The paper highlights ways of curbing the menace of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, so as to achieve quality education as provided for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It attempts to define and explain the meaning of sexual harassment and equally discuss the factors that give rise to the social virus. It notes that factors such as: ‘sorting’, ‘nearness to raw materials’, mode of dressing, culture of silence, decline in cultural and ethical values, poverty, greed, inability to suppress libido crisis, etc. are the major causes of the social canker-worm bedevilling our tertiary institutions. For its methodology, the researcher adopts the multiple factor theory of crime and other antisocial behaviours as the theoretical frame work of analysis. The paper equally gives insight into its various forms and highlights its effects on the development of qualitative tertiary education in Nigeria. Lastly, the writer made some vital recommendations which if adopted can help curb the menace of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Sexual harassment is a hydra-headed monster which has ravaged our tertiary institutions leading to lack of qualitative education and under-development. This is because it has eaten deep into the fabric of the moral, social and academic lives of these institutions. It interferes with or limits students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the educational schemes and programmes of an institution. This therefore calls for questions on the moral rectitude of all the organs of governance in our tertiary institutions; for examples, the Governing Council, the Management, the professional associations such as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP); the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Polytechnics (NASU), etc.
The principal weapon against sexual harassment is getting people with high moral standard as well as high degree of integrity. It has to do with the ability of the school authorities to admit very bright students; for example, bright female students usually study their books and would not harass or seduce their male lecturers in anticipation for sorting and other academic favours. Such unofficial and illegal relationship might expose them to exploitation by their lecturers and administrators. Equally, male lecturers, particularly, should respect themselves and desist from holding these vulnerable students to ransom. Even some female lecturers sometimes get involved and hold their very affluent and handsome students to ransom.
It is only when the right things are done that the menace of sexual harassment rocking many tertiary institutions on daily basis will come to an end. In that way, the debasing, harassing, molesting, deflowering of innocent victims for sex-for-marks by sexual predators who are only lecturers in name (they carry the label ‘lecturer’ but never in character and integrity) will greatly be minimized if not totally eliminated.
Meaning of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is more or less a global phenomenon. It is an act that deviates from accepted standards of sexual behaviour. It is common occurrence in social organizations especially work places. This social problem affects a significant number of people in our tertiary institutions today. It is a problem that is in most cases associated with unequal power relationships. It is in this context that Haralambos and Holborn (2013) posit that men back up these types of harassment with their power within the organization. According to Ogbu (2018) it is a master-servant relationship in which the lecturer has absolute control of their students.
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