One faithful morning, ten years back, I was on my way for an interview. While in a public vehicle, I met up with a classmate I have not seen for over five years. We talked throughout the journey, and I told her I was on my way for an interview, hoping this time around, I will get the job.
A lady closed to me laughed and remarked that you must be ready to give out something either in kind or cash to have a job in this country. I turned and looked at her, and then I asked, what do you mean? Then she opened up. She told me she would mention neither the name of the company nor the human resource manager.
She had an interview with an audit firm. When she got there, the HRM welcomed her, and they talked for a while about the job she would perform if cleared. He later left his seat, approached her, and touched her cheeks, caressing her hair down to her laps. She took his hands off her, but he reached out to rub her breast. Feeling disgusted with what he was doing, she pushed him and immediately headed for the door ending the supposed interview abruptly. He then remarked, it is effortless for you to have this job; meet me up at any hotel of your choice, and the job is yours. She left the room and has since been running her business supported by her brother. I asked why she did not speak up to condemn such an act so other young girls would not be victims. She said, “I was not ready for any drama”.
She was fortunate enough to have had a brother who had the wherewithal to support her. The probing question on many minds is what other women would do when they do not have a support system to provide them with an alternative livelihood.
The advice to all my beautiful sisters, mothers, and daughters is to open up to a friend, sister, mother, or any relative when we encounter sexual abuse. We must eradicate sexual harassment in our community.
That happened ten years ago, and it is still going on where men treat women as sex objects, and our opinions are treated with contempt. We sacrifice a lot in our home, work, and society to put smiles on our loved ones’ faces. We are the pillar of this society. We deserve to be respected. The fight against sexual abuse is a collective responsibility, and all hands should be on deck to weed out the ill.
The writer of this article, Mirabell Ayuk Tiku is an Accountant by profession and a member of the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) Network, Cameroon Chapter. She recounts a story on sexual harassment towards women a decade ago. You can contact via firstname.lastname@example.org