This study examines the incidence of sexual harassment and its psychological impact among female students at one of the Nigerian higher education institutions in Rivers State. Poverty and poor peer influence are also significant contributors to sexual harassment in colleges and universities. Fear and distress were ranked as the most significant psychological effects of sexual harassment on victims.
This problem has catastrophic implications for people, Nigerian higher education institutions, and the Nigerian labor market. 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, a well-equipped security unit, the establishment of telephone hotlines, and the training of school counselors.
Context of the study
Sexual harassment consists of unwanted sexual advances, sexual favor requests, and other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual character. It is a disease that is gravely destroying academic brilliance in our Nigerian tertiary institutions.
It describes the numerous workplace behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment. The first two provisions address unequal power dynamics between employer/supervisor and employee/subordinate. In exchange for job perks, the employer or supervisor requires sexual gratification from the employee or subordinate. In the academic setting, it may be claimed that a similar situation exists when faculty members solicit sexual favors from female students in exchange for favorable examination results.
The third provision refers to the existence of a hostile work environment in which the infringing conduct interferes with an employee’s ability to perform satisfactorily on the job. Fitzgerald, Gelfand, and Drasgow (1995) added three empirically-derived situations to this definition:
unwanted sexual attention such as 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 refers to verbal and non-verbal behaviors (such as jokes, taunts, gestures, and exhibition of pornographic materials).
Tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been plagued by, to name a few, indecent dress, secret cult activities, and drug misuse. The majority of female pupils are nearly naked, exposing their navels and breasts while wearing minis that barely cover their bottoms and large cleavages that reveal the size and shape of their private regions. These are a a mass distraction and sexual harassment weapons.
Certain pupils are so morally bankrupt that they rely solely on their femininity to “pass” their exams. They lure fellow male students or examiners to help them write exams or grant them passing grades, if appropriate. The general reduction in the quality of graduates produced by Nigerian higher institutions may be attributable to the general growth in social vices in Nigerian university institutions.
An examination of the quality of graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions based mostly on a series of questions posed to major employers of Nigerian graduates as a means of measuring graduates’ level of preparation and performance on the job revealed a decline in graduate quality (The Scholar, 2001). In addition, there is a widespread belief that sexual harassment is endemic on most or all university campuses in Nigeria and that the phenomenon has increased over the past decade (Ladebo, 2001).
Sexual harassment is an all-too-common aspect of daily life in higher institutions, and it is regarded as one of the most pervasive and pervasive forms of gender-based violence that many women confront daily. In higher institutions, sexual harassment is multifaceted, not necessarily unidirectional, minimized, unreported, and regarded as a major moral and social problem.
It may occur between male professors and female students, male students and female students, male lecturers and female lecturers, and non-academic employees, among others. In the majority of cases, sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is perpetrated by male academic staff members, while female students are at high risk. This tendency is astounding and troubling in an environment that is commonly regarded to be a center of brilliance, a breeding ground for future leaders and thinkers, and a place where they are shaped and filtered.
Sexual coercive actions include unwelcome sexual contact, such as slapping the buttocks of the opposite sex, stroking the breast, scratching or separating the back of the opposing sex, and grabbing their waists. Genital coercive actions also include being misled into having sex, attempted rape, real rape, fondling of the sexual organs of the opposite sex partner, and unwanted sexual jokes, statements, conversations, and gestures.
Noncontact abuse and other sexual activities, such as molestation, harassment, forced watching of pornographic material, repeated requests for dates, threatening text messages, arousing gestures, and indecent exposure, are also included. Other types include intimidation and verbal coercion.
According to Omoteso (2006), sexual coercion can be classified differently based on the situation in which it takes place and the identity or qualities of the perpetrators. Types of sexual coercion include date acquaintance sexual coercion, marital or spouse sexual coercion, gang sexual coercion, sexual coercion of children, statutory sexual coercion, jail sexual coercion, war sexual coercion, and transactional sexual coercion.
Female sexual coercion is not a fresh phenomenon, as evidenced by the aforementioned revelations. This was most prominently expressed in the biblical tale. In a study conducted among University students in Ibadan by Ajuwon, Olaleye, Faromoju, Ladipo, and Akin-Jimoh, (2001a) on the sexual coercion of University students, 15 percent of the students reported forced sexual penetration, 27 percent reported attempts at forced sex, and 44 percent reported the experience of unwanted sexual activities, indicating the magnitude of sexual coercion among females in universities.
These findings demonstrate that females are the victims of sexual coercion, leaving them with life-altering physiological, emotional, psychological, and social consequences (Heise, Moore,,,,, and Tobia). It could harm the emotional and academic well-being of students, cause reputational harm to individuals, and exacerbate conflicts among students, so contributing to an unwelcoming learning environment.
Bandura (2005) opined that both young and old female university students could be sexually coerced due to characteristics that are common among female university students in general, such as indecent dressing, friendly gestures such as parting buttocks, pecking cheeks, embracing, and other sexual acts, and indecent dress. Fergusson,
Horwood, and Lynskey (2007) noticed that coercers are typically within the same age range as their victims. However, he emphasized that there are instances in which older men engage in sexual coercion of younger women. Young female students in their teens and early twenties, according to Humper (2008), are disproportionately represented among sexual coercion victims worldwide.
They are the target of older guys, particularly those in personal relationships, and they gain sex through force and deception. In this category are also their boyfriends, co-students, instructors, administrative officers, cult members, and men in authority who, according to the researcher, force young female students into unwanted sexual interactions.
In their study on violence against women, Omorodion and Olusanya (2008) found that young women are the most common victims of sexual coercion around the world and that certain forms of sexual coercion are closely associated with younger women’s trafficking and exploitation, which are also forms of sexual coercion. Watts (2008) observed that because older women are always cautious in their relationships with men, they are less likely to be sexually victimized by men. Males are physically stronger than females, according to observations.
Females in this age bracket may lack the strength to respond strongly to avert violent scenarios that typically result in sexual coercion. According to Fawole, Osungbade, and Faweya (2008), violence expresses dominance; he asserted that the use of physical force by males following other activities gives males the advantage to sexually compel younger female students.
As a result of gender imbalance, males typically assume that females may be controlled and traumatized through sexual dominance because of their innate docile, submissive, and vulnerable character. In their study on violence against women, researchers such as Omorodion and Olusanya (2008) discovered that the majority of younger females find it difficult to make strong decisions regarding sexual matters, which often leads them to the risk of sexual coercion.
Although Akinlolu (2009) has demonstrated that the majority of university ladies who are sexually forced are unmarried, the unmarried are not tagged and are therefore free to engage in any type of sexual conduct with whomever. In her study, Osakinle (2003) found a significant difference between the sexual coercion of married and unmarried female students.
The fact that a female student is unmarried allows males to interact with her more freely than with a married female student; therefore, unmarried female students are typically more susceptible to sexual coercion than married female students. Akinlolu (2009) observed that some female students who had lovers at the university and afterward married another guy while still attending the same university may have been subjected to some type of sexual compulsion by their former partners.
According to Lavinger (2008), unmarried female university students are more likely to encounter intimate partner abuse than their married counterparts. Unmarried female students who are subjected to sexual coercion may have fewer options than married female students, whose marital status affords them greater legal protection.
In Nigerian society, wives are jealously guarded; the husband of a woman who is sexually pressured could pursue legal action, which could result in the coercer losing his job if he is an employee. If the perpetrator of coercion is a student, he may be expelled. Based on the distinctive views of university female students, it was determined that any woman, regardless of marital status, may be sexually compelled.
1.2 Description of the issue
Female college and university students in Nigeria have distinct experiences with sexual harassment at the hands of male academics, staff, and classmates. Although sexual harassment is a worldwide phenomenon that affects women of all ethnicities, ages, and hues, Nigerian women are subject to more elusive forms of harassment.
The Nigerian culture does not understand the concept of harassment and hence does not view it as a violation of women’s rights or an act of evil. In Rivers State, for example, teaching and non-teaching staff indirectly legitimized sexual harassment.
The practice was described and commonly referred to as “sorting,” in which students (males and females) bribe their way through exams with money, gifts, or sexual favors. In this practice, male students were expected to pay money, whereas female students’ primary expectation was sexual satisfaction. These teachers and staff members refer to this practice as “inconvenience allowance” with pride.
Therefore, students affectionately categorize faculty members as “sortable” (those who make demands for satisfaction) and “unsortable” (those who do not). Therefore, female students at Nigerian schools and universities are alarmed by the growing incidences of sexual harassment by male academics, staff, and students on campus.
1.3 Aims of the Research
The study’s overarching purpose is to examine the impact of sexual harassment on the academic performance of university students at Uniport.
Specifically, the study intends to examine;
The impact of sexual harassment on the assessment grades and academic achievement of university students.
The impact of sexual harassment on the class engagement and academic achievement of university students.
1.4 Research Concerns
What impact does sexual harassment have on the evaluation scores and academic achievement of university students?
What is the impact of sexual harassment on the class engagement and academic performance of university students?
1.5 Scientific Hypotheses
In support of the aims, the following theories are advanced:
The effects of sexual harassment on students’ assessment ratings and academic achievement are negligible.
Sexual harassment has no major impact on class participation or academic performance.
1.5 Importance of the research
After the study, it is anticipated that the findings will be of great benefit to the youths who are exposed to the dangers of sexual harassment’s impact on their academic performance; the study will also be of great benefit to the users of social media in providing adequate information to the international community.
It is anticipated that the study will also be of significant value to researchers in need of data on related fields. In addition to being of tremendous importance to lecturers, their pupils, and the general public, the study will also be of considerable use to professors and the general public.
1.6 Range and constraints of the study
The scope of the study is the influence of sexual harassment on the academic performance of Rivers State university students. However, the study contains the following constraints and limitations:
Time: The time allotted for the study does not allow for a broader scope because the researcher must balance the study with other academic activities and exams.
Finances: The available funds for the research project do not permit a broader scope, as the researcher must also pay for other academic expenses.
1.7 Terminology Definitions
The process of one object forcibly colliding with another.
It entails making unwelcome sexual advances or making obscene comments (usually to a woman) in a business or social setting.
Academic performance is the result of education, indicating the extent to which a student, instructor, or institution has attained their educational objectives.
A prestigious educational institution where students pursue degrees and scholarly research is conducted.
A student in a university or other institution of higher education.