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.Â Her story continues today. Happy reading!
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. He had already voiced his interest, and it was left to me to take the bait or not. But how could I not do that if I wanted to pass his course.
I was afraid he would fail me if I turned him down. I would have no one to report him to because I have no witness to corroborate any story I tell. Besides, we are told that most of the lecturers who engage in this dastardly act operate a cartel of sort. All they need to do is ask a colleague to fail one in order to take the blame or suspicion off their shoulders.
It is that friend that will now inform you of your sins and what you have to do for atonement. It is a no win case whichever way one looks at it.
So, I tried to stay out of his view for some time, avoiding eye contact with him in class and ensuring that our paths do not cross outside the class. When he comes to class and announces that I see him, I will not, only to inform him much later that I did, but he was not in the office. When he sends anyone to me, I will either plead with the person to tell him that he did not see me, or lie that I was needed by another lecturer.
It did not take him too long to figure out that I had found him out and was trying to outsmart him. He told me this straight away and that I would be courting trouble for myself, also, that there will be no one to save me from his clutches if he should get angry with me. He asked if I am a virgin, and wondered why I was behaving as if Iâ€™d never done it before.
He said he wanted to treat me with tender care before, because he really liked me, but that now that Iâ€™d annoyed him, he saw no reason to do so anymore. He then ordered me to see him the next day as he had something very important to show me.
I knew the time had come and could not tell anyone what was happening, and was about to happen again.
I kept the appointment and got to his office at the stipulated time. I was surprised that he did not seem too pleased to see or even talk to me.
I was initially happy that it implied that he would not have time for me. But I was wrong, Without looking up from the script he was marking, he asked if I knew my way around the area very well. I said yes. I had assumed he would send me on an errand, but he took a piece of paper,Â wrote out an address and asked me to go and wait for him at the place. I was stunned and stood looking at the paper for a few minutes.
Then he looked up and what I saw in his eyes really made me scared. He asked in a very gruff voice if I had any problems with what heâ€™d said. 1 told him no and walked out of the office.
To get to the area, I would need about N60 by bus and he had not even bothered to give me any money for transport fare. I saw a few friends on my way out, but I could not bring myself to tell them what was happening. When I got to the address, I discovered that it was a guest house of sort, not a real hotel but like a small club house. I think it is used by himself and a few friends for special duties as this. After identifying myself to the attendant, giving him the name of my lecturer, he showed me into a room where I was to wait and later came with a bottle of soft drink.
I canâ€™t remember how long I had to wait before he finally showed up. I was already mad with anger, madder still because I could not tell him for fear of him changing his mind and deciding to deal with me instead. He was apologetic and did not look as hard as he had earlier on.
He told me he was held up at the Registrarâ€™s office. And to my surprise, he just flung his heavy body on the bed and asked me to join him. When I appeared reluctant, he asked amid laughter what was wrong with me and what I expected that we were coming there to do.
Several things began to race through my mind, what could I say that would discourage him? What if I have to cry, would he have pity on me? Should I threaten him? If so, with what? I couldnâ€™t figure out anything, so I began to weep. As soon as the first few hiccups sounded, he just told me to forget about it as my tears would not change the situation. I should just respect myself and get it over with.
He even told me that I should pray that he should not enjoy it, as that is the only way he would not come at me again. And so, that was how Moses, a self acclaimed religious zealot, social critic, and advocate of accountability and good governance, had his way with me.
I laid there like a log, and he kept hissing and jerking at my legs, instructing that I should move along with him. I just continued crying and remained as stiff as I could muster the energy. The man was not only dirty in character, he was dirty physically.