Emotionally laden denials and angry threats of lawsuits are the least effective approaches to charges and accusations of sexual harassment. Neither is the criminal act of sexual harassment about the physical touching of either the plaintiff or the victim of such unwanted sexual advances, as Prof. Ransford Edward Yaw Gyampo, Head of European Studies in the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, would have his primary audiences at home and the rest of the world believe (See “ ‘I Didn’t Touch Her; Sit Up or You’re Useless’ – Gyampo to BBC as He Threatens to Sue” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 10/8/19). Indeed, the best and most responsible and effective refutation of any charges and/or accusations of sexual harassment is to provide forensically sustainable counterevidence.
It is an old grievance; I mean, this widespread accusation of the criminal and professionally unethical solicitation of sexual favors from, especially, female students by male faculty at our flagship academies, is not only common in Ghana and the African continent but, in fact, all around the globe. However, it is of crisis proportions in many a Third-World country because of the rather morally and culturally regressive attitude towards human sexuality in the developing countries, as was recently witnessed in Ghana on the critical question of the salutary introduction of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) into the Elementary and Middle School or Basic School Curricula. The Akufo-Addo Government had to quickly abandon this otherwise healthy and cost-cutting initiative and seek lame shelter in vehement denial, largely in fear of losing the popular mandate in the 2020 general election.
This flat refusal to confront the basest, as well as the most vital instincts of our humanity, may very well haunt Ghanaians and similar behaviorally regressive cultures in the foreseeable future. We ought to expect more alleged victims to come public very soon in corroboration of the decidedly progressive audiovisual sting investigative operations of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Already, one alumna of the University of Ghana by the name of Ms. Dela Goldheart has allegedly come public claiming that, indeed, Prof. Gyampo used his leverage over the awarding of grades to solicit unwanted sex from Ms. Goldheart, while the latter was a student at Legon, as Ghana’s flagship academy is popularly known. Even short of a critical mass of past victims of the solicitation of unwanted sex in exchange for good grades coming forward, the fact still remains that “entrapment” or not, the audiovisual evidence produced by the BBC clearly points to the rampancy of the criminal incidence of sexual harassment on the campus of the University of Ghana and other flagship academies in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Now, what needs to be done is the conduct or implementation of a “comprehensive” review of how Legon’s sexual harassment policies are being enforced by University Administrators. This review process is, of course, apt to be fraught with a lot of serious contradictions, especially in view of the apparently widespread existence of this seamy subcultural underbelly. But, needless to say, such academic cultural contradictions ought not to either stop or slow down the urgent and imperative need for our citadels of national and continental brain trusts from creating or inducing a healthy environment for the production of the requisite and direly needed knowledge for the rapid development of both Ghana and the African continent at large.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
October 8, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]