For a very long time, women around the world have been victims of sexual-based violence.
For the most part, the abusers get away with these crimes. But more than ever, women are coming out to tell their stories and exposing their abusers.
And this may be yielding some results.
In 2019, the Nigerian Senate re-introduced an anti-sexual harassment bill following the BBC African Eye Sex-for-Grades documentary, which exposed the sexual misconduct of lecturers at University of Lagos and University of Ghana. It should also be noted that a Professor of Accounting at Obafemi Awolowo University, Richard Akindele, was found guilty of sexual harassment and jailed in 2018.
What is the anti-sexual harassment bill about?
The bill is aimed at promoting ethical standards and protecting students against sexual harassment by lecturers in Nigerian tertiary institutions. The bill was re-introduced on October 9, 2019, and passed its second reading on November 2019.
How does the bill protect students?
– Any lecturer that demands for sex or has sex with a student or prospective student faces up to 14 years (minimum of 5 years) in prison with no option of fine.
– Any lecturer that intimidates or creates a hostile environment for a student by making sexual advances or soliciting for sex faces up to 14 years in prison with no option of fine.
– Any lecturer that directs another person to commit an act of sexual harassment or participates in a case of sexual harassment by another person faces up to 14 years in prison with no option of fine.
– Any lecturer that grabs, hugs, kisses, rubs, or strokes or touches or pinches the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student faces a minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years in prison.
– Any lecturer that displays, gives or sends by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student faces a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years in prison.
– Any lecturer that whistles or winks at a student or screams or exclaims or jokes or makes sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalks a student faces a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years in prison.
Read more about the bill here.
The Bill has passed its third reading, what is next?
The bill has now gone through all the required steps and there are only a few things left before it is passed into law. Now, the Senate will send the bill to the House of Representatives for agreement. After that, it will be sent to the president for assent.