I watched the BBC documentary “Sex For Grades” whereby undercover journalists posed as students at the University of Lagos and University of Ghana to catch out those lecturers or should I say predators sexually harassed female students in order for them to get a good grade. I understand that in the wider case, female students often did not get graded at all if they did not succumb to these advances. If you haven’t seen it, you can catch it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we-F0Gi0Lqs
Since then the lecturer at University of Lagos was suspended. The lecturer at University of Ghana who was clearly seen trying to initiate an inappropriate relationship with a student is free to swing his dick around as “there was no evidence of him requesting sex in exchange for grades”.
What I find quite fascinating is the commentary from my fellow Africans, a lot of people saying that this is the “white man’s agenda to destroy Africa”. These are obviously people who don’t have children or have little respect for women as whatever the “agenda”, harassment in any form is not ok in my books whether it be Africa, Europe or Timbuktu. Here are my thoughts:
- There needs to be a thorough investigation, although the lecturer at UG did not offer sex for grades, he was an obviously a creep and well if enough people have come out to say he did it, there is something wrong. How many other lecturers feel they have a right to harass students in this manner, this story did not come out of thin air. I don’t think believe this is an isolated incident, or isolated to the university of Ghana. I have heard stories of girls who had barely started their periods falling pregnant by their school teachers. Does it have to go this far before this predators are weeded out?
- There is a wider epidemic here, these are happening in schools, university and in the workplace. I remember when I was unemployed in Ghana and went for an interview at one company. The CEO all but told me I had the job, that was until I refused a sexual relationship with him. Unsurprisingly, I rejected him, he revoked the job offer. Imagine being so desperate for a job that you will allow a sweaty big bellied guy to lay on top of you just for a monthly salary.
- There is a real need for a robust sexual education course, not the bread and butter stuff but to teach our girls about self-esteem, that you don’t need to sleep with a guy just because he says he “loves” you, or he gives you money, or he gives you a job, or he gives you an A in school. Guys need to learn to respect a woman because these young disrespectful guys will grow up to be just as disrespectful men.
- The law in this area needs to be taken more seriously. The world of #metoo just hasn’t reached the African continent. If it wasn’t for this exposé, these girls will be called liars, or they would say that they were the ones who instigated an inappropriate relationship. Do we have to wait for the likes of the BBC or Anas to highlight these injustices before anything is done.
- This is not an African problem, it happens everywhere. The difference is, when an issue like this occurs, there will be an investigation, there will be a follow up and there will be careful monitoring. I do hope that this is not going to be swept under the carpet never to be heard again.
Now I am not talking about the ladies who purposely set out to entrap men, who purposely lay down in return for favours. I am talking about people in positions of power who intimidate their victims and harass them into submission. I also know that there are women out there who are just as guilty of harassment. What I am saying is, it is not right and we need to take this issue more seriously.