5 Women Share Their Experiences With Workplace Sexual Harassment In Nigeria

| Her
March 5, 2020

Sexual Harassment is a worldwide conundrum for working women. But sexual harassment in Nigeria is hell. There are often no concrete structures for women to file proper complaints that will be dealt with.

To paint an accurate picture of the workplace sexual harassment problem in Nigeria, we asked five women to describe their experiences with sexual harassment in their jobs. Here’s what they said:

Sexual Harassment Nigeria

My supervisor was hounding me to sleep with him – Nneka, 22, social media intern.

It started with text messages. I thought they were harmless at first. Like he would just randomly send me a text to check up on me late at night, so I didn’t think it was a big deal. But they became quite suggestive and flirty. He would joke about having sex with me in the office and send me very lewd DMs. I didn’t want to come off as rude. A friend asked that I report it to HR, but we didn’t even have HR, it was a really small company. I didn’t know what to do. Omo, I was so distressed.

It was my first job after university — I was 20 at the time. It really affected me, especially in delivering at work. I was also afraid that he would rape me. At the end of the day, I left before my internship ended. I didn’t even resign, I just stopped coming to work. The memory still scars me.

Sexual Harassment Nigeria

He tried to kiss me during a work retreat – Dorcas, 29, lawyer.

I didn’t even see the signs that he was that kind of person. He was a very nice and helpful colleague. We were cordial. Then all of sudden, we go on a work trip and he tries to kiss me. He succeeded in grabbing my boob so hard it hurt. I reported to HR and the man asked me what I was wearing? The reaction to the experience changed my life, even more than the experience did: everyone started calling me names behind my back, saying I was trying to ruin a colleagues career. I still work there, but I know I’m on my way out. It’s not me they’ll kill.

He is very hostile to me, he says I know the solution – Bola, 26, office assistant

I don’t know what I did to this man, but he treats me anyhow. He complains about everything I do and embarrasses me in front of customers. I’m really tired. When he’s in a good mood, he says, “Bola, you know what to do now, you’re not a child.” He has never said it out loud that he wants sex, but I think that is what it means. No one warned me that this is what life is as a woman. If I had known, maybe I’ll better prepared.

My boss back in the day wanted the women to wear only certain kinds of clothes to work – Mrs John, 50, Banker

This was even before I got married. I once had a boss who thought he was at liberty to touch female staff as he liked. He actually treated us like we were his domestic staff, especially we single women — he would dictate that this is what we could wear, or this is what we couldn’t wear. He would tell us that our skirts were too long or that certain shirts didn’t suit our bodies. It was worse for us single women in the office. We were happy when he was transferred.

The worst thing my manager did to me was to send me nudes on WhatSapp – Chika, 32, product manager

The first form of sexual harassment was when he asked me the colour of my bra. I didn’t think it was a big deal because to be honest, I was already used to all the sexual harassment that comes from working in tech. Then my brain reset one day when I was talking to a male friend, and I realised this is actually sexual harassment. I wanted to report it, but a lot of time had elapsed between the time it happened and the time I realised. There was also the fact that I thought I encouraged him because I smiled and did nothing. I still feel like I should have reported it. That one went.

Then one day he just randomly sends me nudes. He said it was a mistake, but I didn’t wait before I reported it. It turns out that he had previously done similar things and had a record. He was fired this time and I was glad.

Sexual harassment in Nigeria is rife both in the University and in the workplace. People often say, “Just report it”, but it’s never that easy. We’re sending love to every woman that has experienced any form of sexual harassment.

• Names were changed to protect the identity of the subjects.

Ope

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Nigerian female lawyers
June 9, 2021

This week is one of those times where we, as a country, wonder if the constitution is simply a suggestion. Many lawyers have complained of studying and practising law in a lawless state. Like with most issues, women’s experiences take a unique form. In this article, nine Nigerian female lawyers talk about practising law in […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

November 11, 2019

Everyone has something to say about what kind of person they are. But how well do we truthfully evaluate these things? Not that much, I can assure you. The average person is always lying to themselves to make sure they look good. But you know what and who doesn’t lie? Zikoko quizzes that’s what. Take […]

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

More from Her

October 13, 2021

The subject of today’s What She Said is an 18-year-old firstborn who has already raised three children. She talks about spending her childhood raising her siblings, her dad’s obvious favouritism towards her brothers, and how she wishes her parents were more involved in raising their children.   Can you tell me the earliest memory of […]

What she said: Biwom
September 29, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is Marytonette ‘Biwom’ Okudare, a 26-year-old singer & songwriter. She talks about growing up as a tomboy, failing at convincing her parents to support her music career & struggling with being taken seriously because of her style.

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X