By Elizabeth Uwandu
IN line with the terms and conditions of the Ford Foundation’s grant won by three staff of the Yaba College of Technology, Yabatech, the college has started organising seminars aimed at abolishing sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the college.
The college in conjunction with Dr. Abiola Afolabi Akiode, organised separate workshops on sexual harassment and gender- based violence with academic staff, non-teaching staff and students of the college.
The programme, supported and sponsored by Ford Foundation, synchronized with Yabatech’s policy as an institution with zero- tolerance for sexual harassment.
During the workshop, various issues related to sexual harassment and gender-based violence were raised and judiciously discussed in an interactive manner which allowed contributions from all participants.
It was deduced through the seminar that sexual harassment can happen to either male or female, it contains physical and emotional pain, it can be psychological, and it involves taking advantage of someone.
The cause of sexual harassment and gender-based violence was traced to lack of self control, indiscipline, lack of self dignity, opportunistic act, lack of consequences and unreliable reporting scheme.
The workshop also identified frustration, stigmatization, mental health issues, suicide, insecurity, fear, low self esteem, emotional disturbance and unwanted pregnancy, as consequences and effects of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.
It was noted that sexual harassment can happen to students, lecturers and non- academic staff; as a result of this, there should be proper and effective reporting mechanism, which will attract appropriate sanctions as a way of discouraging the act after thorough investigation.
At the end of the seminars, Yabatech team which comprised Dr. A.A. Abiodun, Dr. Funmilayo Doherty, Mrs. Odun Orimolade, and Dr. Akiode’s research team which included Dr. A.I. Oluwasemilore, Mrs. Wofai Eko, Dr. Kemi Omotubora, Mr. Paulson Okezie, and Mr. Chukwunonso Ibegwam, came up with a policy statement to ensure that sexual harassment and gender based violence are reduced to the barest minimal in our Institutions and society at large.