On no sex, no grades

It is appalling, grotesque and abominable how some vile, unscrupulous and shameless lecturers in West African universities demand for intercourse with helpless, struggling and desperate female students in exchange for good grades. How pathetic!

This issue is alarming and needs urgent and rigorous intervention. Female students are not sex objects or sex slaves. Like their male counterparts, they are in school to learn, study, acquire knowledge and pass their examinations. They shouldn’t have to sleep with anyone to pass their examinations or get good grades. They should be solely graded based on their academic performance. Sadly, some so-called lecturers don’t think so. They use their positions and power to abuse and exploit students; to sexually harass female students.

We all need to rise up and say “No! Enough is enough!!” We all need to struggle to put an end to this abhorrence. Offenders need to be severely castigated. Whosoever is caught should be discharged and prosecuted. No one should get off scot-free. It is always a frightening condition for female students in university, due to the fact that lecturers have a tendency of sexually harassing female students.

Lecturers need to be placed under close surveillance. They shouldn’t be left freely. They should be investigated from time to time. It might seem like this issue of sexual harassment is not happening in some universities, but as a matter of fact it is happening. It is just that the victims are not speaking out because they are scared; scared of incredulity and embarrassment or not getting what they want. They are afraid that people will not believe them when they report the incident because of the ‘good image’ that the lecturers present of themselves. As such, they will be embarrassed and will not get the good grades.

Serious measures ought to be taken to tackle this issue. For the past year, BBC Africa Eye has been secretly investigating sexual harassment by lecturers at West Africa’s most prestigious universities and such investigation was quite productive as some lecturers were successfully caught red-handed.

BBC Africa Eye sent female undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University  of Ghana. These reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing spy cameras. This was how such lecturers were fortunately caught. Recently, BBC Africa Eye released a documentary containing such incidents.

This doesn’t mean that sexual harassment only occurs in the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana. It also occurs in other universities which can be discovered if such investigations are also conducted in the universities.

Female students who are sexually harassed should be made to feel safe and secure to report such incident by providing the proper channel for them to do so through. When they report such incident, they shouldn’t be outrightly ignored or disbelieved. They should be attended to and considered. Their story should be investigated for its authenticity. Traps should be set for the alleged and suspected offenders. When caught red-handed, such lecturers should be discharged, arrested and prosecuted, preferably, put away, regardless of their position or power. They shouldn’t get off scot-free.

Sexual harassment of female students by lecturers will not stop if such measures are not taken to tackle such issue. We need to consistently protest over this until necessary actions are taken to address the issue. Let us make the university a safe place for students, both male and female, to live and study freely without fear, tension or inconvenience, especially caused by lecturers.

Abubakar Ibrahim Sheme

Department of Mass Communication,

Bayero University Kano

[email protected]

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