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Opinions Wed, 9 Oct 2019

‘Sex for Grades’: When the evil men do catches up with them!

I kept asking myself these questions as I wander myself through the minds of these sex offenders committing these heinous crimes, sometimes without even batting an eyelid, throwing morality and caution to the wind.

I have also been wondering whether there was a chance that some of these offenders and alleged offenders commit these acts perhaps because they do not give a hoot about morals, culture, much less caution. But if so, what about the legal implications of their acts? Because bosses who sexually victimize their staff and potential staff (whether females or males) and teachers who do same to their students should be well-informed enough to know they are flouting some rules/regulations or even the law.

A sex offender otherwise known as sex abuser or sexual abuser is anyone who has committed a sex crime. However, the problem with sexual harassment in Ghana is that the Ghanaian law that talks about it has been said to be vague in a way some doubt its legality.

In 2008, the Executive Director of the Justice and Human Rights Institute, Prof. Ken A. Attafuah, called for the amendment of the law establishing the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Act. 456, to explain clearly what sexual harassment stands for.

He believed that it would be “helpful that future amendment included sexual harassment, in order to erase any possible doubt about its illegality.” As to whether the amendment has been done or not is a topic for another discussion. But unfortunately, issues of sexual harassment have become rife in the system so much so that, some victims succumb to the harassment just so they could get what they want from the perpetrators.

One of the featured universities in the piece, is the University of Ghana, I’m as eager as I believe many are to see what comes out from there as well as if there are other Ghanaian universities featured. It is nonetheless not something to relish. This is a feat no organisation wants to achieve especially if that organisation believes it has put in place all the structures necessary to avert such an exposure.

The Sexual Harassment And Misconduct Policy of the University of Ghana defines sexual harassment as “an unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal, written, electronic, graphic or physical conduct or behavior of a sexual nature when:

i. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing or participation in an educational programme or activity; or

ii. ii. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions or for academic evaluations, grades or advancement affecting that individual; or

iii. iii. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment.”

I believe the above definition is expounded enough to deter any balanced lecturer who cares about his/her reputation to steer clear of any such trouble. The University’s Code of conduct for academic staff also makes it clear that disciplinary measures would be taken against violators of the above policy- which makes me wonder why one would want to subject themselves to such ridicule.

But, perhaps flouting set rules and regulations is human nature, perhaps it has more to do with the forbidden fruit situation, where people want to by all means get things they know are out of boundary for them; or perhaps it’s just pure indiscipline,- the ugly desire of people without scruples to satisfy their uncanny libidos.

It’s a shame!

Columnist: Suraiya Alidu Malititi