STUDY OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AMONG UNDERGRADUATE FEMALE STUDENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA
TABLE OF CONTENT
Background of the study
Purpose of the study
Significance of the study
Limitation of the study
Definition of terms
Review of related literature
Research design and methodology
Population of the study
Instrument for data collection
Validation of data collection
Method of data collection
Method of data analysis
Presentation and discussion of result
Summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
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. Previous studies on this subject have provided various definitions of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated sexual overture from a person to elicit unwanted sexual relations from another person Aluede, (2000). This includes any inappropriate sexual overture, subtle and unsubtle persistent behaviour, assault and actual sexual abuse that may be expressed physically, verbally or non-verbally, usually from someone with a higher power or at a vantage position to less a privileged person. Sexua lharassment in schools has also been described as an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that makes you feel uncomfortable, fearful or powerless, and interferes with your schoolwork Scheffer, (2000).
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. Sexual harassment in universities and other higher education institutions is not limited to Africa Morley and Lussier (2009). As a global challenge, sexual harassment deserves to be mainstreamed into academic curriculum, particularly for reducing vulnerability among students and increasing access to restorative care of victims. 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.
A study among psychology students in the US 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 Glaser and Thorpe (1986). 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 Gaba and Imonikhe (2012). A similar study Adetunji (2008) 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 Schuffer, (2000).
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 American Associaotn of Univeristy Women. (2006). 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.
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 Ogunbameru (2006). 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.
Sexual harassment is a serious problem for all student at all educational levels. Students in elementary and secondary schools as well as vocational schools, apprenticeship programmes, colleges and universities can be victims of sexual harassment. This problem is more common than you might think because many students are scared or too embarrassed to report sexual harassment. Harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment also include, intimidation, bullying or coercion of a sexual nature or the unwelcome or inappropriate promises of rewards in exchange for sexual favours. In most modem legal contexts, sexual harassment is illegal.
Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both victims and the harasser can either be a woman or a man, and the victim and the harasser can also be of the same se. although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victims being fired or demoted).
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a coworker or someone who is not an employee of the employer such as client or customer, it includes a range of behavior from seemingly mind (dubious discuss) transgressions and annoyances to actual sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment discrimination in many countries and is a form of abuse (sexual and psychological) and bullying for many businesses and other organization, preventing sexual harassment and defending employees from sexual harassment charges, have become key goals of legal decision-making.
Effects of sexual harassment can vary depending on the individual, and severity and duration of the harassment, often, sexual harassment incidents fall into the category of the “merely annoying”. However, many situations can and do have life altering effects particularly when they involve severe/chronic abuses and or retaliation against a victim who complains about it openly. Indeed psychologists and social workers report that severe/chronic sexual harassment can have the same psychological effects as rape or sexual assault. (Koss, 1987). For example in 1995, Judith Coflin committed suicide after chronic sexual harassment by her boss and co-workers.
Moreover, every year, sexual harassment cost hundreds of millions of dollars is lost educationally and professionally, mostly for girls and women (Boland, 2002) However, the quantity of men implied in these conflicts is significant. Sexual harassment has reduced many students ability to participate in extracurricular activities or attend classes.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Sexual harassment has posed a tremendous challenge to African women both in the workplace and educational setting, and this problem has affected their effectiveness in their various academic fields. Literature reports that sexual harassment has impacted women’s self esteem as well as their academic, social, and psychological wellbeing (Ladebo, 2003; Mashingaidze 2006; Popovich, 1988). The awareness of the impact of sexual harassment on women’s existence has led to multiple approaches in the definition of sexual harassment across culture, ethnicity, race, and settings.
Sexual harassment has been a challenge in all levels of education and across all academic fields in Africa. Rossetti (2001) indicated that in Botswana 68% of the sexual harassment experienced by girls in the secondary schools happened in their junior year, 18% in senior years and 14% in primary schools years. Leach, Machakanja, and Mandoga (2000) found that in a coeducation school in Zimbabwe 47% of girls experienced sexual harassment from male teachers and students. Daily Champion (2007) reported that 5.7% of girls in Nigerian primary schools and
20% of girls in secondary schools have experienced sexual harassment. Leach et al. (2003) also found that 27% of girls in junior secondary schools in Ghana have experienced forced sex and over 50% have also been sexually harassed. Human Rights Watch Report (2001) also states that thousands of thousands of girls in schools across South Africa encounter sexual violence and harassment.
Across Africa as well, teachers have been accused of making sexual demands in exchange for good grades (Human Rights Watch Report, 200 1 ; Nwaogwugwu, 2007). Research studies on different institutions of higher learning in many African countries have revealed the trends and nature of sexual harassment experienced by women students. These include degrading verbal remarks, unwanted touching, and other types of gender-based violence (Adedokun, 2004; Abati, 2006; Ejiogu & Onyene, 2006). High proportions of female students in colleges and universities across the continent of Africa have experienced sexual harassment from male faculty, staff and students. Banyu (2003) found that 37.7% of women students in a university in Tanzania have been sexually harassed by male faculty members. Haruhanga (2006) reported that 42% of women in Makerere University in Uganda have been sexually harassed by male faculty and peers. Human Rights Watch (2001) also indicated that one in four female students at the University of Natal (Durban, South Africa) have experienced sexual harassment from male faculty and peers.
The problem of sexual harassment in the continent of Africa has received cold reactions from government and school authorities. Human Rights Watch (2001) reported that the government and school authorities in South Africa were found to be silent about the sexual harassment. experienced by female students in the country. As a result of this neglect from the government and school officials many female students have quit schooling and many did not return to school due in part to fear of being harassed again or violated. Other countries on the continent have acted in the same manner such as Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe (CEDAW, 2008; Houreld, 2007; Human Rights Watch, 2001; Nwaogwugwu, 2007). Studies found that educational institutions in the continent have no policy initiatives on sexual harassment (Amnesty International Report, 2005; Daily Champion, 2007; Ladebo, 2003).
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
- To determine the Nature and Trend of Sexual Harassment among Students in Higher Education in Nigeria
- To ascertain the causes of Sexual Harassment as perceived by students in higher Education Institution
- To examine the Psychological Consequences of Sexual Harassment on the victims
- To recommend possible institutional response to control occurrence of sexual harassment in higher education institution
This study is out to answer some of the following questions;
- What is the nature and forms of sexual harassment in the higher education?
- What are the causes of sexual harassment as perceived by the student in higher education institution?
- What are the psychological consequences of sexual harassment ?
- What is the way of control occurrences of sexual harassment in higher education
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study is that it helps to call for urgent research into the prevalence, and effect of sexual harassment on the classroom interaction and performance of female students in tertiary institutions of learning. It is also hoped that this study will assist the university management in making decision and mapping out strategic policies towards cracking the ugly trend of sexual harassment among female students in the university.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is done within the premises of University of Nigeria, Ikere Campus, This study is also limited to the investigation of sexual harassment among female students of the University of Nigeria. The findings of this study is limited to the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Sexual: Connected with the physical activity of sex.
Harass: To annoy or worry someone by putting pressure on them or saying or doing unpleasant things to them.
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, whether by words or by actions that constitutes a health and safety problem, which when objected could disadvantage the victim in her connection with her studies, including recruitment or promotion, or creates a hostile study environment (United
Nations General Recommendation 19 to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women).
Prevalence: The act of existing or becoming very common at a particular time r in a particular place.
Coercion: The action of making somebody do something that they done want to do.
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