Sexual exploitation in African schools has become so widespread that children have come up with their own terms to refer to sexual relations with their teachers. From ‘Sexually Transmitted Grades’ to ‘BF’, or bordel fatigue, which refers to exhaustion from multiple sexual activities with teachers, this slang hints at the prevalence of exploitation in Africa’s learning environments.
The lexis of abuse was discovered during research for Plan International’s (PI) latest report, ‘Learn Without Fear,’ part of the organisation’s global campaign to end violence in schools. According to the report, research in Uganda found that eight per cent of 16 and 17 year-olds had had sex with their teachers. In South Africa, at least one-third of all child rapes are by school staff. In a survey of ten villages in Benin, 34 per cent of children confirmed sexual violence in their schools.
While boys usually suffer more violent – and possibly deadly – corporal punishment at the hands of their teachers than their female classmates, sexual harassment and exploitation appear to be overwhelmingly carried out against girls. The report found girls are vulnerable to attacks not only from teachers and other care givers, but also from male students, either at school or on the journey to or from school.
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