A former student of Olashore School (OIS) in lloko-ljesha, Osun State identified as Obiamaka Azubike has started a petition on change.org, calling for justice over the alleged sexual abuse she suffered from 13 of her classmates.
Azubike, who started the petition to the Osun State Ministry of Justice said the school’s authorities punished her for speaking out and stripped her of the prefect title.
According to her, the school pushed a false narrative to justify the punishment she was given.
Currently undergoing therapy, Azubike said she is seeking redress and has written the school authorities with certain demands.
Her petition which has garnered over 1,400 signatories was titled, “Olashore International School must address covering up my sexual assault at the age of 16.”
Her petition reads, “Please help me get Justice as we cannot continue to normalise Rape Culture. My name is Obiamaka Chidinma Azubike and I am a daughter, sister, aunt, niece but also a sexual assault and rape survivor which unfortunately has insidiously cast dark shadows over the core of who I am. I am currently in therapy, so I am getting the required help to overcome the negative effects of my experiences.
“I was sexually assaulted by 13 of my classmates at the age of 16 in May 2004 while a student at Olashore International School (a Nigerian Private All-boarding Secondary School). In the years, that followed the initial assault, I suffered and without a supportive family system, I would be dead as I contemplated suicide a lot of times as it felt like a way for me to get some respite.
“My story is not unique in some ways especially in Nigeria as at least 1 in 4 women in Nigeria are victims of Gender-based Violence before the age of 18 (according to a survey by UNICEF in 2015).
“That said, what makes my experience even more harrowing is what happened when I reported being sexually assaulted at 16. The school’s authorities at the time punished me in the same way as my assaulters by demoting me, stripping me of my prefect title, and banning me from prom and my graduation ceremony for reporting the assault. They pushed a false narrative to justify the punishment I was given.
“The role Olashore International School played in attempting to bury the incident made me vulnerable to repeated physical assault and attempted assault that continued while on school grounds and the harassment for years after by some of the culprits when they spotted me in public.
“All these events together, pushed me to silence when I was drugged and date raped at 21.
“I won’t go into further details on the traumatic experiences as even 17 years, 7 months after, I am still healing. It is unfair to expect survivors of sexual assault and rape to live with lifelong consequences while the people and the systems that damaged us go scot-free.
“I have written to Olashore International School twice since December 2021, and so far, have only received one vague response on pending investigations from them. However, since my first letter to the school, they have followed up with the below actions;
“1.) Issued a letter dated the 7th of December to one of the male ex-students (a current political appointee within the Nigerian system) that both sexually and physically assaulted me on two different occasions attempting to exonerate him when he was clearly named in my written statements at the time.
“2.) Sent out internal communications to parents of current wards in the school attempting to minimise the abuse I suffered while declaring that sexual assault did not occur.
“3.) Circulated a statement written by a staff (who was my boarding housemistress at the time) confirming molestation and sexual assault but attempting to minimise my pain and shame me for talking about it.
”4.) Olashore International School outside copying and pasting the same generic statement posted on their Instagram page in an email to me have made no other attempt to contact me.
”My ask to Olashore International School has been simple as to ensure the healing of sexual abuse survivors, justice is required to be able to move forward effectively.
“1.) Publicly apologise in print and on social media to me (Obiamaka Azubike), the now young woman who you punished with me (Name Withheld), and our families who were humiliated.
“2.) Reinstate the records to show that both Chiamaka nee Azubike and I Obiamaka Azubike were school prefects as my twin sister’s records were also wiped by the school to attempt to hide this incidence.
“The school has also continued to act with impunity while keeping silent hoping that I will get tired of speaking out so they can continue to protect those that harmed me.
“Please help me get closure and some form of justice by putting immense pressure on Olashore International School as you sign this petition. We collectively need to set a precedent that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated anymore.”
In a letter she had earlier written to the school, Azubuike said she was a student of OIS between September 1998 and July 2004 during and that she served in various capacities including as public relations (PR) prefect.
The student said the incident happened in May 1, 2004, when the school had its entrance examination.