Assaulters often select victims who will remain silent out of fear of being judged by society or are ignorant of the law.
Rabat – In an interview with the Moroccan Think Tank Policy Center For New South, Naima Benouakrim, a member of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), revealed that sexual harassment and gender-based violence are widespread in the Moroccan university environment.
Based on the findings of an investigation she conducted alongside members of civil society in hundred Moroccan universities, Benouakrim revealed that verbal abuse and sexual harassment against university female teachers are prevalent by male colleagues.
“Some violations targeting women continue to be observed, in particular sexual harassment or verbal violence against female university professors, during the exam period,” the human rights activist said.
She added that even female students are subject to many forms of harassment from male professors during exams.
Benouakrim also spoke about the extent to which gender-based violence could go and its subsequent impact on victims. She said that it can lead to corruption and sexual blackmail causing serious psychological damage to victims that may lead to the end of studies.
Benouakrim denounced, however, the absence of certain mechanisms and means to adequately deal with harassment inside Moroccan universities and to provide assistance to victims.
The activist revealed that assaulters carefully choose their victims and only pick those who will remain silent out of fear of being judged or marginalized and those who are ignorant of the law.
She said that the victims prefer to keep things to themselves fearing legal and social consequences.
Highlighting the need to raise public awareness on the topic, the CNDH member denounced the lack of mechanisms to follow-up on the Moroccan state’s strategies and programs to combat sexual harassment and abuse, assess, and examine their efficiency.
Benouakrim concluded her interview by calling on the Moroccan government to effectively address gender-based violence and discrimination against women by taking rigourous political, judicial, and institutional actions to fight against the practice.