The Centre for Gender Issues in Science and Technology (CEGIST) on Tuesday October 29, 2019 organized a sensitization seminar titled “Shifting boundaries: Sexism and Violence in Dating and Relationship among Students” at the Hilltop Auditorium of the University. The main aim of the seminar was to alert female students about the dangers inherent in cohabiting, immoral affairs and other relationship vices that can truncate their academic pursuit. While speaking on the theme of the seminar, the guest speaker, Dr Olabisi Igbalajobi, said through fear and intimidation, African men have this dominance of more power through the use of controlling tactics against women. In retrospect, the stream of violence seems not to dry up as the distributaries are already in Nigerian universities.
In reference to the subject matter she described dating violence as a behavioral pattern in an intimate relationship that is often used to establish power, influence and control over another person in the relationship adding that violence in dating relationships comes in form of emotional, sexual, verbal, psychological, mental and online abuse. She said the increase of co- habitation among students has led to the prevalent rate of domestic violence as most of these young couples are not mature enough to handle the intricacies of relationship dynamics. Highlighting the signs of an abusive relationship she pointed out that isolation, jealousy, over protection, intimidation, controlling behavior, financial control, restriction, belittling of achievements, dominance, humiliation, threats, denial and blame are the red flags to watch out for in a relationship. She encouraged female students to speak up and look for someone to confide in when they find themselves in such situations. She warned that the chances of depression are high in an abusive relationships and this can lead to a mental break down and subsequently affect their academic career negatively.
In his opening remarks the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor development, Professor Philip Oguntunde said female students in Nigerian Universities are known to bear most of the brunt when their relationships go awry; through unwanted pregnancies, emotional, physical or sexual abuse and even financial abuse. The Vice Chancellor said that the seminar would address these pressing issues and curb the number of female students who are daily threading paths that are injurious to their wellbeing and their purpose of coming to the university to further their education. He said “the female gender is looked up to, as the builders of our society; they are the molders of generations to come. The university management cannot afford to sit by and not provide every support necessary for you to blossom and attain greater heights”.
Speaking at the seminar, the Acting Director, CEGIST, Professor Sade Omoba said the menace of male -female cohabitation among university students and the immediate and future consequence of such have become issues of serious concern to individuals particularly clergy, parents, guardians, counselors and mentors. She said “there is no better time to call our female students to the awareness to shift boundaries with regards to dating relationships with the opposite sex. Many promising lives have been cut short as a result of lack of caution in dating relationships.” Omoba stated that the aim of the programme is to decrease considerably the costly implications of borderless and uncultured dating which have terrible downside effects such as shameful abandonment of promising academic pursuits because of unwanted pregnancies, some ending up with low grades and ultimately dissatisfied and problematic marriages.