This petition is aimed at ending the problem of sexual harassment in higher educational institutions within Delta State in Nigeria. About 80 percent of female students in Delta State are at one time or another harassed by their lecturers and male counterparts. Rape in Nigerian universities has been described as epidemic. Even though the issue of sexual harassment in universities is widely known, many women and girls still refuse to talk about this issue due to cultural stigmas and norms that unfortunately make our girls the guilty ones rather than give them justice. Because there is a lack of policies to protect women from sexual harassment, the perpetrators continue to go unpunished despite harming our girls and women.
The issue of sexual harassment is an important one. Its effects can be long lasting and severely harmful to the community. It denies women equal protection and opportunities. The Nigeria Constitution clearly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (Articles 15 & 42), as well as %u201Cinhuman or degrading treatment%u201D (Article 34). Nigeria has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, by which it is bound. Sexual harassment in universities remains one of the last standing tarnishes on the reputation of Nigeria and it should be addressed immediately.
Authorities must pass and enforce laws to protect girls and women from sexual harassment, which is a form of violence. Deltawomen is asking the authorities to end the culture of silence around sexual harassment, and to outlaw any method or pattern of sexual harassment against women in educational institutions; demanding the creation of clear university policies to address sexual harassment, ensuring the safety of those students who report sexual harassment; and calling for the amendment and enforcement of laws and policies designed to protect women from sexual harassment in the Delta State universities. We want to bring equality and justice to women and girls in the Delta State who continue to face this terrible crime.