Sexual Harassment: How a Lecturer Fell Into His Victim’s Trap at IBB University By Gimba Kakanda.

 

I just managed to establish a distant understanding of what transpired between a lecturer identified as I. G. Yusuf in the English Department of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, and a 400-level female student.

The story revolves around the lady who had serially failed his course agreeing to have sex with him for a passing grade. And that the rendezvous was the lady’s bedroom. What the undiscerning predator didn’t know was that it’s a setup, for the lady had had some male friends waiting in her bathroom to get her photographs of the man pants down. And they did!

The reactions to her strategy have been amusing, dismissed as wrong by those who felt she was, like any other “good student,” meant to report matters of sexual harassment to the school authority. I think any suggestion other than the lady’s practical strategy here is based on an illusion that our schools actually protect students from these academic slave-masters and terrorists.

We have lecturers who have developed notorious reputation for publicly declaring the grades that await their students even before examinations, boasting that only God deserves certain grades in their courses. They have not seen the scripts, and have no idea of these students’ academic capabilities. These arrogant pricks have no grading policy other than their personal sentiments and preferences and how far the students are willing to comply with their financial or sexual demands or expectations.

I’ve had an experience of both public and private universities and all I can say is, the difference is obvious. I’ve never ever had a carryover but I’ve had grades that demoralized me. At the public university, I took them in good faith. But when I got a “B” grade at the private university, even the Vice-Chancellor knew about this. Because, trusting the school and how it upholds the dignity of its students, I followed the right channels without any fear to get an explanation and to see my midterm and final examination scripts and how they were graded and computed. There was sincerity and apology in handling this complaint of unfair grading. The joke of this is, even a staff of the ICT unit who logged into the university portal to check if there was indeed discrepancy in my transcript was shocked that a student with CGPA of 4.89 on 5.0 scale came to lodge a complaint, reminding me of students with one-point-something CGPA. He’s a product of a system that didn’t offer him this right. It’s not a privilege, it’s how a perfect system is intended to function.

The following year with the same lecturer, I got “A” grade. He didn’t victimize me for that audacity. If I had done this when I got a bad grade at the public university, it’s tantamount to signing one’s expulsion letter. Because the lecturer challenged would’ve sent signals to his friends to “do the needful.” That’s an extra year, and perhaps a Third Class degree.

At the same public university, a female friend – who’s reading this post here – was almost violated by a lecturer. In his office. I know her close enough to tell she was telling the truth. She was, well, my crush, a morally upright woman. He left marks all over her body while trying to undress her. In his office. In his office. Yes, in his office! She couldn’t report the case because of reactions as those shared by some men on this IBBUL scandal, people who would approach sexual harassment with moronic questions like, “What were you doing in his office?” instead of “Why did he attempt to rape you?” or, as is the case of IBBUL, “What was the lecturer doing in a female student’s bedroom and naked?”

The policy at my private university is, romantic relationship between students and lecturers is forbidden, and any lecturer found in such matrix of misconducts gets the sack. Let me spell this out clearly: they meant that your student can’t be your lover. Now, imagine if a lecturer is found in a sexual mess!

Our lecturers have been preying on female students for decades unchecked. It’s provoking and piteous. And I think our ladies have been unfairly branded by the society and bullied into silence. It’s an embarrassing aspect of our tertiary institutions that has frustrated the life of several innocent ladies – and male students, too!

I’ve no sympathy for any lecturer caught pants down, none at all. We need a stronger legislation for jailing all found guilty of this misconduct. Sacking them isn’t enough!

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