By Femi Ogunshola
Some University Students say they can now tackle the menace of sexual harassment on campus, following a symposium on the prevention of campus sexual violence in tertiary institution across the country.
The symposium was organised by a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF) on Saturday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium was initiated by the European Union and United Nations, with the theme: “Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Men.
Miss Michel Williams, a 400 Level, Biochemistry Student of Nile University, Abuja, said that with the setting up of response team in the universities, students could now heave a sigh of relief.
She said that with a toll free line where sexual harassment could be reported pronto, tackling the menace of sexual harassment had now been made easy on campus.
“Now I know that as a student, when you are being confronted by a lecturer asking for sex for grade, you can now find someone to talk to.
“That is why they have created the response team in institutions to be able to locate one of them and report,” she said.
She said that although she had never experienced sexual harassment, but stories of such menace abound on campuses and in the media.
“It is not a good thing to be sexually harassed and there has to be a way to stop it because I know that it affects victims both psychologically and physically,” she said.
Miss Favour Amarachukwu, a100 Level Medical Laboratory Student, UniAbuja, said that with the symposium, she was equipped with a new revelation on how to tackle the menace.
“Today, I got a new revelation on how to stop gender based violence and sexual abuses on campus and how we can handle it as students and victims.
“Now we have a hotline where we can call freely and you can be kept anonymous in case you are scared of your identity being revealed.
“So if I fall victim of that with the exposure I have gotten, it will be easier for me to open up now that I have gotten this idea,” she said.
Mr Felix Ayeyemi, a 300 Level, Computer Student, UniAbuja, said though he had not been sexually harassed but heard stories in the media relating to sexual harassment.
Ayeyemi said with this training and the free toll line dedicated for sexual harassment, students would now have the courage to call the response team.
He said that, students in collaboration with other partners would keep fighting to curtail the menace of sexual harassment on campus.
Damilola Adebisi, the Lead Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, WARIF, said that the symposium was to increase awareness and engage students on campus prevention of gender violence and sexual harassment.
Adebisi said that students now knew that they could speak out and get help, adding that the bottom line was to tackle the culture of silence and assured them that there was a place they could get help.
This, according to him, is by speaking out and talking about their issues and that they should not be scared.
“We want them to speak out on rape and other gender violence as much as possible and the students are happy that they can get help even with the setting up of the response team on campuses,” he said.