LOUD WHISPERS: Hunting The Hunter

I would like to first apologise for the delay in posting this week’s Loud Whispers. I usually finish the first draft of my articles by Saturday evening, then I give it a few more reads and make corrections till it is time to post on Sunday night. I was very pleased with myself that I had managed to finish as usual on Saturday evening, in spite of the fact that I had a very busy week away in London, and Saturday was the only free day I had to get some things and see friends or relatives. My laptop shut down all of a sudden and when I tried to start it up again there was an error message that did not make any sense. Long story short I was separated from my laptop for two days so that the problem could be fixed. So that was two days of agonizing over how much data I would lose and how much could be salvaged. Fortunately, almost all of my files have been retrieved. I thought about what it would mean if the worst happened and I lost all my files. I would not even know how to begin explaining, especially to some colleagues I needed to send a report to. Imagine the ‘convenient’ excuse, ‘I could not send it in because my laptop crashed’. As Nigerian Christians say, ‘May it never be my portion’!

Over the past two weeks, Harvey Weinstein, founder of the famous Miramax film production company has dominated global headlines with stories about alleged sexual harassment and even sexual assault of aspiring actresses spanning many years. Allegations of sexual crimes against powerful men attract a lot of attention mainly because of the David and Goliath nature of the accusations. The accuser is the David (or Davina in these cases) and the alleged perpetrator is the Goliath. The Goliaths are wealthy, powerful and famous. Their accusers are usually the opposite. Sexual harassment, like other forms of sexual abuse, is almost always framed as a ‘He said’, ‘She said’ conversation. A struggling, unknown young woman aspiring to be an actress is very unlikely to be believed over and above an older business mogul who is not only wealthy and famous, but controls the fortunes of hundreds or even thousands who work for him. In 1991 the US Senate hearings for the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court Judge were turned into a sexual harassment tribunal. Unlike the profile of the usual victims, the accuser this time could not be swatted away like a fly. Anita Hill was a Law Professor and her claim that she had been harassed by Clarence Thomas when she worked for him was taken a bit more seriously. This did not however save Professor Hill from being demonized by unsympathetic politicians, the media and some of the general public. Even though Clarence Thomas was eventually confirmed, Anita Hill had won a victory not only for herself but for the thousands of women of all races who had suffered in silence for so long, too ashamed or afraid to give voice to their pain. Not only was shattering the silence part of the victory, employers both in the public and private sector rushed to adopt or strengthen sexual harassment policies. Where there are no laws there are no offences.

The story of powerful men versus vulnerable women is a universal one. In our own communities where patriarchal entitlement is reinforced with pillars of steel and concrete, people do not have time to listen to tales of women being sexually harassed by men. When I was an undergraduate at University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University), in my third year, I registered for a course in my department. A day after the first class on this course, I took a document to my lecturer to sign. He made a pass at me, and when I refused, he said he would wait and see if I would change my mind, after all I had just started the course. I was scared when I heard this, and I was not sure if what I had heard was a joke, a veiled threat or both. I mentioned my concerns to another friend who was in the same department but not taking his course. She told me there were stories about the man. After registration, you had up to two weeks to change your mind and register elsewhere. The next day I withdrew my registration from his class. When I was in postgraduate school, another old geezer tried the same trick. I reported him to my thesis supervisor who had a quiet word with him. Of course he denied the harassment, claiming he had only been joking with me. He however got the message and backed off.

The harassment is relentless, shameless and boundary-less. It does not matter where the location is. It could be a casting couch, classroom, family home, hospital, corporate office, music suite, place of worship, five-star hotel, men in positions of authority hold sway and believe that they are entitled to women’s bodies. At meetings with female politicians, there are always stories of their ordeals at the hands of randy political party operators.

Granted, there are a handful of women who have developed ‘short cuts’ to success but they are in the minority. Men too have fallen victim to a few ‘Cougars’ and there are also cases of older men who prey on younger men. However, the overwhelming majority of those at the receiving end of sexual harassment ranging from the most benign to rabid forms, are women.  Even though victims might have developed coping mechanisms to deal with the situation, the fact still remains that a culture of silence around sexual harassment and abuse guarantees impunity. When women are victims of sexual harassment or assault, they do not talk about it for all the familiar reasons – damage to their reputations, fear of repercussions, shame, the list goes on.

One thing about bullies is that they never think of a time when their victims will no longer be powerless and voiceless. When Harvey Weinstein was preying on young, ambitious actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, he probably never imagined that they would one day be powerful enough to name and shame him. There are so many women who have come forward with allegations to add to the ‘He said, she said’ mix, but the voices of Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth are some of the most damning of all, considering where they sit now in the hierarchy of Hollywood stars.

Now, just like Bill Cosby (America’s favourite father-figure and role model who allegedly drugged and abused women for years) and Dominique Strauss-Kahn (former IMF Head who was accused of sexually assaulting a maid in a hotel room) Harvey Weinstein’s chickens have come home to roost. He is in such a freefall, those around him who still care need to place him on suicide watch. He has lost the company he founded, his wife has left him and his brother shuns him. The industry that he bestrode like a colossus now treats him as a leper. Some might argue that this is all overkill and too steep a price to be paid over the tears of a few aggrieved women who should have moved on with their lives. No one is in a position to determine when victims of harassment or assault should ‘move on’. It might have taken so long but now, the predator is trapped in a cage. That sounds like justice to me. It should hopefully serve as a cautionary tale for the multitude of abusers out there. Those who cannot keep their hands to themselves, their trouser zippers up and their slobbering tongues in their mouths. Regardless of where they are located in the globe or what rung they occupy on the social ladder, I hope they are following Harvey’s case. The hunter never dreams of being the hunted. It is his worst nightmare. That is the fate that awaits all those who deprive others of dignity and respect. Have a great week and back up your computer files!

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

 

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19 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Hunting The Hunter

  1. Adeshina Oye October 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Ghen ghen! I am the first to comment. Really, I was wondering why we didn’t have it on monday, So sorry to hear this ma’am. These devices behave like ‘witches’ at times.

    This topic reminded me of a situation at my Fiance’s place of work. She couldn’t even speak because the man in question presented himself to be the most honourable man. She had to quit her job because he threatened her with a sack letter. It was when she left that she knew he had always been doing that with his female assistants. Anyway, she got a better one with peace of mind but the man is there. Untouchable!

    One day, he will be cut down like the rest of them. Have a good week ma’am. God bless You.

    Reply
  2. Phillips Mba October 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Awnnnn.. so, sorry to hear that mama. Thank God it’s all settled now. This whole sexual harassment thingie is so annoying. The painful thing is they will ask how the woman was dressed not minding that the mentality of the man has nothing to do with the dress sense of the woman.

    Reply
  3. Victoria E October 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Mama is just so wonderful. See her apologising for what is blessing our lives o. I will definitely back up my files asap! This topic is a blast. When women are oppressed by the mighty, they become harlots but this same harlots will deal with them well.

    I have had bitter experiences like Adeshina shared but at some point I had to fight back. I decided not to quit and not to be fired but for justice to take its full part and it did.

    Reply
  4. Aderanti Esther October 18, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Wow. I just discovered this site after seeing your post on instagram. This is a great place to learn, I must say. Every post has been worth the read.

    I am wondering ma, It won’t be a bad idea for you to go live on instagram to or facebook to talk about this menace. A whole lot of us are suffering severely because of this. We won’t be listened to because we are ants been trampled upon by caterpillars.

    Reply
  5. Adebukola Daniels October 18, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Not every woman is a slot. Some of us know our onions and we work hard for our money! Thank you ma. God bless you for sharing this and I am happy you have your laptop back.

    Reply
  6. Sharon Miller October 18, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Another masterpiece! This is real. Very real. These men lie under the fact that other women do this and do that. Not knowing that most of those women did what they did out of fear and desperation. One day, Karma will deal with their crazy asses.

    Reply
  7. Bisi Fayemi October 18, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you very much for all your contributions. Aderanti Esther, thank you for your suggestion about going live on Instagram and Facebook. I will discuss it with my team and get it done.

    Reply
  8. Olakunle Olajide October 18, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    One of the reasons i stay glued to this site. Been checking the site since Monday just to check what is on for feeding the mind. Many days for the thief and just a day for the owner which matters most. I hope this will instill courage to those being afflicted to say it as it is and let justice be served.
    I will backup am documents asap… Thank you ma’am.

    Reply
  9. Aderanti Esther October 19, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Okay ma’am. We shall patiently wait.

    Reply
  10. Bisi Alawode October 19, 2017 at 7:25 am

    You people have no chill ooo… Haha? When I was aiming at being the first to comment. Lol. Thank God your laptop is back dear mama.

    This case is very peculiar. I remembered when Cosby had his case we almost didn’t believe these ladies because we had the perfect picture in our hearts. We thought they wanted to drain his career and what he has done for himself so far. One thing we don’t realise is, it is difficult for a woman to talk about sexual harassment because it is emotionally draining but when a woman speaks that woman has had enough of the torture. We should support them when they speak rather than judge them unnecessarily.

    I am glad that woman spoke and gave all to fight for justice and most importantly, the other women stood by her. They were united to speak for their freedom and the freedom of other girls

    Reply
  11. Solomon Nkechi October 19, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Hmmm… that story made rounds in the media just like others. There is something I want to point at though, I think there are a lot of insensitive people in the media nowadays. People who just want to make name for themselves and who wouldn’t watch what they speak to find out the truth and know how to relay the message.

    It is annoying that the media has changed from what it used to be. It has really changed. It is now clouded with some sets of chatter boxes with no discretion whatsoever. Thank God for sites like this where we come to get sanity.

    Reply
  12. Amaka Obiora October 19, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I read this story twice. I could relate with it via my spirit, soul and body. I have heard mama speak and I have read her books too but going through this, I just couldn’t explain how I felt reading this. You bless lots of lives ma. Please, kindly let us know when you will be going live. Some of us have questions that have been eating us up with no one to share with.

    This is a gleam of hope for me.

    Reply
  13. kolade Wilson October 19, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Even men face the torture. My boss is a married woman who keeps me at work till odd hours. sends me cards and some love messages and all. The sex appeal from her is something beyond explanation and here I am, a young graduate that is so confused about what to do. We face it too and speaking up? No one will definitely believe me.

    Reply
    • Olakunle Olajide October 19, 2017 at 11:35 am

      This is very true bro, though not compared with the percentage of ladies being harassed. But if i may ask, what steps have you taken and maybe mama can be of help here. We just can’t say.

      Reply
  14. Olushola Aderanti October 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I am happy you have your files ma. Have a sweet week too. This is another wake up call for us women to stand by ourselves and check up on each other. We should stand against all these nonsense men with itchy scrotum and libido.

    On the second hand, even as you talk to your team about going live ma, please, I want to know what happened to my second favourite story place on the site, the madame K kiosk. It’s been off for some months ma and I am wondering what happened to our madame K.

    Well done, Abovewhispers

    Reply
  15. Femi Diipo October 19, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I have refreshed this page a million and more times before the last couple of days. Mama, so glad you got your system fixed. I can’t imagine another Monday without reading loud whisper first thing in the morning. And yeah, everyday is for the thief, there’s surely going to be one day for the owner. May all the hunters become hunted and the victimizers face the justice they so deserved

    Reply
  16. Dom dom October 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

    A lot has gone through my mind since monday when i was here all day and there was nothing.
    Mama, your dedication and consistency are exceptional. To be so excellent, amazing, thoughtful, inspiring and relevant week in and out is nothing but extraordinary. May you and great people like you remain celebrated while The evil perpetrators and sexual predators of this world be found out. Now this is a great week already

    Reply
  17. Perpetua Dandeson October 19, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    It is always refreshing and educative with you, Ma. I’m glad you were able to post this despite all odds. I shall take your advice and back up my computer files.
    I really do hope that men who still indulge in this preposterous act follow Harvey’s story. But why do some men feel they have the right to a woman’s body? A woman who isn’t their wife. It’s appalling.
    Women shouldn’t keep such threats or experiences to themselves.

    The hunter will be hunted.

    Reply
  18. Eric Onuoha October 20, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Wow! This article reminds me of a soap opera I just watched. The woman in the film was raped by 5 guys when she was a teenager. After 20 years, she became rich and powerful and hunted all the men that raped her.
    Now, not many abused women can do this because they don’t have the means to do take revenge on their abusers but I believe that justice comes, either divinely or humanly.
    To those powerful men who think they can mistreat women because of their power and think they are untouchable, all I can tell them is “Well Done Sir”. Though it may be delayed, their payday will surely come.

    Reply

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