PREVALENCE AND CORRELATES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF FEMALE STUDENTS BY LECTURERS IN THE TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN FCT-ABUJA
Background to the Study
The social vices called sexual harassment is not a new topic to the generality of people today especially in the tertiary institutions such as universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education. As observed by Taiwo and Omole (2014:1) ,the fact is that, “in every human society where there is interaction between opposite sex, some levels of sexual attraction is expected. When this occurs, mutual interest and reciprocal response defines a civilized and socially acceptable sexual behaviour”. However, the increasing manifestation of social vices in higher institutions in Nigeria can be attributed to the poor quality of graduates being produced. One of such is sexual harassment that has continued to attract the attention of researchers and the media as a common phenomenon in the Higher education Institutions. This abnormal, antisocial behaviour has been accepted as a norm within the higher education institutions Nigeria and overseas.
Sexual harassment is a global issue that has permeated the fabrics of higher education institutions and many workplaces as long as humans (males and females) have reasons to interact. This vices in universities and other higher education institutions is not limited to Africa. Universities in Ghana and Tanzania have already integrated sexual harassment into course modules on Gender, Power and Sex to address the challenge of male lecturers demanding sex from female students in exchange for grades as a right.
In the USA, study among psychology students revealed a higher prevalence of sexual harassment and unethical intimacy between postgraduate students and their supervisors than undergraduate students due to frequent face-to-face interaction when seeking advice on their research studies. Higher education institutions in Nigeria are not left out of this saga, for instance, it has been affirmed that, in Nigeria sex for grades in the tertiary institutions is a reality and the male lecturers in particular, perceived themselves as thin gods and such unprofessional behaviour can be perpetuated unchecked. A similar study according to Taiwo and Omole, reported a high prevalence of sexual harassment both in the education institution and in the workplace. Sexual harassment takes on various trends and nature, but most importantly, it emanates from unequal power relation that is also associated with gender based violence and violation of human rights. In most cases, the harasser is usually older, powerful and poses something of value that is beneficial to the harassed. The trend of occurrence was reported to take several forms: from male lecturer to female student, from male students to female students, from male lecturers to female lecturers and non-academic staff and so on. In most cases, female students are most at risk as victims while the male lecturers are more likely to be the perpetuators. This trend presents an amazing and disturbing scene in an environment that is often believed to be a center of excellence for molding and developing virile leadership skills, high moral qualities and intellectual capacity for human capital for future leadership.
Also,a number of factors have been enumerated as motivation for perpetuation of sexual harassment to include: lust, pursuit of happiness, lack of norm of morality, lack of conscience, pursuit of pleasure, lack of temperance, passion, habit, value, personality disorder, inferiority complex, immaturity, cheapness, abuse of power, and suffering from demonology. In addition, indecent dressing pattern among female students who almost go naked in their appearance can also be driving factors for continued incidence of sexual harassment. Many female students are so morally bankrupt that they rely absolutely on their womanhood for high grades without due preparation. Because this anomaly is has eaten deep into the fabric of our higher institutions in Nigeria, this study is set to check the prevalence in the tertiary institutions in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The institutions of focus include: University of Abuja and FCT College of Education.
Statement of Problem
The occurrence and prevalence of sexual harassment menace in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria has become a cankerworm that needs serious attention. Various researches in with similar interest have been carried out across the globe, but to the best of the researchers knowledge, no such in recent time has been done taking schools in FCT (that is University of Abuja and FCT College of Education) into consideration. That is the motivation for this study. The study is carried out to examine the prevalence of this menace among the male lecturers and female students in the University of Abuja and FCT College of Education respectively.
Aim and Objectives
The aim of this study is to check the prevalence and correlates of sexual harassment in the University of Abuja and FCT College of Education. The objectives to drive this aim are below:
- This study establishes that sexual Harassment has become a phenomenon in our tertiary institutions.
- It also establishes that the female students some times are the solicitors of the sex by their provoking and immoral dressing.
- The study establishes the consequences of sexual harassment on the academic and social life of the victims who are mostly women.
At the end of the study, the following questions would have been answered:
- To what extent has sexual harassment become a phenomenon in our tertiary institutions?
- Are the female students the solicitors of sex?
- What are the consequences on the academic and social life of the victims?
Scope of the Study and the Limitation
This study is a check on the prevalence and correlates of sexual harassment by male lecturers on the female students in the tertiary institutions. The students of interest here are undergraduates. It therefore covers only University of Abuja FCT College of Education. The major challenge of this study is the inability of the researcher to reach out to the actual victims of this menace for their fear of what may happen after admitting they were once sexually harassed. In other words, they fear that the research report may not be as confidential as the researcher claims and this may not favour them because it could lead to further intimidation by the supposed lecturer (s).
Significance of Study
This study is designed to determine how academic field impacted the perceived sexual harassment experienced by female undergraduates in the FCT College of Education and University of Abuja. It will check and curtail the manace of sexual harassment which has psychological effects on the victims and consequently affects their academic and social life on campus. It is also the hope of this study to enable policy makers to create or improve policy initiatives that protect the rights of female students in the target institutions and Nigeria at large.
A Brief Profile of University of Abuja
The University of Abuja was established in January 1988 and academic work began 1990 with the matriculation of the pioneer students. Its establishement was informed by the imperative to provide an institution of higher leaning with in Abuja,the new Federal Capital Territory whose objectives will be in line with the ideals that informed the conception of the city by the federal government. The university’s national outlook means it will also makes its services accessible to other states of the federation. It was established with the dual mode to providing the regular or professional academic programme and distance learning. The university at the moment has eight faculties which include: faculty of agriculture, Arts, Management Science, Social Science, Vetinary Medicine, Law, Engineering and Science.
A Brief Profile of FCT College of Education
The college was established in 1996 with temporary site at the defunct teachers college. The purpose for the establishment was to provide qualitative teachers education geared towards meeting the present challenges facing the Nigerian educational system especially in the area of training teachers in the science and Nigerian languages to teach at the primary schools.