By Yetunde AREBI
Sexual harassment is no longer a myth in our society. From the offices to schools and even social andÂ religious places, it is the same story. Often times, victims only end up being victimised again as they end up being blamed They must have done something to warrant such harassment.
What could this be? How does one shake off a sexual harassment? What happens after an harassment has successfully taken place? With these questions in mind, we asked a few respondents who all claimed to have fallen victims of sexual harassment, how it happened and what they did afterwards.
As usual, we are expecting you to send in your contributions on this issue. We will also be glad if you can share a true life experience of you or someone you know along with your contribution. Our mailing addresses remain: The Human Angle, Vanguard, P.M.B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos. Or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan,22,an undergraduate, tells a vivid story of sexual harassment of students by lectures in one of the nationâ€™s institutions of higher learning with a personal experience. Happy reading!
It happened in my first year in the university. After sitting for the matriculation examination for two consecutive years without obtaining the required cut off points for admission, I had persuaded my father into allowing me seek admission via the part time programme. It was going to be expensive, but once qualified, all you need is your money.
And so, when I actually got admitted, I was very happy. The part time programme is actually meant for the working class students, or older students who had other things preâ€“occupying their time. So, you can see how conspicuous the few very young ones in the class would be. And that I think, contributed to the problem that I finally landed into.
Among our group of lecturers is a man whom students derogatorily referred to as Moses. Not because he is a very religious man, but because he pretends to be and wants people to believe that he is. He tries his best to display an attitude of someone above board, but in actual fact, is one of the lowest scums you can come across.
Half of his lecture hours are spent discussing politics and abusing government. He pretends to be a comrade or a crusader of a good course, but in actual fact is a mere opportunist waiting for the kill. He tries to instill fear into his students by yelling at them, speaking very rudely to most of us, including the elderly men and married women. He tells people how difficult it is to pass his examinations, and vows to make them account for any grades they eventually leave the university with.
Experience has however shown that he hardly knows the courses he teaches, and so covers up with threats and abuses.
Moses has one weak point known to all his students, he loves money. In that first semester, he was the only lecturer that sold handouts and a book to students, of course, the two were outrageously expensive for a course of just two units.
For some of the working class students who appeared a bit comfortable, we were told that he even sold it at a more higher price. But very few of us could challenge him, and the few who did, got the results at the end of the year. They had automatic Carry Overs. They have sworn to deal with him when the right time comes.
Moses, as I said, is so called because of his zealousness at pursuing matters relating to his religion. He is the only lecturer actively involved in the studentsâ€™ religious group and rumour has it that he is involved because of the free flow of unaccounted funds available. It is even alleged that he has once embezzled some money from the society.
He loves to condemn people who he believes are below his acceptable moral code level. He is the only lecturer that criticises peopleâ€™s mode of dressing. He may take about fifteen minutes to lecture us on how he is not impressed by studentsâ€™ dresses and how they cannot catch his attention in any way.
He tells us his wife is a lecturer also and sheâ€™s very beautiful, in fact, more beautiful than any female in the class. Therefore, he is not interested in sleeping with anyone of us, and that our beauty, or revealing clothes cannot get us any marks from him. Many of us have however discovered all his ranting to be false, a cover up for who he really is.
We are also aware that a lot of his colleagues have gotten wise to his tricks and treat him with disdain. Only he doesnâ€™t seem to realise it, because he still goes around the campus thinking he is highly respected just because people are forced to greet him when they see him.
It all started shortly after we began taking his course. He would go on and on about our dressing, picking some of us out of the crowd. I was his first casualty, nothing I did seems to please him. One day he told me to see him after the end of the lecture in his office. He said he wanted to ask me a few things and advise me on how to go about life. It was a big lie.
At his office, heâ€™d also asked some other girls to see him, we were about five, but he saw us one after the other. Nobody knew what he said to the other person, but when I stepped inside, he began to ask me questions about my family life. I was afraid of him because of the things he used to say in class, so I did not want to tell him any lies. He moved from there to ask me about my boyfriend and what he did for a living if he is not a student.
I told hm I did not have any, but when he began to raise his voice again, I confessed thatÂ I have but he lives in America. He told me I must have a lot of money since he would be sending me some from time to time. He concluded that I must be getting the clothes I wear or money to buy them from what my boyfriend sends to me.
To close the topic that day, he told me he liked me because I am a truthful and respectful girl who takes to correction. That he would like to assist me graduate out of the university in flying colours if only we could remain friends and I will do as told.
I thanked him and left his office. Many of my friends and those who were interested in what he had to say to me in privacy were on hand to ask how our session went.
When I told them, leaving out the part about my boyfriend and his other insults, they told me to be careful as the man might probably not be what he wants students to think he is.
In my heart, I already knew it was a matter of time before he would really bear his fangs.