A Massive ‘Sex for Grades’ Scandal Is Being Exposed by Women on Instagram

As an economics lecturer in Morocco is jailed for two years, women in the #MeTooUniv movement are looking to bring more perpetrators to justice.
January 14, 2022, 12:19pm
Seats in an empty lecture hall. Photo: Hill Street Studios via Getty Images. Young woman using smartphone against building in city.
Seats in an empty lecture hall. Photo: Hill Street Studios via Getty Images. Young woman using smartphone against building in city. Photo: Maskot via Getty Images

Campaigners are celebrating in Morocco after a lecturer was jailed for two years over a sex-for-grades scandal that is rippling through the country.

On Wednesday, an economics lecturer at Hassan I University, near Casablanca, was found guilty of indecent behaviour, among other charges.   

He was sentenced to two years in prison, having been accused of giving students good grades in return for sexual favours. 

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The accusations of teachers up and down the country have been propelled by #MeTooUniv, a movement led by Instagram accounts that have collected testimonies and encouraged women to report their cases. Numerous members of staff have been suspended across the Moroccan cities of Settat, Tangier and Oujda. 

Screenshots shared with VICE World News appear to show one teacher calling a student sexy and asking for a blowjob in return for good marks.  

“If the students don’t answer the messages, they block them on the networks or even worse, make them repeat the year,” said Sarah Benmoussa, who runs the Instagram account @7achak.maroc, one of the pages leading the campaigning, which has over 50,000 followers. 

“Many of them have been victims of sexual assault, touching, moral harassment through insults such as ‘whore, slut, bitch’.”

Benmoussa said the imprisonment of this lecturer is “great news” and hopes more students will now be encouraged to hold their teachers to account.

“We are asking all students to trust us and file a complaint, or if they are afraid, to give us the case. We have many people who can help us through our coalitions.”

Yesterday four other lecturers from the university appeared at a preliminary hearing also accused as part of the sex-for-grades scandal. 

Sonia Terrab, an activist who has long used Instagram as a means to invite testimony through the page she co-launched @moroccan.outlaws.940, attributes the current campaign’s success to a growing willingness in Morocco to submit stories via Instagram DM.

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“When we launched this hashtag #MeTooUniv, people were used to sending us testimonies. From the day we began two years ago, we’ve received over 1,000 testimonies about everything we do, like the articles of the law that refer to premarital sex, abortion and the LGBT community.”

Terrab said she has received over 100 testimonies from all over Morocco for #MeTooUniv – not only from universities but also high schools and colleges. 

Benmoussa said that their plan now is to send all the testimonies to the Ministry of Justice, who will set up a listening unit and analyze all of the existing complaints. 

Back on Instagram, she is already preparing for their next inundation of accusations.

“Qui est le suivant?” Benmoussa asks, leaving a message box in @7achak.maroc’s Stories: Who’s next?