Essay on Sexual Harassment in Higher Education

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Sexual Abuse in Universities

Sexual issues and their consequences, in general, are considered as controversial topics since ancient times, and to this day it has not been agreed on the extent to which they are tolerated or dealt with firmly and severely. Whereas it is viewed from several aspects, such as the social, religious, customary, and philosophical perspectives. During the different historical eras, the fight against prostitution was one of the most important issues that successive governments were trying to solve in order to stave off the danger of moral decay and family disintegration and also to prevent the spread of immune diseases such as AIDS. As a result, many governments resorted to intimidation and imposed harsh punishments on the guilty such as flogging, burning, imprisonment, and even execution. On the other hand, civil society organizations, in cooperation with sociologists, have developed scientific and thoughtful plans to deal with the issue of sex and its consequences in a manner away from physical and psychological violence, such as allocating sums of money or privileges to people who maintain their virginity until their marriage. In other words, enticement methods were used in addition to some Legal and social deterrents. But it was and still is difficult to deal with the libido. Perhaps one of the most important consequences or phenomena that resulted from this issue is the issue of sexual abuse, which has become widespread in universities.

Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear, or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear, or post-traumatic stress disorder. While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors 'especially group therapy appear effective' (Alan E, 2000). Whereas in Canada and many other provinces, there have been cases of sexual assault by the professor, especially the assault on girls on campus, which led to a noticeable increase in the number of legal notifications by victims, which in recent years occupied social media talk (Quinlan, E., Quinlan, A., Fogel & Taylor, 2017). However, this phenomenon is not considered new in the university atmosphere. As a result, feminist students in the United States of America made great efforts to legislate laws within the higher educational institution that take into account the issues of assault and harassment that many girls are exposed to in Canada and other countries that witness a great spread for this affliction (Bergeron, M., France, M., Hebert, M., Ricci, S., 2019). Besides, most of the professors and students, with a percentage ranging between 78.4% to 92.1%, stated that at least one incident of sexual violence on campus is caused by a male, and these statistics show the rates of sexual violence for men against women (Powell & Henry, 2014).

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In West Africa, the phenomenon of sexual exploitation is so widespread among students and professors that it has become accepted among the university community. For example, the student forces the female student to have sex with him, otherwise, they will not succeed in their courses. Unfortunately, this custom has become very self-evident, even if the girl is married and has children. Worst of all, her family and friends encourage her to surrender to her professor in order to obtain a university degree under the pretext of the pressures of life and the difficulty of living (5). While in South Africa, there is a growing fear of a rise in cases of sexual abuse and violence against female students in universities since 2012, and in 2016 a list of the perpetrators of the offenders was published at Rhodes University, which led the Ministry of Higher Education to take the matter more seriously, and thus TVET worked in 2017 by signing a working document To adopt a special policy to deal with harassment and assault crimes on campus. (6)

To sum up, sexual abuse is not a temporary phenomenon that can easily be solved, it is required a lot of unremitting efforts between civil organizations, and local institutions for human rights with the collaboration of victims. Moreover, the legislation of strict laws to reorganize and limit the relationship between a professor and a student, in addition to that, society plays a vital role in deterring violators and not accepting them in society and even referring them to psychological treatment in addition to punishment.

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Essay on Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. (2023, October 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from
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