FIGHTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN ACADEMIA

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USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza after unveiling the policy. (Photo by UN Women/ Sharon Macharia)

 

United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) as one of the universities in Kenya that has committed to spearhead the HeForShe Campaign showed their commitment to fighting sexual violence by launching their Sexual Harassment Policy. The drafting of the policy was prompted following the findings of the HeForShe inspired campus level survey to determine prevalence of sexual harassment and gender based violence. The policy details the universities’ mandate to provide an environment that is free of sexual harassment for both its students and employees. Through the policy, USIU-Africa intends to provide broader protection from sexual harassment within the framework of the laws of Kenya.

This was launched during a week-long HeForShe week organized by the HeForShe club from 5th to 8th June 2017 to promote gender equality in university. The week, was geared towards educating and sensitizing the campus community on gender inequality issues affecting the students, in a fun and congenial manner.

‘’USIU-Africa prohibits and strongly condemns any form of sexual violence committed by students or employees, whether on or off campus, ‘’reiterated USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza during the launch.

The launch themed Speak Out! Say No to Sexual Harassment! had a panel discussion which sat panelists from the legal sector, the drafting committee for the policy and Gender Based Violence experts from different organizations including UN Women Kenya. The discussions brought out the different forms of sexual harassment and gave the students a chance to have their concerns around Gender Based Violence issues addressed by the panelists.

Members of the HeForShe club undertook several activities within the university during the week including; conducting a trivia that contained gender related questions where HeForShe branded Merchandise was awarded to those who answered the questions correctly. The most interesting activity that was meant to change the mentality that specific jobs are meant for a specific gender, was having a tent where male students from the club conducted a manicure session. These activities created an informal platform for the students to discuss issues pertaining stereotypes, forms of gender based violence and the different gender roles.

The entire community at USIU-Africa is expected to sign the policy which will be available in hard copy and in the student’s portal online as their commitment towards its implementation.USIU-Africa HeForShe club will work closely with the universities management towards implementation of the policy.

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