A former student of University of Cape Coast, Nana Abena Korkor Addo has recalled how a lecturer of the institution relentlessly pestered her for sex during her period of study, with a threat to mess up her grades should she decline. Korkor in an interview with Ghanaweb, although refused to mention the name of the said lecturer, stated that she could have kowtowed to the demand if she doubted her ability to excel in the examination – stressing that persons who succumb are either not sure of their prowess or lack the confidence to reject the offer.
“I remember when I went to UCC, my first year. I met a gentleman who was telling me he was a lecturer. I didn’t have problems with my grades but when he tried and didn’t get the opportunity, he actually told me one time that ‘when you come back to school next semester and you realize your grade has been tempered with, that is when you will see my worth’,” she narrated. “It’s something that goes on. And there are people who do not have anybody to speak to. There are people who get traumatized.
There are women who love sex and all but when you’re a woman and a man you’re not attracted to, you do not love, you don’t want touching you, actually touches you and forcibly has sex with you, it makes you feel powerless. It’s traumatizing. You’ll live with that for the rest of your life. If you’re not fortunate to get therapy somewhere along the line, you become a different person.
“There are people who may be contemplating suicide because they feel trapped… When I go back to my first year in UCC and picture the situation, if I wasn’t somebody who was already good in class, and if I didn’t have university experience already, I would have felt helpless. I’ll just succumb to the man’s wishes and I’ll be suffering,” she added. Her statement comes on the back of a documentary by BBC on sex for grades. The said report is part of a year-long investigation into sexual harassment by professors at the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana.
In the midst of the brouhaha, Korkor has suggested it is not enough for the public to behave like ostriches; rather, there should be a probe into claims of sexual harassment and offenders subsequently dealt with accordingly. “Girls have to be empowered so they can speak up. It also means the system is not transparent or free and fair. When I write my exam, somebody cannot just get up and alter my grade. In some cases, you have to go for a re-mark but this is the same person you have to go to.
There should be systems that work that students can report; not that I will report and ten lecturers will gang up on me that ‘you’re spoiling our business’,” she said. Meanwhile, the University of Ghana has interdicted Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor after being implicated in the documentary. They are expected to be hauled before the University’s Anti Sexual Harassment Committee to assist with internal investigations.
Prof. Gyampo who has denied any wrongdoing has said he is ready to cooperate with the committee. “I’ve received the message and I have accepted it as it is. I have always argued that the University has its own internal mechanisms so I am happy that they used their mechanism to handle this matter. Being asked to step aside, in my view is a fair thing to be told to do. They are going to investigate you so you cannot be the same person at post so I think it is a fair thing to be told to do,” he told Citi FM.
“I accept the decision. I pledge my full cooperation to the committee. They have not invited me but I am sure in a couple of days they will invite me. I will submit myself to the process. Given the fact that the committee of people whose credibility cannot be questioned, I know they will do a good job so that I can have the chance to go and do what I like doing; talking to students and also bringing whatever I have researched to bear on issues of governance and national politics,” the political science lecturer remarked.