Building transparent, firm and fair systems, establishing accessible structures, formulation of all-inclusive policies and the political will to ensure implementation were some of the advocacies made by stakeholders as ways of stemming the tide and combating the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence in tertiary institutions.
Speaking on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, at a One-day Consultative Meeting on strategies for combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Higher Institutions in Lagos State, organized by the University of Lagos in conjunction with Northwestern University, Illinois, U.S.A., the gathering, according to the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services; Professor Folasade Ogunsola was meant to foster a workable mechanism among Ivory towers on modalities to address social issues.
Citing the BBC Africa Eye report which indicted two academic staff of the University of Lagos, Prof. Ogunsola bemoaned the possibility of an under-reportage of several cases of sexual harassment and the culture of silence in some quarters, a development which she said, affects the public image of many public institutions in Nigeria.
In her remarks, the incumbent Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services; Professor Ayo Atsenuwa adjudged the gathering one which is aimed at instituting an environment free of sexual and gender-based violence.
Prof. Atsenuwa who also gave instances of sexual harassment buttressed the need for every stakeholder to pay closer attention to its dire consequences especially on the victims and the risks it poses to the integrity of processes, systems, institutions and the larger society if left unchecked.
There were presentations by Professor Abigael Ogwezzy-Ndisika of the Department of Mass Communication and Dr. Abiola Akinyode-Afolabi of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.
Prof. Ogwezzy dealt exhaustively on sexual and gender-based violence in higher Institutions, its dimensions and its psychological impacts on victims while Dr Akinyode-Afolabi spoke on the Legal and Policy Framework on Sexual Harassment.
The duo hailed the heightened awareness on sexual and gender-based violence in higher institutions and the significant improvement in the number of tertiary institutions with policies to address it.
The meeting featured a panel session where representatives of the institutions present took turns to elaborate on their institutional framework and policies against sexual harassment, share their experiences as well as the challenges in handling incidents of sexual and gender-based violence in their institutions.
Delegates at the one-day Consultative Meeting which was hosted at the Academic Publishing Centre of the University of Lagos were from the four public institutions in Lagos State namely; the Lagos State University, Lagos State Polytechnic, Yaba College of Technology and the host institution, University of Lagos.