TASTE THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND DIE: A QUALITATIVE X-RAY OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN SELECTED IVORY TOWERS IN NIGERIA
Although many studies on sexual harassment in the universities have been conducted in Nigeria, only a few of them have focused on what people considered as sexual harassment. This study examined participants’ views of what constitute sexual harassment, its causes, consequences as well as measures to be put in place to curtail sexual harassment in three purposively selected Universities in South Western Nigeria. The study is purely qualitative. Using explorative research design, the study employed In-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions methods to elicit information from participants in the selected Universities. In all, 40 in-depth interviews comprising female and male students (undergraduates and postgraduates); academic staff (males and females) and non-academic staff (males and females) were conducted. In addition, eight FGDs were conducted in each of the selected universities totally 24 FGDs each with female undergraduate students; female postgraduate students; male postgraduate students; female academic staff; male academic staff; male non academic staff and female non-academic staff. The results showed that many of the participants do not know what constitutes sexual harassment. The identified consequences include psychological trauma on the part of the victims, parents’ disinclination in sending their children to the affected university turning out of unqualified graduates and damaging the university’s image before international community. Some of the suggestions are that the Universities should have a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment, regular enlightenment campaigns/education, appropriate punishment, summary dismissal, institution of legal action and implementation of anti-sexual harassment policy among others.
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