It’s been a mad week already. And its just Wednesday. I was minding my own business planning for the exhibition on November 25th and to move my things out of storage when Hollywood blew up over the Weinstein allegations.
A tweet by my sister Ms. Afropolitan triggered me to bring up the sexual harassment and assault that is prevalent in the humanitarian sector especially in Africa. Chi Onwurah MP and Sean O’Neill, reporter with The Times took notice. Apparently they had been investigating allegations against Oxfam GB for while. They both got in touch.
In 2010 I was a victim myself. Read all about it here. I tried to ‘fix it’ (because that’s what social entrepreneurs do, I recall Jim Greenbaum telling us while at Ashoka.) Samuel Musa my assaulter and Oxfam GB fixed me instead and I lost my job with them as country director in Nigeria. They told everyone then and persist to say my dismissal was based on performance issues. Not a good recommendation in any sector.
I am so disillusioned with the sector. Sexual assault and cover up are the least of the problems. The sector is awash with bad practices. A lot of them financial. For a long time I thought Oxfam GB let me go because I was exposing too much of the muck.
Read Sean O’Neill’s stories here, here and here. I been barely following the reaction to the stories I’ve been so busy moving. I’m still trying to decide whether that is good or bad. Its been seven years this month since Oxfam GB dismissed me. I am thrilled that finally someone listened and paid attention. I am thrilled that the whole issue of sexual assault in the humanitarian sector is being given the attention it deserves.
What would I do differently? I would call the police immediately. Apparently if I had done that they could have accessed the CCTV evidence at the hotel but what did I know? It was my first time in the UK. They could have questioned dozens of colleagues that were in the hotel that night.
What am I going to do now? I’m still thinking about it.
Meanwhile help me tell OxfamGB to #DoTheRightThing and #BeHumankind