Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI), a non-governmental organization, has onboarded 50 female student leaders from the University of Abuja as ambassadors for its survivor-centred reporting tool on sexual harassment prevention and response, Campus Pal.
The event, tagged “Close-Out Session on Amplifying Female Students’ Voices on Sexual Harassment, Prevention, and Response,” was held in partnership with Voice Global in Gwagwalada, Abuja, in a bid to encourage victims of sexual harassment to speak up.
The Program Director of Gender Mobile Initiative, Olawunmi Okupe, said they are embracing technology and other advocacy approaches like bystander intervention in tackling sexual harassment as a lot of victims, especially on Nigerian campuses, are afraid to speak up.
Okupe added that the initiative and its Campus Pal application have aided and increased the reporting of sexual harassment and other related issues across Nigerian campuses.
“We noticed that a lot of victims are scared to actually speak up about harassment, so we thought of creating the Campus Pal app that conceals the identity of the victim to report sexual harassment of female students on campus anonymously.”
“We have onboarded all the institutions in Nigeria on the Campus Pal app so that students and victims can register and report harassment-related cases without compromising their identity, with the aim of strengthening the voices of young female students,” she said.
Okupe noted that over 1,000 people have downloaded the application, seven of the cases reported on the app have been dealt with, and the culprits have been prosecuted.
She added that while the cost of education is increasingly high, victims should not be forced to pay the price of harassment.
Meanwhile, the program manager for Voice Global, Ishita Dutta, said sexual harassment is a critical and global issue, as one out of every three women in the world in their lifetime faces sexual violence of some sort.
While decrying the increasing rate of impunity on the issue of sexual harassment, Dutta assured their organization’s support and continuous partnership with the Gender Mobile Initiative to empower young girls to find their own voice and become change agents in their communities.