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Award-winning Nigerian writer, Lola Shoneyin narrates sexual harassment experience

A few hours after a BBC investigation exposed Nigerian and Ghanaian academics sexually harassing students for grades, the award-winning Nigerian writer and director of the Lagos Aké Arts and Books Festival, Lola Shoneyin, took to her Twitter page to explain how she had been sexually assaulted while growing up.

She narrated how a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who was also her father’s friend had molested her sexually. 

“A DVC (also my dad’s friend) lunged at my breasts in his office. I froze from shock before flinging off his hands. For months, I felt terrible shame. Played the scene over in my head to see what I could’ve have done to invite such a violation. Nothing. I had to live with the lingering sensation of this man’s palm on my breast for weeks. I felt so dirty. I wish I had slapped him. I wish I had screamed. But I didn’t. I was terrified.”

She went further to explain her father’s reaction when he heard of the ugly incident and how she was compelled to talk about it because of the worries it gave her.

“My dad slapped his chest and said, ‘ Omo re mi!’ (my own child in Remo). He felt so betrayed.”

“To be honest I told my parents because I felt a stomach-turning combination of shame and fear. I believed the man was capable of turning up at my door. It was very hard and very embarrassing. There are loads of experiences I didn’t share/haven’t shared with them though. How many stories will I recount? ” she tweeted.

She was thankful for the BBC’s release of the year-long investigation on sexual harassment perpetrated by lecturers in some of West Africa’s most prestigious universities.

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