The irony of the scourge of sexual harassment at institutions of higher learning is that it reflects how young women are disempowered in environments that are meant to empower them and prepare them for a future as significant contributors to the development of their nations.
As pervasive as sexual harassment is in colleges and as much as measures have been put in place to address the problem, it is still associated with silence and shame, particularly for the victims. Sexual harassment often goes unspoken, survivors do not receive the help they need – and are even subject to victim-blaming, while perpetrators go unquestioned.
SAYWHAT (Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team), a Zimbabwe-based organisation that addresses the sexual and reproductive health challenges of students and young people, has broken the silence with a documentary on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.
The documentary, A Thigh for a Mark, shares the perspectives and experiences of young women from institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia on sexual harassment. By speaking out, these young women are fighting this and other forms of sexual and gender based violence. Opening up dialogue is the first step towards taking action against sexual harassment and ensuring the safety of young women in their spaces of learning.