Atinuke is a 25 years old girl who had a polio crisis at birth. This affected her legs, not permitting her to try out a lot of stuff as a child. She defied all odds and still bagged a degree in computer science.
During her teenage days, she developed so many hips that further affected her movement. She could walk but only with a crutch. She never saw her condition as a deterrent to achieving her goal as an IT expert.
After her B.Sc, she badly wanted to go for her Master’s degree and a Ph.D. program. Still, she was faced with a severe financial crisis which made her opt for a job at a law firm to serve as a computer operator and content writer while she ran other online jobs to raise funds for her education.
Fate didn’t play out well as she had already spent three years in the job without saving so much. Her solace was Mr. Oyinbo, a father figure to her in the organization. He always urged her to remain optimistic and supported her financially.
Things got rough for Atinuke when Mr. Oyinbo was transferred to another branch outside the state. He was replaced as her boss with Mr. Imole Deji. Mr. Imole never seemed to like anything Atinuke does, and in this, he always commented vulgar words regarding her appearance with emphasis on her hips.
This made Atinuke uncomfortable but she couldn’t speak up as she felt since he hadn’t touched her, he isn’t a threat.
One Friday morning, Mr. Imole handed over a pile of work to Atinuke to edit, develop and also publish, giving her a deadline of 8 hours.
“I’m so sorry, Sir, I may not be able to conclude this work before the close of work today? Can I carry this over and submit it by evening tomorrow?”
“where you deaf when I said I needed this done in 8 hours?”
“No, Sir. I am sorry. It’s just that this job requires time, and I can’t possibly hit a 10000-word count in 8 hours.”
“Either you submit this work this evening, or you won’t leave this office.”
Atinuke felt terrible, but she had to remain quiet. She got back on her desk and began work. It was past 5 pm, and she hadn’t achieved half of her word count yet; she went into Mr. Imole’s office to update him.
“Sir, I’m so sorry, I haven’t gone far with the job, and it’s past office hours,” she said.
“Don’t worry, Atinuke, I am not in a hurry to leave the office today. We will stay till you’re done.”
“Shhhh, return to work at once.”
Atinuke went back to her desk to continue work. It was past 7 pm, and the entire building was quiet.
She kept at it while Mr. Imole was still in his office. Moments later, he came out and went to her desk. Coming very close to her, he whispered in her ears, “How is it coming?”
“I’m making progress, Sir.”
“that’s my girl, well done.”
“Have I ever mentioned that you are about the most hardworking lady in this office? Considering your condition and you are also pretty.”
Atinuke kept mute, and she was getting tensed by the comments Mr. Imole made.
He came even closer, “you smell like a rose; what perfume is that?”.
“I’m sorry, Sir, but you’re making me uncomfortable.”
“Oh, sorry,” he said as he covered the screen of her laptop.
“Sir, why did you do that?”
“Shhhhhh, say no words.”
He ripped off Atinuke’s dress; she couldn’t run or fight. As he made his way to punch her to knock her out, he was hit from behind. The impact was so much that he passed out.
Mr. Fred, the security man, had intervened.
“Thank you, Sir,” Atinuke said to Mr. Fred.
“Don’t mention, Imole hasn’t had a good track record with female staff in the past. When you mentioned that he asked you to stay extra time, I couldn’t leave. I had to stick around. Hurry now, let us get you home.”
What lessons can you draw from this story? Please share your thoughts with us. What should be done about the menace of sexual harassment against disabled ladies and young women?