Here’s my two cents.
About two weeks or so ago, BBC Africa Eye came out with an exposé on the issue of sexual harassment going on in the universities especially in Ghana and Nigeria. The mere announcement that such a video was about to be released stirred up so much excitement and chaos around,it felt as though the day of reckoning had finally arrived and people just couldn’t wait for the perpetrators to get served some cold justice. The video was finally released on October 8, 2019. Following its release, many local celebrities took to various social media platforms to express their stands and encourage as many victims as possible to speak up while demanding justice against the accused. I have watched the video and also read a few comments online on the matter to have a fair idea of what the general public thinks. Now if y’all will indulge me, here’s my two cents on the matter.
Sex for grades is just what it is, the exchange of sex for academic favours and usually involves two parties; the person who needs the grades (student) and the person who scores the grades (lecturer). Sometimes, both parties enter into a mutually beneficial agreement for this sort of thing but more often than not, there’s always an unwilling party (usually the student) who’s being forced into this by the other. As is common with any kind of scandal these days, blames have been thrown around, some at the lecturers who prey on the very students they’ve been charged to educate and others at the students who put themselves in the radar of the lecturers to begin with. The public is thirsty for blood and we are all anticipating what the fate will be at least for the few lecturers that were exposed in the video.
No matter what the story is, no matter the “who is to blame”, or the “why this happened”, the fact still remains that we have a system that makes it possible for sex to be exchanged/demanded for favours. This whole conversation is ultimately about how the potential of a woman is least considered until sex is involved. Women are either denied what they deserve/qualify for until they give in to sex or are rewarded what they don’t qualify for/deserve if only they can offer sex. I mean we’ve seen countless movies on this issue from back in the days and not much (if anything) was done about it. We could say that the internet wasn’t as popular back then as it is now or even as powerful but the fact still remains that this is an evil we’ve allowed to exist among us in hopes that it doesn’t happen to us or our loved us. I remember looking forward to finally going to uni some years back and being the over-thinker that I am, thinking of all the possible ways my life could turn out and how the thought of something like this happening to me really just frightened me. I imagined reporting to my parents etc but I’ve seen movies where even the pleas of the mother only made things worse, best case scenario I would have to transfer schools or something like that but how is that any comforting to any student?
A fair amount of shaming was given to the students who intentionally establish such inappropriate relations with their lecturers with the sole aim of gaining academic favours from them. Personally I think they are just making the most of a bad situation and just trying to get the upper hand. I mean, no one can go to God and say they want to bribe him with this or that so he could give them a free pass on life or free ticket to heaven, and while using God may be a bit farfetched and unrealistic, I’m just trying to compare the systems. If there is no such thing as sex for grades, no one would even try to manipulate anyone for academic favours. There were others who also blamed some victims for being lazy and not working hard enough to just pass the course. True, but come on! the punishment for laziness cannot be sexual abuse.
We live in a world where so much importance is attached to education, where the youth are encouraged to aim at achieving higher educational goals, where an uneducated person has a very low chance of succeeding in life but, how well are we working to make our educational institutions safe for them? This is a clear case of abuse of power; there are literal predators in positions of power, people who have been charged with the sacred duty of training the future leaders abusing whatever power they have by demanding services from students they otherwise have no right demanding. Knowing that you could alter the direction of a person’s life just by the stroke of your pen and using that knowledge to gain whatever you want from your prey is plain evil. And honestly what do we expect the response of the victims to be? How does one make such a decision lightly? Knowing that whatever answer you give would be detrimental to your future. Not all can afford the luxury of dropping out or changing schools, not all can afford the luxury of saying no so they say yes. After all, the essence of manipulation is to be in a place of power and let is seem like the choice is indeed yours to make. How do we term this form of coerced consent? It is no surprise that some of these lecturers who were caught on cam still released “lawyered” statements denying the accusations while trying to either explain their actions or down-play their perverted advances.
How then do we really fight this nightmare? Today, Miss Kiki Mordi who suffered a similar fate but chose to drop out of school other than to succumb to the sexual advances of her predator has come back for revenge against the whole system. In the wake of this exposé, most universities have decided to take things serious and treat all reported cases with utmost urgence. Many victims have come out to share their stories and name their predators while others are still silent for the fear of tainting their success with the horrific incidents of the past. Hopefully this public shaming would put the fear of God into these perpetrators and deter them. I’m quite sure that some would only get smarter. In the end, the veil is finally off and we can start having this conversation that is long overdue.
If you never went through this incident then we thank God. For those who have had to suffer any form of such abuse I’m really sorry and believe that you are bigger than this. Speak to someone if this whole thing is bringing up bad memories. Nobody deserves to go through this and nobody should be able to get away with it either. Truth be told, this whole sex for grades thing has been going on for a long time; the students know this, the lecturers know each other and even sometimes pass on their students, some lecturers who don’t necessarily partake in this probably have heard rumours and whispers, we’ve seen them in movies too.. we all know and somehow it’s just part of the system.
This is just one of the manifestations of a much bigger disease. Society has trained men to feel entitled to a woman’s body and so some of the brothers we grew up with, the classmates we studied in class with, the young boys we went to Sabbath/Sunday school with, the little boys we played in the sand with, grew up one day and started seeing us as nothing more than objects for their sexual satisfaction. That is the disease we need to cure!! Until then, let’s treat the symptoms as they manifest.
Here’s the link to the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we-F0Gi0Lqs
Do you think the exposé did justice to the issue at hand? How best do you think we can fight this? Whatever your thoughts, share them with me. Let’s have a conversation.