Saturday, August 29, 2015

I was also a victim of sexual harassment - Olabisi Deji-Folutile

I am a product of the University of Lagos and proudly so too. I feel good when I introduce myself as an ex-Akokite. I naturally align myself with anyone working for the progress of my alma mater and resist anything that could tarnish its image. That was why I joined other great Akokites to resist the unpopular decision of former President Goodluck Jonathan to rename the university. And I’m glad we succeeded. For me, securing admission to the ‘flagship’ of Nigerian universities was no mean feat.

I did not only burn the midnight oil, I tried ‘burning’ some in daylight just to get in. My cousin who was a UNILAG student then had told me that the university was very competitive. He said I needed a minimum of nine points in my Advanced Level result to qualify for admission. God’s grace coupled with my hard work helped. I got 11 points. So I had a smooth cruise to my dream university. 

However, whatever fond memories I have of my alma mater now are sometimes marred by the ugly incident of sexual harassment I was forced to endure on campus.
Of course it is always good to bury our painful pasts in the ocean of forgetfulness, because that is where they actually belong, I sometimes struggle to do so. I feel a gush of disgust whenever I hear about cases of rape or attempted rape on any campus in the country. So you can imagine how saddened I was when I read reports of a teenager raped while seeking admission to UNILAG.

To think that an innocent teenager could be defiled within the walls of a university community is sickening. And seeing that all that the university could do in this case was to simply disown the lecturer alleged to have perpetrated the heinous act is shocking. Shortly after the university’s denial of any deal with the rape suspect, another lady, now married, accused the same lecturer of attempting To Molest her.

t is ridiculous that at a time when universities across the world are thinking of better ways to handle cases of sexual harassment, the best UNILAG could do to protect its own students is to engage in unnecessary defence almost to the point of stupidity. In my time, there were no official channels of reporting erring lecturers. All I could do was to ask some people to appeal to my lecturer to leave me alone. Unfortunately, some of the people I asked to help me told me to give my lecturer what he wanted. It was that bad.

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