Sexual violence in humanitarian workplaces is not an emerging issue. On the contrary, it is a problem that has been quietly discussed for years.
Report the Abuse grew out of a call to action that became evident after Megan Nobert, our Founder, spoke publically about her own experience with sexual violence while working as a humanitarian in South Sudan. While GBV professionals, acting as counsellors or providing informal support to colleagues, have long known that sexual violence was happening within organisations, this knowledge rarely received the attention it deserved.
Our Founder’s public pronouncement was echoed by other humanitarian aid workers around the world, aware of sexual violence incidents being experienced in the course of their work – as survivors and concerned peers. This strength of voices forms the foundation upon which Report the Abuse was founded.
Our Founder’s public disclosure, alongside information about the sexual abuse of Kayla Mueller in captivity and scandals within the UN and other agencies, have forced humanitarian organisations to acknowledge that sexual violence happens in their workplaces. It has started conversations at all levels of humanitarian action – from the UN Secretary-General’s office to the most remote field site. It has resulted in discussions about how sexual violence can cause vicarious trauma to colleagues of survivors, affecting the larger working environment. The July 2016 attack on the Terrain Hotel in Juba further underscored the need to address the issue urgently.