[metaslider id=”2799″]Sexual abuse of school children by teachers is a worrying occurrence in schools at all levels of education. Pupils and students in Basic, Primary and Tertiary institutions continue to fall victim to such elements in our learning institutions.
According to apa.org “Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” “sexual abuse is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact” pandys.org
It is worth mentioning that, the Ghana Education Service Code of Conducts indicates the duties of teaching and none teaching staff of the service as follows.
Being responsible, maintaining high standards of behavior and conduct. Ensuring learners are brought up properly.
The physical, mental, moral, religious and spiritual upbringing of the children of Ghana in school is the duty of the teacher.
Also, staff of the service are to avoid any form of violence against both boys and girls that may lead to sexual, physical or psychological harm.
However, sexual comments are sometimes made by teachers to their learner, some male teachers also sexually touch their female students, and some have the gut to defilement and rape the innocent girl.
It will interest readers to know that, the Ghana Education Service Code Ethics is an excellent manual.
The rules on Sexual Violence are captured under section 8 of the code as follows
- No teacher shall directly or indirectly do anything that may constitute sexual harassment of a pupil/student.
- Any teacher who has carnal knowledge of any female or male pupil/student of any age, with or without his or her consent, shall be guilty of professional misconduct.
- No teacher shall compel any female or male pupil/student in his or her school or in any educational institution to marry him or her with or without the consent of the child’s parents.
- No teacher shall have any carnal knowledge of any pupil/student in his/her own school or in any educational institution with or without his/her consent.
- No teacher shall serve as a go-between or knowingly suffer any female or male pupil/student in his/her school or any other educational institution to resort to or be in or upon a premise for the purposes of carnal knowledge by any person or by himself/herself
- No teacher shall cause or encourage the seduction, carnal knowledge or prostitution of or the commission of an indecent assault upon a pupil/student.
- No teacher shall detain any pupil/student for immoral purposes.
- No teacher shall by false pretenses or false representation procure any pupil/student to have any carnal knowledge with him/her.
- A teacher shall not apply or administer to or cause to be taken by any pupil/student any illegal drugs, matter or thing with intent to stupefy or overpower him/her so as thereby to enable the teacher or any person to have carnal knowledge with such pupil/student
- No teacher shall publicly or in secret willfully commit any acts of indecency towards any pupil/student.
- It shall be the responsibility of any teacher who directly or indirectly gets to know of the occurrence of any of these acts to report it to his/her immediate superior.
- A teacher shall intervene to stop a pupil/student from perpetrating sexual abuse or violence upon another pupil/student.
- No teacher shall directly or indirectly, instigate, aid, or in any manner facilitate, encourage or promote whether by his acts or presence or otherwise any of the above-named acts.
When children are abused sexually, it means the act has been performed on a child by an adult or the child is the one suffering the abuse
Again, teachers who sexually abuse pupils or students may sexually touch anybody part of the child, they may encourage children to engage in sexual acts or direct any discussions they have with the child to sex.
In the past teachers with bad intentions ask their female students to carry their books to their house. They take undue advantage of the situation and sexually assault the learner.
The codes of conduct for teachers is consistent with the laws of Ghana. This means that teachers who engage in these acts will not go unpunished.
Parents have a role to play in the protection of the girl child who often suffers sexual abuse than their male counterparts. When the long arm of the law catches up with teachers who indulge in this act, society expects it to deter like-minded teacher but that is often not the case.
Teachers have been jailed, demoted, relieved of their post, transferred and have worked for up to two years without pay as punishment for sexual misconducts. Yet the act goes on unabated.
In recent years, leaked sex tapes between head teachers and students have gone viral, defilement cases against teachers have ended up destroying their careers. The honor lies with teachers especially the men to revisit their code of conducts before the 2018-2019 academic year commences.
In the school community, the teacher is to the transferee of knowledge, motivates, leads and helps students or pupils with their school work in general. This brings learners into contact with their teachers on a daily basis.
Each day, school children go to school, their safety and well being is supposed to be the concern of teachers and the school. Teachers who are to ensure the safety of children may end up abusing them sexually. Very often, the female pupils and students are those who suffer sexual abuse in the hand of the male teachers.
There have been instances where teachers make advances toward their students by intentionally touching sensitive parts of the body of such girls. In some cases, teachers may even cane such girls for not responding to the advances of their male teachers.
Fact: Sexual misconducts by teachers have been in the news several times and there has never been a year without such misconduct in Ghana.
The teachers who usually abuse students sexually are male teachers. In Ghana, there has been several disturbing instances in which teachers have lost their moral discipline and had sexual relations with their students.
The Ghana Education Service Code of ethics frowns on any form of sexual advances by any teacher on the learner. Both trained and untrained teachers in public and private schools are expected to be role models to their students. Some of these educators have drugged the name of the profession in the mud for long.
Effects of Sexual Abuse on the Student
Victims of sexual abuse suffer depression, shock, fear and or disbelief in the interim. The long-term effect includes but not limited anxiety, fear of males in general or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our education system from basic school to the tertiary need well trained and resources counseling centers. Parents have a role to play in the wellbeing of their children, Psychologist and counselors trained in the field are needed to man such counseling facilities to help provide psychological interventions for survivors.