A victim of sexual harassment, Ms Gloria Adona, has described the BBC’s undercover documentary which captured two University of Ghana lecturers, Prof Ransford Gyampo and Dr Paul Kwame Butakor, allegedly sexually harassing a female reporter who posed as a student, as the “best news” she has heard ever.
Ms Adona was speaking on the Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 following the airing of the ‘Sex for grades’ documentary by BBC Africa Eye.
Prof Gyampo and Dr Butakor were on Tuesday, 8 October 2019 interdicted by the authority.
They have both denied the allegations captured on tape against them.
Despite their insistence of innocence, Ms Adona, who narrated her multiple sexual harassment ordeal at the hands of male teachers during her days in a senior high school in the northern part of Ghana, told show host Benjamin Akakpo that: “I actually had four of my teachers coming after me at a go. So, I kept asking myself: I was just a tiny girl growing up and there’s nothing extraordinary about me; even the uniform we wore was not exposing [any parts of my body], so, I kept asking myself: ‘What could be wrong?’”.
“The funny thing is”, she noted: “These four people who were all hitting on me were in a group like a clique. I later got to find out.”
Ms Adona explained that her experience started with one of her teachers who would come to her class and call her out for private conversations to the extent that he constantly pursued her even at the dormitory much to her discomfort.
“It got to a point he was asking me to come to his quarters because he lived on campus and school rules, too, did not permit us to go to visit our teachers. But this man would insist I come to his quarters. And the unfortunate thing was, my dormitory was around his place, so, he could come to my dorm at any time.
“He could come there or comes to stand just around the building and asks students to call me. Whenever they come, I would tell them: 'Go and tell him I’m not around'. There were times they could come and call me and I would tell them: ‘Go and tell him I’m not around’. It kept happening from time to time.”
The school’s head of academics, she said, was among the four harassers.
She said suspects she was failed in one subject – which she strongly was convinced she should have passed – because of refusal to give in to the four male teachers who constantly harassed her.
Though Ms Adona said she wanted to report those teachers to the disciplinary committee of the school, she did not have confidence in that process because some of her harassers sat on that committee.
So, being the President of the Human Rights and Administrative Justice club on campus, she took advantage of that platform to start doing her own investigations and compiling evidence against her harassers by keeping a diary of their propositioning.
She said she eventually got emotionally drained and, thus, reported the matter to the disciplinary committee.
“I had gotten fed up of being in the school. There was no peace: I’m in class and then as soon as this one comes and leaves, the other is also coming. I couldn’t concentrate. Emotionally, I was drained”, Ms Adona complained.
“The head of academics, for instance, would even come to the class. Because I was repeated, too, they made me the prefect of the class; it was also an opportunity for him, too, at the end of the day.
“He comes to the class and he is like, 'I should bring', maybe, he wants some books or something, and if I give it to my assistant to send it, he’ll ask me to bring it in person".
“There were instances, about five or six, [where] I went to his office and he was all naked. There were instances I went there, he grabs me, I try to rush out but then he grabs me from behind, he tries to fondle me and stuff. So, I have to actually look for an excuse like I came with one of my mates and she’s just out there, she might hear us, so, he should just let me go and then I’ll come back later in the day and, so, if I’m able to come up with some story, he’ll let me leave,” she recalled.
Ms Adona said when she came to the realisation that she could not take it anymore, she stepped down as the class prefect.
She said she was not the only victim. “It’s like they impregnate students, they abort it and funny enough, it being in the northern sector, a rural community, they take advantage of the girls, like buy them gifts, so, because of that you are obliged to give in.”
On the back of all that she narrated having gone through, Ms Adona told Benjamin Akakpo that the BBC’s ‘Sex for Grades’ documentary, which caught the two University of Ghana professors and a Nigerian professor-pastor at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) allegedly soliciting sexual favours from the female reporters who went undercover as students, was the best news she could ever have had.
“When I saw it yesterday [Monday], I was like: This is like the best news I’ve had this far. I’ve always been praying for something like this. Because I was praying for people to come up and then take on this issue because it’s something that has been there for years but we see it alright but then we turn to give it a blind eye.
“So, when I saw the video, I was so happy. I called my brother, like I was calling people who knew what was going on even before I came here, I spoke to my teachers back then, those who were solidly behind me, I told them I’m going on air this morning, I have to talk about it.”
She further explained that watching the video was such a relief. “So, when I saw it, it was a relief, but I hope it’s not going to end here because they actually have to take them on because these two, maybe what they’re doing is not even at the edge; there are people doing serious stuff than just this two that we have seen, so, I think they should really focus on it.
“I don’t know what the Ghana Education Service or heads of education are really doing. They know of it.”