.sexual harassment

A Lagos-based rights campaigner, Mr Spurgeon Ataene, has described as perennial, incidences of sexual harassment in places of work and institutions of learning.

Ataene disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.

He called for effective approach to combat the menace.

Ataene said that sexual harassment was one of the major factors debilitating performances in work places, schools, colleges and even the legal profession.

He noted that the ugly trend persisted due to the fact that society lacked adequate and effective deterrence to deal with it, despite codified legislation.

“Society does not have enough deterrence to incidences of sexual harassment and one of the reasons is that there is the fear of losing jobs or offending a boss in the work place; thus, appointments into sensitive jobs becomes a bait for such corrupt practices.

“The criminal laws of the different states of the federation has adequate provisions for such offenders and recidivists, but the problem is the courageous application of these laws without minding whose ox is gored.

“Teachers or lecturers in higher institutions of learning take advantage of the opposite sex to award marks indiscriminately and this explains why a first class student graduates, and remains incongruous in job placement.

“In the legal profession, some heads of law firms as well as some heads of the judiciary see their positions as an enticing opportunity to swim in these waters.

“Our society is also replete with such willing demands from the opposite sex,” he said.

Speaking on the way out, Ataene identified self control and discipline as the first step in tackling the menace.

“What is required of people in positions of authority is an undiluted self discipline to avoid this trap.

“In politics, schools and all work places, there should be a standard regulation that you cannot visit your opposite gender without a disciplined chaperone; at least, this can reduce the incidence of sexual harassment.

“Also, in schools, no matter the grade level, every student must be decently dressed to avoid unnecessary exposure of the sensuous part of the body,” he said

Ataene also stressed the need for adequate implementation and application of the laws in place to check the growing menace of sexual harassment in society.

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