Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016.

If you schooled in Nigeria you must have known or heard about one young lady or the other who has been sexually harassed in school. I was quite lucky as I had a fairly scary surname and I did not entertain any situation that would let any lecturer talk trash to me.

So, what happens when a young girl who simply came to get an education is being preyed upon by her teacher?

God help that young lady if she dares report to the school authorities.  If she resists the lecture’s advances, she’ll most likely retake the course and have an extra year if she is not careful. On the other hand, she may be left off the hook if she has a school father among the lecturers in the university that can help her “talk” to the lecturer.  The talk being the “she is my sister talk”.

Some girls give in to their advances and risk being passed along to other lecturers in the process.

The Sexual Harassment In Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016, makes it mandatory for any vice chancellor, provost and rector of a university, polytechnic and college of education to promptly act on the report of any sexual harassment by a female student, failing which he said such authority would be jailed for two years.

The bill also provides a compulsory five-year jail term for lecturers who sexually harass students. When passed into law, vice chancellors of universities, rectors of polytechnics and other chief executives of institutions of higher learning will go to jail for two years if they fail to act within a week on complaints of sexual harassment made by students.

Furthermore, the bill expressly allows sexually harassed students, their parents, or guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against sexual predator lecturers before or after their successful criminal prosecution by the state. The bill also seeks protection from sexual harassment for prospective students seeking admissions into higher educational institutions, students of generally low mental capacity and physically challenged students.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. The committee has been asked to conduct a public hearing and report findings within four weeks.

This truly is a welcome development, as young women are on the road to being able to seat in class and no longer hide their faces behind books when receiving lectures for fear of that “womanizer” lecturer seeing them.

P.S Sophie said to say if you are in an office with a lecturer or anyone in school, put on your phone  recorder so you can have proof if anything happens.

Ever been sexually harassed in school? How was it resolved?

 

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