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Zimbabwe: Lecturers Fired For Sexual Molestation

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Thursday, February 9th, 2017

AT least 94 percent of female students in tertiary institutions are experiencing sexual harassment, an organisation working with universities has revealed.

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Yvonne Mudapakati, programmes officer for Female Students Network Trust (FSNT), also told the parliamentary committee on Women Affairs that lecturers were also among the top offenders.

The committee wanted to appreciate the plight of female students in universities and colleges.

“FSNT’s 2015 baseline study, conducted in universities, polytechnics and teachers’ colleges, covered 10 tertiary institutions and included 3425 students and staff,” Mudapakati said.

“It confirmed the students’ claims that Gender Based Violence and sexual harassment were rampant on campus, particularly sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers, fellow male students and non-academic male employees.

“Key findings from the research include, of the 2114 female students who participated through the questionnaire, 94 percent reported having encountered sexual harassment, compared to 3percent of the 672 male students.”

She said although lecturers refuted the findings, “A high proportion of male lecturers said female students enticed them into relationships. We have had lectures that have been fired from Chinhoyi and Bindura universities”.

The organisation said economic hardships have made female students more vulnerable to the scourge resulting in increased abortions and infections.

Although abortion is prohibited, a report compiled by local 27 NGOs claimed at least 80 000 Zimbabwean women illegally abort every year resulting in 20 000 deaths.

Evernice Munando, FSNT director, said government needs to fix social indicators to reduce students’ vulnerability to such ill-practices.

With over two thirds of Zimbabweans living below the poverty line, most parents can barely afford to meet the basic costs of their children in school.

“In most tertiary institutions accommodation is inadequate leading many students to seek accommodation off-campus. They end-up cohabiting with male students or prostituting to meet exorbitant rentals off-campus. We have also heard some supervisors fail final year students if they turn them down,” she said.

Only four institutions had sexual harassment policies at the time of the study.

Responses to questions on why sexual harassment is so common indicated that it is a reflection of an entrenched patriarchal culture, with fixed, unequal gender norms that also normalised victim-blaming.

Such perceptions have resulted in 94 percent of cases going unreported to authorities, according to the field research.

“Most (63, 5 percent) said they had disclosed to someone (family member, friend, intimate partner, roommate, fellow church member).”

One Response

  1. It has been biblically proven that sex before marriage is a sin, its quite understandable that some were lured into it. What about those who consciously go into prostitution as their source of livelihood?

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