Teenage Body Count

efe
Posted September 15, 2019 from Nigeria

‘When I want something from a man, I know exactly what to do’ was the look she conveyed as she narrated her latest escapade. We could not exactly be described as an unwilling audience as we crowded round the speaker who was our 14 year old form mate to hear more.  

Though my dreams were quite different from hers, it did not make the narration any less exotic.  I admired her for defying most of the rules that were drummed down my ears by society while growing up. These rules ranged from ‘Close your legs. A woman should sit properly’ to ‘dress decently so you can find a man to marry’. The speaker though still a teenager was years ahead of us as she could read between the hypocritical lines drawn by society.  She seemed to know that if one got wealthy enough, nobody would be concerned that much about how the individual in focus came about such wealth.  She also knew that wearing revealing clothes could attract the attention of even the most ‘respectable’ man.  Even though she had a boyfriend who was in his twenties and in the university, she was never short of male attention from much older males.

On this particular day, she described how her male admirers were allowed to come to the house to pick her up in the full view of anybody that cared to see.  

Such blatant attitudes are not that unusual in Benin-City the city I was born. A walk through the major streets would reveal houses built by teenagers who started with using their bodies in exchange for favours locally before they decided to embark on international trips to get favours from men in other climes. Such gestures get them a lot of admiration in the country where the majority live on less than two dollars a day. However, not all of them end up sending their male siblings to school or building apartments for rent to help their relatives, some end up under the sea or in an equally traumatic circumstance.

In November, 2017, the bodies of 26 teenager from Edo State ranging from 14 years to 18 years old were fished out of the Mediterranean Sea as they were attempting to migrate to Europe.  This incident was confirmed by Marco Rotunno an Italian Spokesman of the UN Refugee Agency.  The local media got in a frenzy and took up the story from there. One of them reported that the mother of one of the victims used to get cross with her ‘for giving her body to boys in the neighborhood for free when she could get paid in Italy for doing same’ (paraphrased) Unfortunately she bowed to the wishes of her mum as well as the conflicted society and as a result gave a last bow on this side of the divide.

This story was submitted in response to GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

Comments 16

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Lisbeth
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear Efe,
I hope you are fine? Thanks for sharing with us the important of living the vice life's. We hope others will learn from reading your story.
Have a great Sunday.
Regards

efe
Sep 18
Sep 18

Thanks Lisbeth. I hope so too

Hannah B
Sep 15
Sep 15

Hello Efe,
Thank you for sharing this story!
Do you know some of these young women who have attempted to leave the country? It sounds like there are very few options for girls and women to succeed economically there.
I look forward to hearing more from you, and I hope you are finding support and community on World Pulse!
Kind regards,
Hannah

efe
Sep 18
Sep 18

I have a former classmate that traveled out of the country most likely for that reason. I never actively sought to see her again because of the obvious difference in our present lifestyles. Opportunities are few are far between but quite a number of my classmates are professionals, doctors, lawyers etc

Tarke Edith
Sep 15
Sep 15

Hi Efe
Thanks for sharing this with us. You know dear there are still girl's who thinks th

Tarke Edith
Sep 15
Sep 15

Hi Efe
Thanks for sharing this with us. You know dear there are still girl's who thinks that they can make it only out there . but can not take the right track to get there. So we should keep on educating them.thanks for sharing

efe
Sep 18
Sep 18

yes we should

Anita Shrestha
Sep 15
Sep 15

Dear EFE
Thank you for sharing. Keep it continue.

efe
Sep 18
Sep 18

Thank you for reading

Millynairi
Sep 18
Sep 18

Hello Efe,
The girls need to be educated so that they may know that migration to other countries is not a solution.

Millynairi

efe
Sep 18
Sep 18

They should

Hello, Efe,

I hope these girls know their minds are more powerful than their bodies. But I think, offering the body is a quick way out if one is suffering from poverty. There are cases like that in our country, too. Thank you for opening this topic. Hope to read more from you.

efe
Sep 19
Sep 19

They do not have the faintest idea about how powerful their minds are but we hope with more awareness things will change

That is true, dear. I hope so, too. Have a great day!

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 20
Sep 20

Dear Efe,
What a tragic story and such an important one to bring forward. Here at such a young age this schoolmate had learned "she could read between the hypocritical lines drawn by society". How disgraceful that real options were not and are not made available, and that the dangerous attempts to escape to other countries still hold the expectation that young women must make themselves available to men as the only way to survive financially, if even they survive the boat rides. Blame then is on this global economy in how people are forced to leave for countries holding the most money, and bame especially on a world which continues to keep options for girls so limited. Thank you for raising these issues so clearly.
In sisterhood,
Tam

efe
Sep 23
Sep 23

Thank you for understanding the harm in seeing females as one-dimensional Beings . You indeed understand the message I was trying to pass with the story