A victim of office rape and abuse? Not how I imagined my first job

  • amaka

    I stood at the entrance of the building for one minute just to reassure myself of the reality of my new job. I felt this peaceful chilling breeze on my skin that brought the sense of new beginning, happiness and the thought of why I deserve to be here. I could not believe I was going to work! You know the feeling when you are asked where you are working and you are proud to call your company’s name. Yes, no more waking up in the morning confused of what to do because you have ran out of options. My joy was seeing the relief on mum and siblings faces. To them, the hope of living a better life has come.

    I walked with all pride into the building. The receptionist directed me to the HR unit. I waited for a long time before the head of the unit told me I was to be working directly with the MD.  My heart dropped because I did not want to be a failure because the MD was very mean to me during the interview. In his own words '' I don't think you have enough experience”. I braced myself up to the challenge that I will prove him wrong. Thankfully my first week into the job, he was on official trip to Japan.

    The week of grace was over meaning the MD was back. The hell I never thought existed on earth except when you die started. He kept pilling different task on me, probably to see if I would break down but I saw it as a challenge to improve my skills. As if that was not enough, I started closing late. As long as he was still in the office, I was not permitted to close for the day. I complained to someone in HR, all I got was “he is the MD, he has the right to tell you when to close”.

    With all the stress in my mind, my consolation was my ability to provide the basic need for my family. Weekend was the only time I had to spend with my siblings (because I work late). Sometimes I wished the weekend should continue because with each Monday, I felt pain and shock like the whole world was on me. I guess it was the fear of being anxious of what the task of the day will be.

    Just when I thought it won’t get any worse than what I was facing, I received a mail from the MD that some departments including me will be working half day on weekends. For the other departments, I could understand why they needed to work weekends for 3 months. This was in other to meet up with the deadline of changing our system. In my case, there was a need to prepare all the report for stakeholders meeting which holds every Tuesday and he wanted me to be the one planning the report. The truth is that planning stakeholders report was not part of my job description although I had an idea of how the report is prepared. On the brighter side, I said to myself at least extra income via overtime.

    One month had passed since I started coming to the office at weekends. On Saturdays, I often try to resume early (7am) so that I can close by 12noon. However, on Sundays, I resume after service because that was the only convenient time for me.

    On this very Sunday due to church activities, I went to the office around 3pm. Many staff had gone home. It was just me and two other staff members in the IT department. Around 5pm, the two staff in IT department left but I kept working. At about 6pm, I decided I was going home irrespective of any query I might get for not finishing the report. Just As I was stepping out of the building, the MD drove in for the first time without his driver. He asked if the report was ready, I replied almost. He said, come in for 15mins and show me what you have done and I will continue from where you stopped. I was happy 15mins is not bad I can spare that time.

    The 15mins became 30mins and then one hour. He order food for the both of us but I was not interested, all I wanted was to go home. His office and mine had a frosted glass that separates us, so you cannot really see or know who is inside. At this point, he started coming into my office every 5-10 minutes to see if I was on track and each time he came, he would be explaining to me how he wanted the report to be, I notice his left hand was always on my shoulder. I tried as much as possible to adjust my body so that his hand will go off my shoulder.

    Finally by 8pm I was done. I submitted it to him via mail.  As I was about to leave the office, NEPA took the light. Normally it takes about 1 minute or less for the security to switch to generator knowing we were still in the office.  After about 3 minutes, I called the security unit and I was told the generator was refusing to start, that they are trying to fix it. I passed the massage to My Boss and told him I was leaving.  As I made my way out, he asked me to check that all light switches were off before leaving.

     I went department by department checking and switching off the lights. I was at HR department about to turn off the switch when I felt two hands grabbing me, turning to see who it was, alas! my MD, I quickly asked him to put me down. The struggle and screaming were endless until he succeeded. I did not go to work for one week. I called to say I was sick. I was determined to report him, but the question was to who? No one will believe me, I might even get sacked. My mum noticed I was not ok, all I could do was to lie that it was malaria. I resumed work with the hope of filing my case but I needed a witness. I remembered seeing the security man from a distance standing behind a door as I cried and left the office that night, although he pretended not to have seen me. At lunchtime, I went to see him and I asked if he saw anything that happened the previous Sunday, all he said was “Madam I beg just forget about that day and I no wan lose my job”. Feeling miserable, I confided to a trusted staff member but all I got was the same reply. Looking back from where I was coming from and what my family had been through and the better life they were having now, I kept silent with shame. I continued my job as if nothing had happened. Six month after that incident, the MD sent in resignation letter. I thought to myself, this was the best opportunity to arrest him now that he is no longer with the company. Every attempt I made was futile. The police said I had no concrete evidence and I did not have enough money to pay a good lawyer.

    It is over five years now, and I can tell you that the circle still exists. Where newly employed (men and ladies) staff are been abused and no one is speaking out because no one wants to lose their job in this harsh economy. The last time I tried to defend a young Lady who was abused, I almost got sacked for it. To tell you the truth, I feel disgusted that I am still working with company but thankfully, I will be leaving soon.

    The sad thing is that sexual abuse is against my company’s code of ethics and there are consequences for anyone that is caught but the truth is that, no one is willing to report and even when you try to push, you might get booted out of the organisation.  One day I will surely fight back and I pray this corrupt system stops.


    I am grateful to the owners of this forum for creating a platform like this.

    922 days ago

  • Nana

    What a shame. This is what we women go true everyday and no one is speaking about it. If i were you, i would never have given up. It is never too late to pursue the case if you want to.

    922 days ago

  • Gworthason

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have a friend who is going through the same situation but she won't speak out. I do not blame her, it is this sheet society I blame. if we all learn to be brave and forget what the society will say, justice will be given to all rape victims.

    920 days ago

  • sibi

    Women should speak out no matter the level of threat they face. If they keep bottling up they will keep being victimised

    869 days ago