The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has said that the notion of victims or potential victims of sexual harassment are architects of their fate especially by their attitude, dressing or willingness to be in a compromising place with their violators is wrong and should be resisted in every situation, while victim must always be seen as the victim and not to be blamed.
The Vice President made this known in his contributions on Wednesday at a webinar on Anti-Sexual Harassment themed “Finding Safe Spaces for Female Students in Nigerian Universities”, organized by the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, as the event was based on the book authored by notable journalist and former presidential spokesman, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, titled NAKED ABUSE: SEX FOR GRADES IN AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES.
Prof Osinbajo said victim must always be seen as the victim. “There cannot be an excuse, especially given the power configuration between students and lecturers, that the victim could have somehow invited the abuse upon themselves. I think it is an important consideration to be made and we must not allow that notion to persist.
“Advocating stricter punishments for rape offenders especially in situations involving lecturers and their female students. There cannot be an excuse especially given the power configuration between students and lecturers that the victim could have somehow invited the abuse upon themselves. I think it is an important consideration to be made and we must not allow that notion to persist.”
He added that the fear that they will neither get a sympathetic nor understanding hearing, let alone justice, and that they will end up suffering the same consequences the predator had threatened would occur if they did not submit to their demands.
“Then there is of course, the shame and stigma that could attend speaking up. “I think that in ensuring that we create safe spaces, we must do at least the basics, which is providing the support and resources they need to report abusers. Every institution must make it easy for victims or potential victims to report perpetrators to trusted formal structures or secure channels created specifically for the purpose of resolving such cases,” he said.
He recommended the adoption of a mandatory “well thought-out whistleblower process emphasizing confidentiality, professional legal and medical help for victims or potential victims.” Dignitaries who also spoke at the webinar besides Adeniyi, the Guest Speaker, included the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq; the First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi; and the Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbode.