THE EFFECT OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON SCHOOLS' ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
This study looks into the psychological effects of sexual harassment on female students at one of the higher educational institutions in Rivers State, Nigeria. Other significant contributors to sexual harassment in higher education institutions include poverty and harmful peer pressure.
The psychological effects of sexual harassment on the victims were ranked as having the largest impact on fear and trauma. This problem has serious consequences for Nigerians as a whole, higher education institutions, and the labour market.
Therefore, in order to effectively handle cases of sexual harassment and ensure justice for the victims, it is necessary to develop sustainable systems and structures for redress through the development of anti-sexual harassment policies, the establishment of telephone hotlines, the establishment of security units, and the training of school counsellors.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and any verbal or physical behaviour of a sexual nature are all considered sexual harassment. Academic brilliance in Nigeria's educational institutions is being significantly undermined by an illness that goes unnoticed.
It lists the different actions that may be considered sexual harassment in the workplace. The first two clauses address unequal power relationships between an employee/subordinate and an employer/supervisor.
In exchange for job perks, an employer or supervisor expects sexual fulfilment from the worker or subordinate. It may be claimed that a similar situation occurs in the academic setting when professors approach female students and ask for sexual favours in exchange for good exam results.
The third clause deals with the presence of a hostile workplace where an employee's satisfactory work performance is hampered by the violating behaviour. Fitzgerald, Gelfand, and Drasgow (1995) expanded on this definition by including three empirically derived scenarios:
unwanted sexual attention, which includes touching, hugging, stroking, and demanding a date; sexual coercion, which refers to sexual advances with the promise of job-related benefits; and gender harassment, which includes verbal and non-verbal behaviours (such as jokes, taunts, gestures, and exhibition of pornographic materials).
Nigerian tertiary institutions have struggled with issues including drug abuse, covert cult operations, and indecent attire, to name a few.
The majority of the female students wear miniskirts that barely cover their bottoms, expose their navels and boobs, and have big cleavages on exhibit to show the size and shape of their private parts. These are sexual harassment and distraction tools for the masses.
Some of the students are so morally depraved that all they depend on to ‘pass' their tests is their femininity. They woo male classmates or examiners into helping them write exams or giving them passing grades, as the case may be.
The general fall in the calibre of graduates produced by Nigeria's higher institutions may be due to the general growth in social vices in those institutions. When major employers of Nigerian graduates were asked a series of questions to gauge the graduates' level of preparation and performance on the job,
the results of the evaluation of the quality of graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions revealed that the graduates' quality is declining (The Scholar, 2001). Additionally, it is widely believed that sexual harassment occurs on most or all Nigerian university campuses and that it has been more common over the past ten years (Ladebo, 2001).
One of the most pervasive and common forms of gender-based violence that many women endure every day is sexual harassment, which is an all too common occurrence in postsecondary institutions.
In postsecondary institutions, sexual harassment is complicated, not necessarily unidirectional, minimised by all parties involved, unreported, and regarded as a major moral and social issue.
It can occur between a variety of parties, including nonacademic personnel, male students and female students, male lecturers and female lecturers, and male students and male students.
Male academic staff members are likely to be the ones who continue sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, putting female students at tremendous risk in the majority of cases. This trend is astonishing and unsettling in a setting that is frequently considered to be a centre of excellence,
a breeding ground for virtuous leaders and thinkers who will stand on the stage of national leadership in the future. Unwanted sexual contact such as slapping the opposite sex's buttocks, stroking their breast, clawing or separating their back, or holding their waists are all examples of sexual coercion.
The tricking of a partner into having sex, attempted and real rape, fondling of the partner's genital organs, and unwanted sexual jokes, comments, chats, and gestures are other sexual coercive behaviours.
Non-contact abuse and other sexual activities including molestation, harassment, forced pornography viewing, persistently asking for dates, threatening text messages, arousal gestures, and indecent exposure are all mentioned.
Intimidation and verbal pressure are further forms. Omoteso (2006) asserts that there are various methods to categorise sexual coercion depending on the context in which it takes place and the identity or traits of the perpetrators.
These categories are referred to as types of sexual coercion, such as transactional sexual coercion, gang sexual coercion, marital or spousal sexual coercion, date acquaintance sexual coercion, and sexual coercion of children. According to some data, sexual coercion of women is not a new phenomenon.
The biblical account was one of its most prominent manifestations. In a study on the sexual coercion of university students conducted in Ibadan by Ajuwon, Olaleye, Faromoju, Ladipo, and Akin-Jimoh (2001a), 15% of the students reported forced sexual penetration,
27% reported attempts at forced sex, and 44% reported the experience of unwanted sexual activities. This shows the extent of sexual coercion among female students in universities.
These revelations demonstrate that women are the targets of sexual violence, which has major negative effects on their physical and mental well-being as well as their social and emotional well-being (Heise, Moore, and Tobia).
It might harm students' psychological and academic well-being, instigate harm to their reputations, and intensify conflicts among students, all of which might create a hostile learning environment. According to Bandura's (2005) theory,
both young and older female students may be subjected to sexual coercion because of behaviours that are typical of female university students in general, such as inappropriate clothing, friendly gestures like parting buttocks, kissing cheeks, and other sexual acts.
Fergusson, Horwood, and Lynskey (2007) noted that coercers and victims are roughly the same age, although he emphasised that there are some instances of older males coercing younger females into sexual activity. According to Humper (2008),
older males, especially those in romantic relationships, target young female students in their teens and early twenties as victims of sexual coercion because they are easier to manipulate and use force on. Others in this category include their boyfriends, fellow students, teachers, administrative staff, cult leaders,
and males in positions of power who, according to the researcher, force young female students into unwanted sexual interactions. Young women are the main targets of sexual coercion worldwide, according to Omorodion and Olusanya's (2008) study on violence against women, and certain forms of sexual coercion are closely linked to younger female trafficking and exploitation,
which are also forms of sexual coercion. According to Watts (2008), older women are less likely to be sexually harassed by men because they are more conscious of their relationships with people of the opposite sex. It has been noted that males possess greater physical force and strength than females.
Females in this age range might not have the strength to intervene forcibly to stop violent situations that typically end in sexual coercion. Violence, according to Fawole, Osungbade, and Faweya (2008), asserts male dominance over younger female students by the use of physical force by men after other behaviours.
Due to gender inequity and women's innate tendency to be docile, submissive, and soft, men frequently mistakenly feel that they can control and traumatise women by controlling them via sex.
Researchers like Omorodion and Olusanya (2008) showed that most younger girls typically find it difficult to be firm in their judgement regarding sexual things, which usually lures them to the risk of sexual coercion. The unmarried are not tagged,
thus they are free to engage in any type of sexual behaviour with whomever, despite research by Akinlolu (2009) showing that university females who are sexually forced tend to be more unmarried than married.
In her study, Osakinle (2003) found a significant difference between married and unmarried female students in terms of sexual coercion.
Because males are more likely to interact freely with unmarried female students than married female students, unmarried female students are typically more vulnerable to sexual coercion than married female students. According to Akinlolu (2009),
some female students who had boyfriends while attending the university and afterwards married another guy while still attending the same university may have been subjected to some type of sexual compulsion from their ex-boyfriends.
According to Lavinger (2008), unmarried female university students are more likely than married women to encounter intimate partner abuse. Because married female students will benefit more from marital legal protection than the unmarried, married female students may have less options than unmarried female students if they are subjected to sexual coercion.
When a woman is sexually compelled, her husband may file a lawsuit, which may result in the coercer losing his job if he is an employee. In Nigerian culture, wives are carefully guided.
If the coercer is a student, the school may expel him. Based on the unique views among female university students, it was established that any female could be sexually pressured regardless of her marital status.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigerian colleges and universities, female students frequently encounter sexual harassment from male peers, instructors, and staff. While practically all women of all races, ages, and colours suffer sexual harassment, Nigerian women encounter more subtle forms of abuse.
Because harassment is not tolerated in Nigerian culture, it is not seen as a sin or a violation of women's rights. For instance, in Rivers State, both teaching and non-teaching staff members subtly legitimised sexual harassment.
The act of paying for exam passage with money, presents, or sexual gratificationsâcommonly known as “sorting”âbetween students (both male and female) was described. Although female students had the highest expectations in this practise, male students were required to pay money.
These academics and support workers name this practise “inconvenience allowance” with pride. As a result, pupils have a strong distinction between faculty who are “sortable” (make demands for fulfilment) and “unsortable” (do not).
The increasing instances of sexual harassment on campus by male academics, staff, and students are causing women students in Nigerian schools and universities to voice their concerns.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
investigating the impact of sexual harassment on university students' academic performance in Uniport is the study's main goal.
The study specifically aims to investigate;
The impact of sexual harassment on academic performance and evaluation scores among university students.
The impact of sexual harassment on academic achievement and class participation among university students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
How much does sexual harassment affect university students' evaluations, grades, and academic performance?
What impact does sexual harassment have on university students' engagement in the classroom and academic success?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses are hereby predicted to further the goals;
HO1: There is no discernible link between sexual harassment and students' academic performance or test scores.
HO2: The engagement in class and academic achievement of students are not significantly impacted by sexual harassment.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results of the study are expected to be extremely helpful for young people who are at risk of the negative effects of sexual harassment on their academic performance. They will also be extremely helpful for social media users in providing adequate information to the global scene.
The study is expected to be extremely valuable to researchers who are looking for information in a related sector. Last but not least, the study will be extremely valuable to instructors, their students, and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The study's focus is on how sexual harassment affects university students in Rivers State's academic performance. However, the study has some restrictions and limitations, including the following:
Research material accessibility: The study is constrained by the researcher's inadequate access to research materials.
Time: Because the researcher must balance the study with other academic obligations and exams, the time allotted for the investigation does not improve wider coverage.
Finance: Because the researcher has other academic expenses to pay, there aren't enough resources to support a greater scope of the research job.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
the process whereby two objects are forced to come into contact with one another
It entails unwelcome sexual advances or lewd remarks being made by someone (usually a woman) in a professional or social setting, such as the office.
Academic performance is a measure of how well a student, lecturer, or institution has completed their educational objectives.
a student at a university or other higher education institution.