Jordan university sexual harassment sparks national conversation | News

Amman, Jordan – Inappropriate messages, flirtatious feedback, and bodily sexual harassment – the allegations towards a professor on the Jordan College of Science and Know-how (JUST) started as a trickle, however shortly become a deluge, first on-line, after which on nationwide media.

#TechnoHarrasser – because the case turned identified – went viral at first of June and finally led to the physics professor’s suspension from work, and a referral to Jordan’s prosecutor common’s workplace for additional investigation.

The case has shocked Jordanians, each due to the variety of college students who determined to share their accounts of alleged sexual harassment by the professor, but in addition as a result of it has led to a wider debate concerning the prevalence of sexual harassment in Jordanian society.

Seba Al-Taamari, a 21-year-old second-year scholar at JUST, has launched a number of college students’ accounts of alleged harassment from the professor on her Twitter account.

Al-Taamari informed Al Jazeera that she had obtained accounts from former college students going again so far as 2006, highlighting how lengthy the alleged actions had been going down.

The sun illuminates part of the city and the national flag of Jordan
JUST spokesperson Raed Tal stated the college was unable to talk on the matter, attributable to an ongoing ‘energetic investigation’ [File: Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

The professor, in response to the posts, would require feminine college students to satisfy him privately in his workplace the place he would typically try to sexually harass them.

An nameless scholar informed Jordan’s Roya tv the professor had “insisted” she come to his workplace and that she was “verbally harassed”, noting she had textual content messages as proof of the incident.

In a stay dialog with Roya on June 5, one other nameless JUST scholar informed how in the future after a lecture, the professor touched a scholar who ready to ask questions “in probably the most delicate areas of her physique”.

The accused professor additionally spoke to Roya, denying the allegations, saying he had been “subjected to a fierce marketing campaign by the scholars”, that the movies and posts that had been shared have been “fabricated” and that he had “by no means touched anybody”.

‘Breaking the silence’

The marketing campaign is the primary time Jordan has seen a motion towards sexual harassment at this scale, stated Salma Nims, the secretary-general of the Jordanian Nationwide Fee for Ladies (JNCW).

It’s “breaking the silence”, Nims informed Al Jazeera.

Nims famous that previous incidents which have led to discussions about harassment have both concerned clear bodily abuse or have been “very nameless” tales the place you would “not pinpoint” who had been accused, in contrast to within the JUST case.

For the reason that hashtag went viral, college students have shared testimonies of sexual harassment with a committee the college created to analyze the case, together with testimonies of harassment dedicated by different school members.

A 22-year-old JUST scholar, who requested that her title be withheld, informed Al Jazeera she had shared her case of bodily sexual harassment with the committee. The coed stated a professor, throughout her first yr on the college in February 2020, had “put his hand in a delicate place”, however that she had not reacted on the time as a result of she “was shocked and afraid on the identical time”.

The coed stated she had been warned by her friends to not inform the college – a choice she modified her thoughts about after she noticed the accused professor on tv.

“I informed myself, why do I’ve to maintain silent?’ the coed stated. “If I didn’t communicate up, I’ll remorse it for the remainder of my life.”

She added that JUST had supported her and that “many college students” additionally lately come to the committee with tales of harassment.

“This [harassment] shouldn’t be one thing uncommon in universities or within the streets, however that is the primary time individuals are speaking about it in Jordan, on this manner – in a very robust manner,” the coed added.

In response to a request for remark from Al Jazeera, JUST spokesperson Raed Tal stated the college was unable to talk on the matter, because of the ongoing “energetic investigation”.

Worry of talking up

A 2017 JNCW examine (PDF) on harassment in Jordan discovered that 68.7 % of respondents had skilled bodily sexual harassment and that just about 90 % had skilled nonverbal and verbal sexual harassment.

Nonetheless, the “overwhelming majority” of respondents had not submitted a proper criticism towards the perpetrator and for many who did, “usually” the authorities had refused to observe by way of on the complaints attributable to a scarcity of proof, in response to the examine.

“It is rather tough for ladies to go ahead and communicate up,” stated Nims.

The time period “sexual harassment” shouldn’t be included in Jordan’s penal code, which leaves the method “sophisticated” and the authorized definition of sexual harassment unclear in Jordan’s legal guidelines, she stated.

Nims additionally famous that there are seldom efforts to teach college students about harassment in Jordan’s universities, contributing to a lack of awareness as to what truly constitutes sexual harassment.

Al-Taamari stated all the scholars who despatched her their accounts of harassment requested to stay nameless. “They’re afraid of their households and of their professor and of college tradition, every part…” she stated.

The accused JUST professor has filed complaints to the police division concerning the allegations made towards him. Al-Taamari stated she is certainly one of 13 college students with defamation complaints towards them for his or her social media posts focusing on the professor.

The professor argued that some college students might have been offended after failing exams, which led them to launch a marketing campaign towards him “in revenge”.

Nonetheless, Nims stated, “in a rustic like Jordan the place largely the sufferer is blamed for being harassed, it’s actually uncommon for a scholar to do that for blackmail. Few college students would expose themselves”.

The nameless 22-year-old scholar famous her considerations over how society would view her if she determined to publicly speak about her case.

“Sure, many individuals will stand by me, however the majority will blame me,” the coed stated. “I hope will probably be higher for later generations.”

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