayer. I was taking a shower after finishing my task when the Reverend sister came into the hostel – she saw me in the bathroom and immediately started to flog me. 

She made sure I had no clothes on and continued to beat me. When she was done flogging me, she asked me to follow her outside the hostel, still naked. She took me out in the cold and told me to squat, all while naked. One of my friends had to beg on my behalf after I had been there for hours. 

I was 13/14 years old when this happened.

Oreofe

I was accused of stealing my roommates’ money that went missing when we were in SS1. Whenever I walked by,  and any of my roommates were there, they’d start singing “beware of her, she is a thief”. They eventually found out that a girl from JSS3 was going room to room stealing peoples’ money. She was severely punished. My roommates found the money she accused me of stealing inside her socks.

 Amara

The worst thing that happened to me in boarding school was the day I was given the ‘pig of the day’ tag. The tag was usually given to the person they considered the dirtiest. I was taking my English lesson when they came to call me out to put the tag on. When I refused to wear it, they dragged me, beat me and took me around the school, from class to class, all while beating me. I became a bully in senior school, I was the bullied person who went on to become a bully. 

I still suffer from self-esteem issues to this day – issues that started from my time in the boarding house. 

Keziah

I used to be really chatty, loud and confident till I got to boarding school. When I got to boarding school I was always told to tone it down and keep quiet. I got used to being quiet, I didn’t realize it had taken a hit on confidence. It affected my confidence till 2018. 

I got bullied a lot by my mates and my juniors, I also suffered from sexual harassment from my juniors and seniors. I always knew I was queer, but for a long time, my sexuality felt like abuse to me because of the amount of sexual harassment I dealt with in boarding school.

My mates from secondary school try to reach out to me, but I do not respond or reciprocate. I am still healing from a lot of trauma I experienced in boarding school. I told my parent about what I was going through while in boarding school, but they dismissed it because they had good experiences in their own time.

Missy

Right before WAEC, I found all my books soaked in a bucket of water under my bed. To this day, I don’t know who did it. I always suspected a friend of mine, but the suspicion was never confirmed. I wonder what I did, that could make someone do something so wicked to me. Of all my bad boarding school experiences, that’s the worst one and the most unforgettable.

Nina

One night, I was gisting with my friends, we were actually gossiping about another friend of ours who was also in the room when we heard a knock on the door. We all ignored the knock because we thought it was a random senior who was knocking on the door till we heard the knock again. This time, it was senior we were all afraid of that was knocking at the door. 

The senior got really upset that we locked the door and she decided to punish all of us in the room. She asked around for who locked the door and my name came up multiple times. I have no recollection of locking the door, but I served the longest punishment of my life. I was punished for so long, she also threatened to have me sleep under her bunk. Thankfully, my friend informed the house mistress and that was how I got released from punishment. I still do not remember locking that door.

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