A non-governmental organisation, Inanna Women Empowerment Foundation (IWEF), has called on university students to report any form of sexual assault and will offer such students free legal services as part of efforts to curb the menance of sexual harassment.
The NGO, while speaking at a sensitisation programme which was held at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo campus, enjoined female students to report cases of harassment from sexual predators within and outside their campuses by interfacing with civil organisations within their reach in the state.
Mrs. Funmilayo Akinremi, CEO of the Foundation, stated that the sensitisation programme was to encourage students to speak out when abused, especially when faced with sexual harassment and sex-for-marks in the institutions.
Akinremi said the Foundation’s commitment was borne out of the vision to improve lives and capacities of at least one million African females by January 2020, with empgasis on education and economic as well as emotional empowerment.
“To achieve this, the group, through its programme themed, ‘Big sister hotline stop sexual predators on campus’ has pledged to render free legal assistance to victims of sexual assaults,” she stated.
A sexual assault referral centre operator, Mrs. Itoro Eze-Anaba, maintained that any sexual act done to someone against his or her consent is a sexual offence.
She identified the common forms of sexual abuse on campuses as date rape, sex-for-marks, set-up abuses, harassments, sexualised touching, use of coercion, intimidation, threat, manipulation and force.
Eze-Anaba dismissed claims that dressing provocatively is a major cause of sexual harassment, puncturing the argument with the alarming statistics of 4,514 reported cases of sexual abuses handled by the centre so far, which included a three months old baby.
The Director of Citizens Mediation Centre, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi in her presentation said no one deserves to be sexually harassed, noting that victims or survivors should take steps to seek legal redresses for the violation of their rights, which could be done through mediation or litigation.