#MeToo Hits the Humanitarian Aid Sector

By Oxfam East Africa (A mass grave for children in Dadaab) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, PRI’s The World ran a story by NPQ’s senior investigative correspondent Amy Costello about sexual abuse in the humanitarian aid sector. Over the past few months, we have learned about patterns of abuse that affect people living in conflict zones, where aid workers have exploited vulnerable populations. Now, Amy brings to light the stories of women working in aid organizations who were sexually assaulted by their colleagues, whose efforts to report the incidents and seek help were met with indifference or even outright hostility by these organizations. This story is part of a series that exposes the failure of the humanitarian aid sector to protect and support its staff in the wake of widespread sexual assault. Parts two and three of Amy’s PRI series are also now available to listen to below.

Analyzing the Oxfam Scandal

Amy discusses the scandal surrounding the famed British charity, Oxfam, which has been under intense scrutiny ever since it was reported that one of its country directors hired prostitutes in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti:

 

Three-Part Series on Sexual Abuse and Harassment Among Aid Workers

Part I: How Big is the Problem and Why is Harassment and Abuse So Rife in the Sector?
Part II: The Special Risks Faced by Aid Workers of Color
Part III: UN Inaction and Where Do We Go From Here?

After Violent Assault, This Former Aid Worker Found Little Relief from UN

Amy interviews Shannon Mouillesseaux, who was violently assaulted a decade ago in Sri Lanka while working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The attack itself was deeply traumatic. But Mouillesseaux says the way she was treated by UNHCR in the aftermath was even more damaging.