A third-year student in one of the all-male senior high schools in the country, has lifted the lid on a worrying trend which has deadly consequences if not dealt with.
James – not his real name - is now living with the deadly HIV and unable to tell his parents about it.
Now in his third year, James was raped by a group of seniors and infected with the incurable HIV in his first year.
He told the host of Joy FM’s Home Affairs programme, Edem Knight-Tay that the seniors lured him into a bush and raped him after he had turned down an initial request for sexual intercourse from one of them.
“I was very harsh to him and I told him off,” he told Edem, adding that “Two weeks after that, after prep, one senior sent me to get him something and somehow I was abducted, taken into a bush and gang raped.”
He said after the incident, he could not walk or sit.
The seniors threatened to make his life on and off campus miserable if he dared to disclose his experience to anyone.
Even when he tried to report, he was told, it will be fruitless because “there are teachers who are part of it.”
The boy managed to speak to a few of his classmates who confirmed having gone through the same ordeal, but said they had to give in quietly “so they can have their peace.”
With this, James succumbed. He did not mention the incident to anyone, not even his family.
Eight months after the incident, a health screening was organized in the school, it was there he was informed that he was HIV positive.
“I told my senior [about it] but he said he knew, and was on the anti-retroviral drugs so it was not dangerous for him.
“I was shattered, I have not been able to tell my parents. I have contemplated suicide and although I am in year three, I feel my life is going nowhere,” James told Edem.
Alarmed by the story, Edem did a bit of research and it turned out that, James' story is true and that what happened to him, goes on in almost all the senior high schools across the country.
Edem came in touch with an Educationist and Social Researcher, Aku Afedo who also confirmed the story and said she, together with other stakeholders have been working on similar cases in some schools.
“It is happening in senior high schools, a lot, everywhere and most teachers are not willing to come out and tell you what is happening, but if you go deep down, it is happening,” Aku said.
Two young people – a boy and a girl – who have completed school were also on the show to share their experiences.
Jessie and Leslie said James' story is no surprise because they heard of it many times when they were in school.
Leslie said “it’s either you give in or you are raped.”