Nigeria is without a doubt, a tough country. Most people say it’s a country where a mosquito can hold you at gunpoint saying “Ogbeni, Give me your blood.”
In Nigeria and most countries, women are brought up to see other women as threats. The same goes for the men. Think you’re not one of them? Think twice.
Have you ever looked at your group of friends and said “I’m definitely the Beyoncé in this group”. Nobody says “Bukky is the Beyoncé (it girl) and I’m the Jenifa (the lame one)”
You hold a subtle grudge with anyone you think is better and has achieved more than you.
Still don’t think so? Here’s a short story to illustrate.
It was her first month in high school at a boarding school, and also her first-time away from home.
She had a school mother, a group of friends and a male best-friend. Although, she was home-sick, she never called home unless they called.
Everything was fine—until it wasn’t.
She danced well amongst her friends, and taught them new dance moves when asked. Eventually she got nominated as best dancer in an award show. Unfortunately, she didn’t win because she was a junior, but some of her classmates were angry that she got nominated to begin with.
They started spreading rumors about her, saying that she insulted some seniors (who punished her severely). Her school mother began to ignore her in front of huge crowds, solely based on society’s outlook on associating with an outcast.
Everyone had a problem with the her talent and potential. They put down her dancing, singing, acting, designing, and writing.
She had a huge crush at the time, it was her first crush ever. Some girls came to meet her and said he liked her as well. They advised her to write him a Valentine’s Day note, asking to be his Valentine. They lied that they were writing notes to the boys they liked too, but their goal was to embarrass her. Meanwhile when she gave him the card everyone hid to watch the plan unfold. After handing the boy her card, he tore it and addressed her as a crazy stalker.
The incidents continued. People stopped calling her by her name and began to use insulting words instead. She was looked down on because of her weight, looks, etc.
Through all this, she was calling her parents every day begging them to get her out of the school. However, they thought she was just homesick. The only thing her parents did was bring her home from the hostel, but she remained in the school for two more years. Eventually, the girl’s parents changed her school for reasons other than bullying.
The two major problems in this story are: the bullies and the parents. In Most Nigerian schools, the idea of a senior sending the junior on errands is popular, and this is the only kind of bullying engraved in the minds of Nigerians.
Bullying in the 21st Century has evolved. The definition of bullying is, “A series of persistent acts intended to make life unpleasant for another person.”
In Nigeria, when a person mentions being bullied, especially in the hostels, the first conclusion that is assumed is that he/she is being picked on by an older kids.
But, that isn’t always the case.
There are various types of bullying: Verbal Bullying, Physical Bullying, Relational Bullying, and Cyber Bullying.
Relational Bullying and Cyber Bullying are on the rise in Nigeria. Relational Bullying is best embodied in the common saying, “You can’t sit with us.” This term is used as a slang to embody how cool a person and his/her squad are, but also relates to the issue of status quo. The nerds won’t be able to relate with the cool kids therefore the cool kids feel superior to the nerds bringing down their self-esteem.
Cyber bullying is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic forms of contact. There is a physical detachment in cyber bullying, this is why most people are bold enough to troll behind a screen. Most of the cyber bullies are insecure people who don’t have the confidence to say it out loud and sometimes use fake names or accounts to avoid confrontation in reality.
Nearly 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. Close to 43% of kids have been bullied online, allowing 1 in 4 incidents to happen more than once. 61% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person and 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have simply ignored it. Research has shown girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
Only 1 in 10 victims will end up informing a parent or trusted adult of their abuse. Most people don’t mention the fact that they are being bullied, but will try to let you see that something is wrong. In the story above, the parents are an example of someone who could’ve made a difference in her life.
Two years of being bullied can change one’s outlook on life. The cycle of socialization starts from the family, school, and peers. One’s botched experience in school and peers can ruin their confidence and ability to trust. After experiencing a traumatic series of events at her old school, how will the girl in the story above react now? It’s likely that she can decide to be mean in order to build up a wall against others, in order to protect herself. In the end, she will become someone she isn’t because of her past.
The importance of this article is to show that despite all that happened in one’s past, the future is in your hands. No one else will mould it for you, everyone is busy trying to mould their own. Let go of the past and look towards the future you plan out.
This doesn’t just relate to bullying, it relates to everyone going through anything that feels too much to handle.
We are better than what our past made of us,
We are better than what our past expected us to become,
We are better than who we thought we’d become then.
WE ARE BETTER THAN THEM
WE ARE BETTER NOW.
YOU ARE BETTER, DON’T YOU FORGET THAT.
By: Ogungbade Adebukola S.|Creative Writer