FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT AMONG UNDERGRADUATES
Background of the study
The issue of sexual harassment has been addressed in the realm of violence against women. Violence against women is a universal, historical and common phenomenon. Studies conducted across the globe have revealed that violence against women is the most common and widely spread problem faced by women and girl in all culture. Thus it transcends income, class, race and ethnicity. Such violence relegates millions of women and girls to the margin of society where their rights and safety are denied.
Female students in Nigeria colleges and universities have unique experiences of sexual harassment from male faculty, staff, and peers. Though sexual harassment is a global concept that affects virtually women of all races, ages, and colors Nigerian women experience more elusive types of harassment. In other countries or cultures, sexual harassment is a behavior that is generally unacceptable in any public setting. Nigerian society does not accept the concept of harassment and so does not perceive harassment as evil or a violation of women’s right. In some State for instance, sexual harassment was indirectly legitimized by teaching and nonteaching staff.
According to the 2013 United Nations global review of available data (UN), 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner violence (UN, 2013). The same study has revealed that some national violence studies shows that 70 percent women have experienced violence in their life time. In similar fashion the world health organization (WHO) studies has confirmed that violence against women, affects more than one third of all women globally (WHO, 2013). The absence of a minimum age for sexual consent and marriage exposes children to partner violence in some countries. Globally, at least one in three women and girls have been beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. Violence against women expressed in multifarious sort; from psychological intimidation and coercion to severe physical violence. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community: including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educationalinstitutions and elsewhere, trafficking in Women, and forced prostitution. Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State wherever it occurs. Despite a number of international legal interventions, violence against women remained to be achallenge for the realization of women’s human rights (Elegbeleye, 2016).
Sexual harassment is the most common form of sexual victimization. In spite of the importance of this topic in the social context we live in, Sexual harassment is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. The menace of sexual harassment has become widespread in recent years. It has also assumed different natures from place to place. Sexual harassment is any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual threat. Sexual contact includes (but is not limited to) unwelcome sexual behavior like kissing, and/or intentional touching of another person’s sexually sensitive parts (breasts, buttocks, genital area, groin or inner thigh, or the clothing covering these areas), and any other unwelcome sexual behavior (Adedokun, (2014)..
Some number of factors that are responsible for female students being sexually harassed by male lecturers. These 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, poverty, indecent dressing, immaturity, cheapness, cohabitation, abuse of power, and suffering from demonology. Previous studies among students of Nigerian tertiary institutions have reported cases of sexual harassment. It was found out that close to one half of the subjects had been victims of sexual harassment and 67.9 percent of the subjects thought that harassment on campus was a serious problem occurring at a rate sufficient to warrant some concern and official action. Some report show the cases of sexual harassment that exist among tertiary institutions students. The study noted that a female undergraduate student was harassed in one of the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Most sexual harassment in higher institution revolve around a combination of factors: individuals who are predisposed to reacting physically when confronted with the need to discipline oneself, environmental circumstances within their school system, social isolation and neglect among students, lack of support from other students and lack of social and economic power. Emotional immaturity is considered to be the greatest cause of destructive behavior Abati (2016). The students are unable to cope, because of immaturity, situations and stress that occur generally throughout society. The males are more demonstrative. A male student may use the advantage of being more intelligent than his female course-mate to make sexual advances to her before helping her out of an academic problem. More so, use of campus gang and secret cults has been known to serve as instruments of sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions (Abati, 2016).
However, it will be naive for anybody to believe that it is only males who harass females. Accusing fingers pointing at males do not exonerate the females from this societal malaise. The only reason why it may not be easily discerned that a female is actually harassing a male is that females are more subtle in their approach. Females also harass men by their indecent way of dressing. Some female students sexually harass their male lecturers. They do not attend lectures, preferring to consult with the lecturers privately. They know the power they possess and they exploit this to the fullest. They flaunt themselves and taunt the lecturers into sacrificing their conscience and integrity on the altar of immorality. It may sound absurd that females can sexually harass fellow females, but it does happen. The case of lesbians is rampant in higher institutions. The incidences of lesbians are usually tied to the wrong moral upbringing of the girls but it is a form of sexual harassment. It does not necessarily begin in adulthood; it may begin as early as middle childhood. Hardly a day passes in Nigeria today without stories and reports of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions in Nigerian newspapers.
According Abati (2016) sexual harassment as a phenomenon affecting the wellbeing of members of an organization came to be recognized in the 1970s. While it was mainly associated with situations in a traditional workplace, incidents constituting sexual harassment in structures that feature more mixed organizational relationships also came to be highlighted. One such structure is the educational institutions. Sexual harassment in a university setting worldwide is quite pervasive. It is on this backdrop the study assess factors responsible for sexual harassment among undergraduates in Ekiti State University.
Statement of the Problem
Sexual harassment has posed a tremendous challenge to Nigeria students and this problem has affected their effectiveness in their various academic fields.
The problem of sexual harassment among students from Ekiti State University ranged from stress related symptoms such as loss of memory to self blame, lack of trust and concentration in class. Changes in the lifestyles of the victims include non-attendance of classes as well as cancellation of courses. The types of sexual harassment and the forms as well are extremely widespread at universities and everywhere in the community. Sexual harassment can be devastating and most sexual harassments have nothing to do with flirtation or sincere sexual or social interest. Rather it is offensive, often frightening and insulting to women. Women are often forced to leave universities to avoid sexual harassment and some individuals might experience serious psychological, social, educational and emotional –related problems. Sexual harassment does not happen because women dress provocatively or initiate sexual activity in the hope of getting promoted or advancing their careers. Victims of sexual harassment vary in physical appearance, type of dress and behaviour. Female students who are sexually harassed by their male classmates, do not finish their work because they will be pestering around. Sexual harassment makes universities a dangerous place to be for female students.
Another problem is the effect of sexual harassment on academic performance which the female students suffers. The female students find it very hard to concentrate on their work. Some even lose interest in studying and transfer to new universities or simply leave school as a result of hopelessness and pregnancy if they had unsafe sex with their perpetrators. Cementing these experiences is Astin’s theory of student involvement, which states that sexually harassed students may display avoidance behaviour which includes the environment that promotes such behavior. Based on the above problem, the students would provide solution to the research question of this study
The following research questions were raised;
- What are factors responsible for sexual harassment In Ekiti State University.
- What is the effect of sexual harassment among the male and female undergraduate students in the tertiary institutions in Ekiti State?
- What is the level of sexual harassment among undergraduate students in the different tertiary institutions in Ekiti State?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to assess factors responsible for sexual harassment among undergraduates in Ekiti State University. Specific the purpose is to:
- To examine the prevalence of sexual harassment in Ekiti state university?
- To investigate gender differences in sexual harassment among tertiary institution students in Ekiti State?
- To examine the difference in the sexual harassment experienced by undergraduate students in Ekiti state university?
- To find out the extent of sexual harassment experienced by male to female students, male to male student, female to female, male lecturer to female student and female student to male lecturer in Ekiti state university
- To provide possible solution to the cause of sexual harassment in tertiary institution?
- There is no significant relationship between female student and sexual harassment.
- There is no significant relationship between male students and sexual
- There is no significant relationship between indecent dressing and sexual harassment.
- There is no significant relationship between poverty and sex harassment.
Significance of the Study
It was hoped that the study would enable policy makers to create or improve policy initiatives that protect the rights of female student in Ekiti State University. Also, through this study, higher education institutions in the continent of African especially in Nigeria may establish prevention and intervention programs that would address the needs of the female student’s victims as well as protect them from future attacks.
The study would enable the students to know factors responsible for sexual harassment and how to prevent it. It would also educate students why they should dress well in order to avoid sexual harassment.
The study would serve as a guide to students who may want to carryout research on similar topic. Finally, the study would add to existing literature and serve as reference material for other researchers.
Delimitation of the Study
The research will be delimited to assessment of the factors responsible for sexual harassment among undergraduates in Ekiti State University. The study will also be delimited to Sandwich Students and Student in Faculty of Education running full time Programme.
Definition of Terms
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined in this study as unwelcomed sexually determined behavior, physical contact and advances, sexually-colored remarks, showing of pornography and sexual demands.
Perception: Perception is the representation of an external event that affect the senses and which by perceptual processing caused the activation of a certain category in the mind.
Educational Experience: Educational experience in this study is measured by equity in the involvement of academic and social learning as well as in sharing institution’s available resources.
Gender: Gender refers to the socially constructed role ascribed to males and females (as opposed to sex, which denotes the biological distinction between males and females).
Involvement is defined in this study as the physical and psychological energy women invested to academics and extracurricular activities, integrating within the University community and the amount of time spent on tasks and within campus environment.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter presents the review of literature under the following sub-headings;
- Concept of Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment on University Campuses
- Forms of Sexual Harassment
- Types of Sexual Harassment in the University
- Factors responsible for Sexual Violence
- The Effects of Sexual Harassment
- Gender and Power Differences in the issue of Sexual Harassment
- Victims of Sexual Harassment
- Perpetrators of Sexual Harassment
- Sexuality and Masculinity
- Normalisation of Violence
- Reporting Sexual Harassment
- Risk factors for Sexual Harassment
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