A double-edged sword?

"A course that many people had A, he gave me a C. I just decided to let sleeping dogs lie and concentrate on my studies", a student said.

"He told me to come back at 7:30pm. And I told him I have lectures AND HE TOLD ME TO MISS my class. Then gave me his number and told me to save it as my name too. My phone kept on blinking and he was so nervous and scared and he told me hope I am not recording him. I was frightened throughout the day, even when we were going to write exams, thinking he was going to recognize my face, but fortunately enough, he couldn't recognize my face. I've been going for his lectures without he even knowing and remembering what happened the same day", Mary told Pulse.com.gh.

Mary seemed lucky as thousands of mostly female university students in Ghana have faced even worse situations at the hands of some lecturers, teaching assistants and other university staff. Many have been forced to face the option of giving sex for good grades or declining to lose grades.

Some lecturers have failed students repeatedly for refusing to yield to their sexual demands.

And Nadia is one of such students. She believes she lost some grades because she turned down a proposal from her lecturer.

"A course that many people had A, he gave me a C. I just decided to let sleeping dogs lie and concentrate on my studies. It started with an IA, after checking the IA and everything which was bad, I took it for remarking, and he told me at a point that the IA looked good, but he wasn't going to do anything about it".

Other victims of sexual harassment who have refused to give in to the sexual demands of their lecturers are pestered constantly on campus, as Lydia, a level 300 university explains.

"He tells you to come to his room at odd hours even though there is no light. When he meets you outside, he will still be asking you why you wouldn't come to his room".

While sexual harassment in universities is mostly viewed from the angle of male lecturers chasing  after female students, little is often spoken about female students deliberately seducing male lecturers, mainly for better grades.

Dr. Evans Aggrey Darko is a lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana. He says he has been approached by female students who wanted to trade sex for good grades.

"But of course, I'm not a novice, and when somebody demonstrates that willingness, I see them. We need to have a certain moral capacity. “ Dr. Aggrey Darko said. “We are all human beings, we get attracted you know. Anybody who says he doesn't see things in a system is a hypocrite or a sycophant."

In spite of the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assaults on Ghanaian campuses, many of the victims confessed that they were neither aware of where to go nor whom to approach when lecturers or teaching assistants harassed them.

Several of them expressed a lack of faith in the ability or willingness of their university management to provide justice in cases of sexual harassment.

They feared being victimised if they reported.

Last year, five lecturers of African University College of Communications, were reportedly asked to proceed on leave over an explosive sex scandal, featuring one Matilda Wilson, a level 300 AUCC student and some lecturers in the school. This was after the agreement between them to adore her with good grades turned sour.

This is just one of the few instances where action has been taken in a sex for grade situation; perhaps it is because it became public.

Several concerns have been raised as to how the menace can be curbed in the Ghanaian society.

At the University of Ghana, for instance there is the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, CEGENSA which deals with sexual harassment complaints.

And there is also a Gender unit at UPSA which handles some of these complaints of sexual harassment

Some anti-sexual harassment campaigners have said managing sexual harassment should focus on changing behaviour.

Other strategies advocated for involved empowering vulnerable members of the university community, with direct target on students.

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Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh