One in every two female students and one in every four male students has experienced a form of sexual harassment from a member of staff in Kenyan Universities, according to a survey done by ActionAid in partnership with UN Women.
In a bid to break the silence on sexual harassment and advocate for the development and implementation of new, and improvement of existing, anti-sexual harassment policies in Kenyan universities and colleges, on Tuesday ActionAid in partnership with UN Women launched a campaign under the hashtag #CampusMeToo at the University of Nairobi.
“Sexual harassment targeted at students in higher learning institutions in Kenya is a deeply ingrained issue. It continues to undermine human rights and unfairly deprives the youth of Kenya a safe environment in which they can thrive, innovate and contribute positively to their personal and educational development,” said Macrine Ondigo the project coordinator.
Sexual harassment rife in African Universities
Kenyan institutions of higher learning like in most African countries are a den of sexual harassment where students are most often forced to endure degrading sexual harassment in exchange for grades.
University of Ghana was recently rocked by a sexual scandal after two Ghanaian lecturers were caught pants down sexually harassing undercover BBC reporters who had posed as students.
In 2015, a female student at Kenya’s Moi University was raped and killed on campus. A 2016 study found that more than 50 percent of students at the University of Eldoret had been sexually harassed in some way.
In October 2017, at the University of Nairobi, officers from the General Service Unit, a paramilitary wing of the police, were accused of sexually assaulting female students when police stormed the university during election-related protests.
Early this year “Me Too” movement, took the internet by storm and added pressure to authorities to address sexual harassment, something Kenya may finally be catching up to.
Originally founded in 2006, “Me Too” movement became prominent both online and in the mainstream in late 2017, when multiple high-profile actresses opened up about their experiences with sexual harassment in the film industry. Since then, the movement has provided a source of solidarity for women from all backgrounds who have experienced sexual harassment, most often, though not always, perpetrated by a male colleague.