S*xual Harassment : UNN employs drama, exhibitions, others to combat the social menace

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In a concerted effort to address the issue of sexual harassment within Nigerian higher institutions, the Campus Campaign Against Sexual Harassment (C-CASH) has joined forces with the Gender and Development Policy Centre (GEN-CENT) at the University of Nigeria Nsukka to create awareness about sexual harassments.

Together, they organized a symposium aimed at raising awareness among staff and students about the multifaceted nature of sexual harassments employing a combination of dramatic performances, visual exhibits, and interactive discussions to fight the menace.

The symposium, held on Friday at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) received support from the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) and drew participants from diverse backgrounds including the World Health Organization (WHO), human rights activists, student bodies, lecturers, and civil society organizations.

Dr. Ikechukwu Erojikwe, Director of C-CASH and a Senior Lecturer at the UNN’s Department of Film and Theatre Studies, highlighted the theme of the occasion as, “Make We Yan: A Community Engagement Event to Tackle Incidents of Sexual Harassment.”

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He emphasised the campaign’s integrated approach, which includes dramatizing the challenges and consequences of sexual harassment, using visual depictions, and conducting sensitization sessions through radio broadcasts and seminars.

Erojikwe also announced plans to extend the campaign to the University of Pretoria in South Africa in no distant time.

In a remark, Prof. Romanus Ezeokonkwo, the Acting Vice-Chancellor of UNN reiterated the university’s stance of zero tolerance towards sexual harassments pledging full support for initiatives aimed at eradicating such misconduct within the institution.

The Vice-Chancellor was represented by Prof. Uju Clara Umo, Director of Academic Planning, encouraged students to utilize the UNN’s Sexual Harassment Policy, urging them to report any incidents without any fear of intimidation or victimisation for immediate action by the university.

Speaking, Prof. Anthonia Achike, Director of GEN-CENT, UNN, guided participants through the provisions of UNN’s Sexual Harassment Policy, informing participants of the availability of an anonymous reporting mechanism on the university’s website to protect those who may fear victimisation, intimidation or stigma.

Dr. Ejike Orji, Chairman of the Management Committee of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning in Nigeria (AAFP), advocated for sustained awareness through education and advocacy regarding the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in Nigerian higher institutions.

In his keynote speech titled “Breaking the Silence: Addressing Sexual Harassment in Nigerian Schools,” Dr. Orji called for universities to enact and enforce robust policies that prioritise students’ protection and hold perpetrators accountable.

He emphasised on the need for collaborative efforts between university authorities, students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to foster a culture of reporting, support, and collective action against sexual harassment.

Our Correspondent reports that, the symposium also featured a panel discussion with Sylvia Opinia from WHO, student representatives, Dorothy Njemanze from the Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Om’Oba Jerry Adesewo, Artistic Director of Arojah Royal Theatre, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Asogwa, and Prof. Raymond Adibe, Deputy Director of GEN-CENT, among others.

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