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Campus should focus on safety, not students’ dress

each dress has a unique beauty.Whether it is a long robe, gown, nightwear, it remains sexy

The ruling patriarchy is once more at work at the University of Buea (UB).

Recently, the Director of Student Affairs; Dr Ludwig Metuge made a public announcement blaming the prevalence of sexual violence on campus on the ‘indecent’ dressing of women.

A majority of female students have experienced one or two forms of sexual abuse from male academic staff on campus, said Mr Che Eugene, a guidance counselor for the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, in an interview. These assaults often happen in the office and in lecture halls, when students are requesting make-up tests or extra lectures, submission of overdue assignments, and making other pleas to male academic staff. Mr Che said. .

And as long as these female students continue to dress suggestively, exposing certain body parts like the breast, legs, and shoulder- sexual violence is likely to be prevalent on campus, Mr. Che added.

So, in an effort towards preventing such crime on campus, the university authorities have implemented a stringent dressing code. Campus security men are given the ultimate power to send away so-called ‘indecently’ dressed students. In Dec 2011, this led to over 50 female students bullied out of campus. One of the security guard who sought anonymity said to me.

“Nov 25th, 9 am, on my way to class, I was stopped by the security guards and chase out of campus saying- my dress were indecent. Just because I wore a slim jean and a T-shirt” Mary, a second year student recalled her sad experienced.

UB fails to recognize that sexual violence remains a major security threat to humankind, particularly women. As well as, it is still one of the most widely unreported crimes, according to Amnesty International 2004 Publication on “Making Violence Against Women Counts”.

Even so, the fact is sexual violence can happen at any time-during armed conflicts and riots and even in nations with socio-economic and political stability.

A WHO Multi-Country Survey study on women’s health and domestic violence against women in 2011 stated that 70% of women between the age; 15 to 49 years in Ethiopia and Peru, reported being victims of sexual violence by an intimate partner.

Moreover, UB should understand that each dress has a unique beauty. This makes it sexy. Whether it is a long robe, nightwear, or shorts. These clothes are simply to ensure that their clients derive maximum satisfaction and contentment.

Ironically, University of Buea is conceived in the English-speaking tradition governing the fundamental rights of freedom of speech. Founded on moral and intellectual principles, and within the Central African region, it is accredited for excellence. So, instead of UB to continue wasting time and resources blaming student dressing, the university should focus on creating real solutions to stop this security threat whose actions have implications for the campus’ reputation, both locally and globally.

Contrary to UB, at least one ruling patriarch condemns the university’s claim and describes it as being a “flimsy excuse based on selfish motif”. “UB should respect individual rights, their dignity and choices”, said Mr. Nzume Mathias, chief of service for the Family Wellbeing at MINWEF- South West Region, Cameroon.

So, campus authorities should spend valuable moments thinking on how to address the issue of security, identify perpetrators of sexual violence, and provide justice to victims. This could be accomplished by creating an independent sector on campus that works to prevent sexual violence. The Discrimination and Harassment Office (DISCHO) -University of Cape Town in South Africa is a good model. But if a special committee already exists, UB should make it public to all.

In addition, it demands that UB adopt a sexual harassment policy purposefully addressing issues of sexual violence on campus. The policy should also be made clear in the student guides, public and accessible to all, including heads of academic departments and faculty members, campus clubs and associations, academic staff and student.

The classical ruling patriarchs’ ideologies—in this case, that the victims are to blame for sexual violence--must not prevail. Students’ deserve to have an educational environment where they feel safe and have the freedom to express themselves in what they wear.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Campus should focus on safety, not students’ dress

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

Second you, totally!

Dear Zioh
Yes, this ridiculous propaganda is quite often heard in India too. To tell you the truth, it seems to me the stupidest effort ever to hide the real criminals. We have a proverb - "trying to stop theft (of utensils) by eating rice off the mud floor" . This ridiculous diktat reminds me of that proverb. So good you pointed it right out. Give it to them who deserve the punch!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

zoneziwoh's picture

Ver stupid indeed

You are right. Such notion are so silly and stupid as well as it also tells us how ignorant some of our learners/ academics could be. It also challenges some of us (the women's rights advocates) to strategise our methods and improve or better our advocacy approaches. This is serious and must be address urgently.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dearest Zioh, Once again

Dearest Zioh,

Once again Congratulations for a Well done and a great topic of choice!

Cheers!

zoneziwoh's picture

Thank You dear sister

Many thanks. It is always nice reading and listening to your powerful feedback

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

usha kc's picture

Hi zioh,, you are absolutely

Hi zioh,,
you are absolutely true dear, I agree with your views.
love

zoneziwoh's picture

Hi

Hello dear sister, i am so happy to read from you. It is been long. Hope all is fine. Thanks for your support and it is always lovely and nice reading form you. take care

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Abigail Fern's picture

Glad you Chose this Topic

Hi Zioh,

Very glad you are bringing attention to this issue! Great article and good point that even what is defined as "sexy" or "revealing" is a result of the patriarchy and the way women are objectified. Why can't a woman wear a dress and it be seen as non-sexual? Regardless, this is just an excuse to justify the abuses happening on campus. I hope something changes, and soon!

Thank you for your article; a very important topic!

Love,
Abby

Many thanks Abby for highlighting on this. You are absolutely right. Reading your comment reminds me of one academic author who i have profound respect; Ratale. he writes so rigorously against ruling patriarchy and their biased action on women. He too views all these discourse of women sex etc as a social norm and not biological.

Thanks

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Carlotta's picture

Hey Ziwoh

What absolute rubbish from the UB authorities!! How do they justify babies in nappies and old women in long robes getting raped?? Rapists rape because they are evil criminals, not because of what women are wearing. And UB is just giving these criminals ammunition and a licence to rape! Good work and good luck Dear. i missed reading your articles.

zoneziwoh's picture

tal Nonesense

Dear Sister, ages long, How are you? hope all is fine.
I tell you, UB is running away from its responsibility. And in order to do so, the want to lay blames on the female students. Again, Patriarchy and its mischievous deeds. Always wanting to create opportunities that demean women and their status. This has to stop and we must put an end to all these misrepresentation against women.

Thanks for stopping by. it was nice reading from you

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

ikirimat's picture

There is always this stupid

There is always this stupid argument by men that women dress indecently that's why they are abused. But the question is how many abusers can remember how their victims where dressed when they were raped.Only about 1 % can remember. So the issue is not how the victims were dressed but it was a pre-conceived idea in their minds.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


zoneziwoh's picture

good question my sister

How many abusers can recall our their victims were dressed. Just a fake and nonesense excuse. It shows how stupid and unreal they are. Truely, they make me sick. we need to stop this foolish men's excuses.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Anne D.'s picture

Important issue

Hi Ziwoh,

You chose a topic that women everywhere can relate to. It's disheartening that this line of thinking, this victim blaming, continues. Thank you for writing about such an important issue.

Anne

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: Important Issue

Very sad, to sad. I wish we had a better mean to pressure for a change against such evil-thought. I truly wish there were better way to just alienate all men who think in that line- just quarantine them so where so far so that they would remain there and until they are clean before they can be brought to the society.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Dear Zioh,

If women are covered and wrapped in long flowing robes, perhaps one day this world would still say she was raped because her eyes were 'indecent' or her voice was ' tempting'!!

A man's desire for women has been always there, its different for a man to desire a woman and different to cross the line and abuse it!!

I have contempt for those who blame women who have been sexually assaulted/molested/raped on their dressing and conduct, it's a male justification that doesnt hold true, whatso ever!!

Thanks for sharing this article. It's thought provoking.

Love
Urmila Chanam

It takes just one to change many

zoneziwoh's picture

No excuse and never shall it be

Urmila, you just said it all. How best could I have put it. "There is never any excuse to put the blame on women" True!

Thank you!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Greengirl's picture

Dear Zoneziwoh

So glad I had an opportunity to read this piece.

I hope the UB Authorities get their acts together early enough and tackle the real issue, which of course lies with the men who hide under the guise of indecent dressing to harass their female victims.

How many men in shorts or hug shirts get raped by women or ladies or girls? I hope the truth you've shared will set the Authorities and the culprits on a right cause.

Olanike

zoneziwoh's picture

Defintely. Let UB admins get

Defintely. Let UB admins get their facts staright and address the real issue rather than twisting around. The real issue is there yet they pretent not to see it.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Vega Tom's picture

Thank you Zoneziwoh

Hi - sadly the language around blaming victims of sexual abuse and violence often hinges on blaming the victim here in the States as well. "What was she wearing?" is often a question. I have been harassed walking down the street, or had men attempt to pick me up as a prostitute, while I've been wearing baggy pants and hooded sweatshirts and overcoats, in no way suggestive what-so-ever. The more we cover our bodies, the flimsier the pretexts for harassment: a flashed ankle, a wisp of hair? It's absurd.
Thank you for your voice and your suggestions of corrective actions. I hope that some day men can be at least as responsible for the behavior and invested in the respect and safety for all, as women are for their own safety and that of their communities.

Vega

wao! can you imagine! even when one wears a rope, just like what our sister Urmilia Chaman said.
Its indeed irritating to hear such foolish statement when there is suppose to be applying severe measure.

Thank you for sharing your experience

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

mrbeckbeck's picture

Victim blaming

Once again, very well done Zi'woh! This is such a great op-ed because it confronts a ridiculous policy.

Victim blaming will not solve the problem, and in fact makes it worse for the women on campus. I hope that the policy shifts toward telling men not to harass! It's their responsibility, not women's.

Thanks for sharing,
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

zoneziwoh's picture

a ridiculous policy for sure

This is indeed a ridiculous policy. And just like to said- blaming isnt a solution. There is need for more oriented action. Thank you Scott. I always appreciate your comment

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Liz4peace's picture

Men who blame women

Hi Zoneziwoh,

Just read your piece about the goings on at your university. I guess men are the same all over - behaving badly towards women and then blaming the victim. In a hot climate like Cameroon, maybe the solution is to blindfold men so women can dress appropriately for the climate, rather than having to cover up their bodies so men won't be tempted to assault them. It's interesting, too, that the men who seem to be the problem are in positions of power relative to the victims. Nothing new under the sun - sorry to sound so cynical! I hope women at UB wise up, band together, and demand respect for their gender!

Keep telling it like it is!

Liz

zoneziwoh's picture

my sister Liz, i tell you

my sister Liz, i tell you these men are not serious in their complain. And also i agree UB women should standup. it's time to make the diference for themselves

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

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