Gender Links (Johannesburg)

Lesotho - Abuse At School

Teachers are supposed to be like our parents, they should look after us at school because that is where we spend most of our lives. More than at our homes even. Surprisingly, some of them do not do that. When we are at school we should feel that we are with our parents, we should feel free and at home and welcome, but that is not what happened to me. For me, it was totally different. I wanted to drop out of school, but how would I do that? Nobody knew about my situation, that was really a big problem.

My name is *Teboho a boy at the age of 27. I am doing my form D now. I still have both of my parents and two siblings. My father is working at the mines in Rustenburg, South Africa.

He is trying by all means to make sure that we have a good education. We are also not disappointing him because we are working very hard at school, my siblings and I. I am a very shy and quiet person, but whenever my teachers give me tasks, I do them perfectly. I like my school work, and most importantly, I know it is my responsibility to do school work and submit it on time.

My science teacher was a woman. I think she might be older than my mother. She seemed like a very responsible person. She would normally tell us to behave well. She seemed like a good person, a really good parent, but I guess it was just a disguise. I saw a different person, not a parent, good teacher or a responsible mother, but a very dangerous person.

I still think she became a teacher because she wanted to have an opportunity and not because she really wants to be a teacher. How does a teacher behave like this?

Teacher *Sekoati would normally ask me to take the books to her place after we had submitted our assignments. Her house was just on the campus and since there were many of us in the class, I would ask one of my friends *Thabiso to help me carry the books to teacher Sekoati's place. We would carry them and take them to her place.

One time, when we went there to bring the books, she was there and I did not know she was going to be home. She told me to take the books to her place and I would find her nanny there. I did not think she would be there, but she was there.

We found her in the sitting-room and we put the books on the table. She was not looking happy when I arrived with Thabiso and she ordered him to go to another teacher's place to borrow a red pen for her. I stayed with her, and even before Thabiso could close the kitchen door, she asked me why I brought so many people to her house. I was surprised because I only brought Thabiso, and there was no way I could carry more than 45 books on my own. She said that I should have taken some of them and gone back to get the rest, not to bring "this silly kid at my place" that is what she referred to Thabiso as. I did not know why my friend was called a "silly kid" because he was just like me. I apologised and promised that next time I would do as she told me to do. I did not think of any funny business, I liked my teacher very much. I was looking out for her because she was a woman teacher who teaches science which is considered to be a man's subject traditionally. It made even honour her more. I was the best student in her class and I thought that that was the reason why she liked me.

When my friend returned we went back to the class. Even before I could get back inside the class, one of the boys called me and told me that teacher Sekoati was calling me. I asked myself, what have I done? I thought maybe she was already marking our work and she was going to ask me something about what I wrote. When I arrived she was not in the sitting-room any longer. I called for her, and she told me that she was coming. I waited there for about 15 minutes and finally she came down wearing a very short gown. For a moment I was nervous, but I dismissed it, and I did not think that my teacher would go that far. She asked me to carry the books into her bedroom, saying she was not feeling well and that she wanted to mark in her bed. I carried them to the bedroom and luckily it was right next to the sitting-room.

I put the books on the floor and I was about to go and get some more. Then, she was just there, going after me naked; the gown was on the floor, I was so so afraid I did not know what to do. She just said "do not be afraid Teboho please just do this and be done with it now, I will never bother you." I was so afraid, I told her I do not know what she wanted me to do, but she just kissed me and put me on the floor and raped me. My teacher raped me. I did not cry, but I was very hurt. I just could not believe her. I put back on my clothes and went back to class. I did not tell anybody and I felt like my classmates were seeing that there was something wrong. I decided to go to the boarding house where I was staying. I laid on my bed and I cried loudly. Unfortunately, there was nobody to hear me. I was very angry with my teacher, I felt she betrayed my trust.

I did not tell anybody and I was not intending to tell anyone because I thought that people would not believe me, how could a boy be raped by her female teacher? I thought people would say that, so I decided that I would not say anything. The following day, I saw her and she acted like nothing had happened. She told me that if ever I mentioned it to anybody else she would tell people that I was the one who raped her at her place. She told me that I should go to her place after school and threatened that if I dared not to go she would do something that I would regret my whole life. After school, I went, but I decided to go with my friend. The moment she saw him she freaked out and sent him to the shops that time. I was left with her alone.

She touched me on my private parts and slept with me again, we did that so many times. She told me that I should know that whenever she felt like doing it she will call me. If I refused, she said that she would go to the police and tell them that I raped her. I guessed that since she was older than me, people would believe her over me. I slept with her every time she wanted, I never mentioned that to anybody. I was very tired of being a sex slave and I wanted to drop out of school. The problem was, how would I tell my parents? I was also doing my Form C, so I was about to write my examinations. I thought I had no choice but to stick it out and sleep with my teacher whenever she wanted. It was such a painful job that I did not want. We wrote our examinations and when they came out, I failed. I was very angry because I was the best student, I did not deserve to fail, but I did. I asked my parents to change schools and they agreed. I passed my Form C and I am doing my Form D now, but I hate that woman very much, how could she do that to me?

*Not his real name.

Teboho lives in Lesotho. This story is part of the "I" Stories series produced by the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service for the Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence.

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