By Rotimi Bello
Sexual harassment against women is as old as humanity. It is instituted or perpetrated by men in vantage positions against women in many instances. A lot of men are brutes and sometimes often lost their thinking faculty and composure when they see women or ladies. So, sexual harassment against women is a global phenomenon that is becoming rampant in all nooks and crannies of the world.
It is bereft of social classes or ranking; it happens in all strata of life. Even the so called men of God are not exempted from the temptation of sexual harassment. Many men of God lose their coveted position to their inability to control their “third leg” manhood against unholy sexual advances towards womenfolk.
A former US president (Donald Trump) was enmeshed in sexual harassment charges by many women prior to his emergence as the US president. Similarly, Bill Clinton the former US president almost lost his presidency to the sexual escapade with Monica Lewinsky which was blown open and unleashed to the public by a third party, even against the wishes of the two adult involved.
One of the worst countries with sexual harassment is Afghanistan; not only that women are being harassed frequently but are also raped almost on regular basis by highly placed individuals both within the government spheres and community axis. Therefore, it is called the world’s most dangerous place for women.
India is another dangerous place where women and children honour are often downgraded with impunity. To forestall recurrent instances of women and female children harassment and violation which India has become notorious for in the comity of nations, Indian Government in collaboration with its Police Authority has resorted to self-help by instituting self-defense training taekwondo programme for women to defend themselves from rapists and assailants.
I thought that the nasty experience of an OAU lecturer (Prof. Richard Iyiola Akindele) imprisoned as a result of provable allegation of sex-for-mark escapade would serve as a lesson to other randy lecturers, but surprisingly it has not. It amazes me to read from the online newspapers (Blueprint and Sahara Reporters respectively) that another professor from Ambrose Alli University was suspended for sex-for-mark related offence not quite long. Similarly, a university lecturer in Ekiti State University (EKSU) was caught in the act with a female student and the video was seen trending on social media and internet for sometimes.
The recent judgement of sacking and outright termination of the appointment of Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Language and Integrated Studies and Dr Samuel Oladipo of the Department of Economics by the University of Lagos management is eulogized by well-meaning Nigerians in all walk of life. The two lecturers were investigated in sex-for-grades documentary reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) two years ago.
The university management’s verdict should serve as a deterrent to other randy lecturers to desist from this evil act or else the long hand of the law will soon catch up with them. There should be no mercy for these “animals in human skin” as rightly sang by Fela Anikulapo Kuti
This recent exposure shows that our ivory towers are riddled with sex-for-mark corruption. This means that many public universities lecturers are indulging in this sexcapade. Obviously, there are lot of them out there who take advantage of the meekness of girls and ladies to violate their honour against their wishes.
If politicians are being accused of corruption and stealing of public money to glaze their life and self-ego, then sexual harassment perpetrated against students in whatever form by lecturers is not only against the ethics of the profession, but a grand moral corruption that destroys the carrier of many young women who refuse to surrender their womanhood to sex maniac opportunists.
While corrupt politicians could be accused of plundering the wealth of the nations, lecturers or teachers who indulge in sexual harassment are corrupting the societal fabrics by making unholy advances to sleep with their students for free marks. Sexual corruption is worse than financial corruption because most victims have been perpetually imprisoned in the bunker of their heart by the assailant for as long as they live.
All over the world, women are asserting their freedom by openly reporting sexual assault and harassment. This culminated in the institutionalization of #MeToo hashtag that is gaining momentum in every nook and cranny of the world. This is to say that girls and women should be bold enough to speak up by challenging the perpetrator and never hesitate to inform third party at the inception of this nefarious activity.
Like the Obafemi Awolowo University (anti-sexual harassment policy), other tertiary institutions across the country should put mechanism in place to checkmate philandering in our ivory towers. Female students and women should be encouraged and supported to resist attendant intimidation by reporting to the designated credible unbiased authorities that will investigate the allegation. Women are the future of the world; without them humanity will face extinction like the flora and fauna of Siberia
Sensitization seminars should be organized by the university community, championed by sexperts, to enlighten and educate the undergraduate girls of their fundamental rights as students.
Sexual Ethics Committee (SEC) should be established by all higher institutions to monitor the cases of sexual harassment and intimidation on the campus. Marking scheme should be prepared for all examinations which must be submitted to Head of Department (HOD) immediately after the paper is written. In the case of suspected harassment, students should be encouraged to call for their paper to be remarked.
Everything humanly possible should be done to protect the sanctity of girls in the custody of other randy lecturers.
Historically, men could equally be object of sexual harassment and disdain in the hands of sexpots ever ready to exchange sex-for-mark. Joseph in the Bible was sexually harassed by the Potiphar’s wife in the book of Genesis. Joseph’s resistance of Potiphar’s wife attempted seduction made the woman furious and she in turn accused him of rape that landed him in prison.
To forestall harassment from girls who may intentional flaunt their bodies to torment lecturers, dressing code should be strictly designed and adhered to by the higher institutions and departments across the country.
Finally, anti-sexual harassment policy should be applicable to men to protect them from wild sex kitten on the prowl on our campuses.
Rotimi S. BELLO wrote this piece from Abuja via email@example.com