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Former students at Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidhyalaya recall sexual abuse by the school’s teachers

  • “I used to go to him for tutoring. He would kiss me on my lips and touch my breasts.”
- The Kathmandu Post Editors, Kathmandu

Feb 5, 2019-

 

Following an investigation by the Post on decades of sexual abuse by a Maths teacher at Lalitpur Madhyamik Vidhyalaya, dozens of former students have reached out with stories of molestation by other teachers. The following testimonials are from former students, currently living in Nepal and abroad, collected by an alumni group. According to one of the former students, the testimonials will be handed over to the Forum for Women, Law and Development, and Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN) to explore legal options. The testimonials have been edited for grammar and clarity.

The teacher asked me to kiss him. The specific words he said were: “eat this chocolate and I will kiss you to get it in my mouth, why are you so shy,” and randomly touched and caressed my back and tried to touch my breasts. Also, on the pretext of rewarding me for my good performance, he asked my parents for permission to take me out to buy gifts. I knew something was fishy but did not dare speak, and with permission from my parents, I went out with him. He bought me some stationery and later said I could also buy bras and undergarments and that he would pay for it. He insisted on sitting at the back seat of his car with me on our drive back home and tried to caress me. In the classroom too, he would to stare at girls and ask them to write on the blackboard so that he could comfortably stare at their backside. Boys in the class were never asked to do this. All the girls knew not to go to his office if he called them there. I also have heard him making suggestive remarks to female teachers especially the newly-married pregnant ones.

 

He used to teach us English Grammar. He would come to the classroom and sit next to me. I used to try my best to always find a corner seat to avoid him. However, when he would get to sit beside me, he would insert his hands inside my tunic and rub his hands against my thighs. It was uncomfortable; one time he started to move his hands upwards to my genitals. I remember always crossing my legs and sitting in that position until the class was over and he would move away.

 

I used to go to him for tutoring. He would kiss me on my lips and touch my breasts. I was a child so I couldn’t really do much to stop him. He would sneak his hands inside my shirt and fondle my breasts and pinch them.

 

I was in grade 4 and had just transferred from another school. I didn’t have many friends at the beginning of the year so I was too scared to tell anyone when Basu put his hands under my tunic. Also, I have also seen Basu put his hands on other girls’ tunic while we would stand in a queue to get our homework or classwork checked. He was also one of the strict teachers and  nobody dared confront him about his misbehaviour. Back then I wasn’t sure how to react or didn’t know what was going on. Well, most parents in Nepal don’t teach their children about ‘good’ touch and ‘bad’ when it comes to teacher-student relationships because they trust the school education system completely. They wouldn’t expect that there are teachers like Basu.

 

During classes, he would sit next to a girl student, move his hands inside her tunic and touch her thighs and nether regions. He would also hug her with his arms around her neck and hands on her boobs. It was all very uncomfortable.

 

He used to put his hands inside our skirt to touch our chest and fondle. On the pretext of checking our lunch money, his hands would its make way inside our tunic and onto our breast pockets. He would touch our breasts and I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

 

I was a new student in grade 4. He was our class teacher and taught us mathematics. He used to sit beside me and keep his hands on my thighs and would slowly move them upwards. Also, he would hold my hands while teaching or correcting my mistakes.

 

Basu would ask a student to go up to the blackboard to solve math problems while the others were asked to copy from the board. One time he called me out and gave me a marker but while doing so he hit me hard on my breasts with his fist. It was in a really uncomfortable position, more because I was embarrassed to be treated that way in front of the entire classroom.

 

I didn't quite understand what was happening back then. As far as I remember, he would sit beside me and put his hands under my skirt and eventually inside my underwear. I couldn't stop him because he was my teacher. The only thing I wished was for the class to end. I never wanted to be in his class.

 

I felt very bad although I really didn’t know what he was doing. But I knew that what he was doing with us girls was not right — that it was a ‘bad’ touch. However, how could a 14-year-old explain this to her teachers and parents? I couldn’t. It was really difficult for me to talk about these humiliating experiences even with my sister. This was also why I was bad at mathematics; even when I had problems understanding the problems I dared not approach Basu. However, Sitaula sir never understood these problems because his only concern was students’ grades and reputation of the school. If only he would have taken timely action against these atrocities, it would save the girls a lot of trouble. I don’t recommend anyone to study in LMV. Even the Director Principal cares only about grades and distinctions, not about the welfare of the students. This is what I and some of my friends feel about LMV. My friend once gave a speech about these issues but it fell on deaf ears. I really want Basu Tripati to be punished for what he put the girls at LMV through.

 

He would take a seat beside me on the pretext of checking my homework; he would have me sit on his lap or stand between his legs, kiss me on my lips, put his hands under my skirt and touch my thighs. Once he tried to put his hands inside my underwear but I resisted and ducked and he gave up. This to me meant that he knew very well that what he was doing was absolutely wrong. However, that didn’t stop him from continuing his misdeeds the next day with my classmates.

 

In the computer lab we had to share one device between the two of us (students). While waiting for my turn on the device, he would creep up behind me and press his penis on my back. Back then we didn't know what he was trying to do and would get scared. Now when I realise what it was, I feel like slapping him.

 

Basu Tripathi was my maths teacher. He used to give us class work to do and then sit right next to me and put his hands inside my skirt. I clearly remember a day in the library when one of my regular teachers was absent so Basu was substituting. He took the whole class to the library and I was in the corner selecting books when he squeezed my breast. It was a shock for me. After that episode, he used to touch my breasts whenever he got the chance. He used to pretend to hug me and put his hands right on my breasts. It happened several times.

 

He used to hold me tight in between his legs, pull my hair and bend me downwards and press my cheeks so that he could put his mouth inside of my mouth. He used to kiss me forcefully for a long time and would have his hands all over my body. Sometimes he would bite me on my cheeks which was painful for a little girl studying in class one. I let him do whatever he wanted in front of all my classmates and just prayed for it to end sooner everyday. Because everyone was scared, they would just ignore what he was doing and pretended to see nothing while doing their classwork. When it ended I would wipe his saliva from all over my mouth, fix my hair properly which he had ruined while pulling me and kissing me forcefully. I was just a child, maybe five or six years old when it all started. It happened in every maths class and it happened everyday for many years. He took my childhood away. As I grew up,  he also started inserting his fingers down there which was also very painful but I couldn’t scream in the classroom so I remained silent. Those memories still haunt me sometimes.

 

The first time the incident took place was when I was in grade 6. He was our new grade Maths teacher. During the break time, one of my friends who was in the other section told us how Basu sir touched her inappropriately. Later after the break time, in my first math period in that grade, I experienced a similar thing. While he was escorting me towards the whiteboard to do a maths problem, he grabbed my chest and my arm. It was really creepy. That was the first time I got molested in my life. And, it all started in school, the place which is often called a child’s second home.

 

Sir would queue up the girls to check if they have chocolates or titauras in their pockets and would use this excuse to touch girls in a bad way. I couldn’t stand it!

 

I remember I was asked to sit on his lap and he lifted my tunic. He touched my vagina and kept me on his lap for a while.

 

I was in grade 3, I think, around the year 2000. He used to put his hands inside my skirt and touch my thighs, legs and buttocks. He also used to ask us to sit on his lap and put his hands inside our skirt. All this happened in front of the whole class. Back then we didn’t realise what was happening but I have always hated him.

 

There used to be single hand chairs in our class, about a feet or two apart from each other. So each of us would sit individually. In almost every other class he would give classwork or engage other students in some activity and come sit right in front of me. He would massage my legs and slowly move his hands up towards my thighs, inner thighs, and pubic area. He would try to reach inside my underwear. No matter how hard I squeezed my legs together, he would manage to get there. Once he managed to touch me inside my underwear. I will never forget that feeling of fear and embarrassment.

 

He would also make me touch him. I remember it used to be very hot in the classroom during summer. He used to put handkerchief at the back of his neck, wipe his forehead with that handkerchief and then put it at the back of his neck behind the shirt collar. He used to tuck his shirt into his formal pants (school dress code for teachers) and I remember hoping that the handkerchief would not slip inside his shirt because then he would make me take that out. I sometimes felt like he would intentionally make it slip so he could make me touch him. He would then come sit in front of me, lean very close, and ask me to insert my hand inside his shirt collar down (from behind), find it and take it out. At times I remember saying I couldn’t find it, and he would scold me and would ask me to get it out. So I would have to run my hand on his back and find the handkerchief to get it out. I still remember the colour of his handkerchief! This happened multiple times!

 

I remember Suman K.C. touching me inappropriately during classes. He would walk around the classroom aisles checking our assignments. He sat on one of the student's seat and if it was a female student, he had her sit on his lap. He had me sit on his lap. While checking our assignments with me on his lap, he put his hands under my skirt and caressed my thighs. He also took his hands far up to my underwear and touched my butt inappropriately. This happened repeatedly to me in the 3rd grade. I noticed this happening to other students as well. I cannot recall if this happened to me in the higher grades as well. It may be likely that I may have tried to suppress other memories but I can clearly recall these incidents from the 3rd grade.

 

He use to put his hands on my shirt making me feel very uncomfortable. He was my class teacher and he make me sit where he could reach me easily. It was very uncomfortable and it did affect me greatly.

 

I asked him a question and he asked me to come up to him and started touching me inappropriately.

 

It always happened in the computer lab. He use to try to access the keyboard in front of us. He would slide his hands in-between our arms and breasts to access the keyboard to type. He would keep his hands on our boobs for a while.

 

This is from what I heard. The perpetrator allegedly held hands and rubbed the palms and assured that he was always there to help. The whole incident felt like it was filled with sleazy intentions. I am not sure if it went further than that.

 

If I ever raised a query, he would come close to me and touch me inappropriately on my thighs and back. I stopped asking questions to stop what was going on.

 

He grabbed one side of my breast after I completed the assignment on the whiteboard.

 

It happened during grade 3 or 4. I wanted to show off that I was good in maths. I went up to him with my assignment to get acknowledged. Basu slipped his hand under my tunic and started moving up. I was stunned as I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know what was happening.

 

During computer lab class, he used to stand behind us, then tactically slide his hand in between the arms touching our boobs. He used to then type on the keyboard in front of us and then place his hand on our boobs. He used to do that to many girls. Touch inappropriately at every opportunity possible.

Have you experienced sexual harassment at work or have a confidential tip you’d like to share? You can securely get in touch with The Kathmandu Post editors using our encrypted email account: kathmandupost@protonmail.com.

Read related stories:

— Tribhuvan University lecturer sexually harassed female students for years

— Why #MeToo never really took off in Nepal

— Fed up by harassment, Nepali women are going online to share their #MeToo stories

— Former Kathmandu mayor decries 'rape of men’s rights' after women accuse him of sexual harassment 

 

Published: 06-02-2019 06:30

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