Today, August 19, 2016, we are proud to announce the one year anniversary of the Report the Abuse Project! https://www.reporttheabuse.org/ As of now, RTA has become an independent NGO based in Geneva, directed by the founder, Megan Nobert.
Here is a message from Megan today:
This release was originally intended to serve as an announcement of Report the Abuse publishing the first data on sexual violence against humanitarian and development workers, as well as highlight the publication of our first report.
In light of the news of the attack in Juba last month, we also want to use this space and time to highlight the continued necessity to prevent and appropriately respond to these kinds of attacks. What happened in Juba cannot be repeated. Sexual violence against humanitarian and development workers cannot continue – period.
From my desk to yours, thank you for supporting us through our first year. As we look to the future of both the organisation and the issue we address, Report the Abuse is hopeful and energetic. There is much to be done, but the momentum and drive to conquer it is strong.
Keep talking, keep sharing.
Founder // Director
One Year Anniversary
It has now been one year since Report the Abuse launched the Survey. It is difficult to believe that such a short time ago we were pressing start, a moment filled with nearly equal amounts of hope and trepidation. Our Founder and Director went into this project worrying about whether others would speak, worried that her experience was unique and lonely.
These concerns were quickly dispelled, as survivors came forward in droves. The number of survivors reaching out to RTA, and submitting their experiences to our Survey, ebbs and flows as people become comfortable discussing their experiences. As we continue to break down the barriers of silence around sexual violence against humanitarian and development workers, this will continue to increase. More voices will join the call for change.
The initial data from the Survey has been released today. We do not assert that this data is complete. On the contrary, we view it as a beginning place from which we can build and expand as more people become comfortable speaking about sexual violence. RTA is also actively working to engage with national staff members, to find ways to help them report acts of sexual violence. With the Survey now available in 30 languages – and growing thanks to incredible assistance of Translators without Borders – we are trying to break that barrier.
This is the beginning, and more information will help us to develop even stronger pictures of the situation facing humanitarians today. Stronger advocacy and policies will follow. Change will happen.
With the recent news of an attack on humanitarians in South Sudan, it is clear that this problem is not something that will go away.
The problem will not disappear.
We must demand action.
In addition to the releasing of our initial data, today we publish Report the Abuse’s first report: “Prevention, Policy and Procedure Checklist: Responding to Sexual Violence in in Humanitarian and Development Settings“
This publication looks at data collected during a research project over the past year, where we examined 92 different UN bodies, INGOs and governmental entities to see what response strategies, policies and procedures they had in place to protect humanitarian and development workers. As it turns out, only 16% of the organisations examined have any sort of protection or procedure to address sexual violence against their employees.
This information is startling. Highlighting the gap however gives us an opportunity to begin filling it, which is what this report begins to do.
By providing a Checklist, or simple, clear and concise actions that organisations – from the UN to INGOs to the smallest national organisation deep in the field – can implement, there are solutions that we use moving forward. Nothing on the Checklist in itself is extraordinary. However, together, all of the actions add up to work environments where employees are protected from sexual violence, where structures are in place to address issues should the worst happen.
Having structures is only as effective as the implementation of them, something that RTA will focus on in the future. But with few structures currently existing to address the problem, this is our starting place.
“To be honest, I didn’t even know where I could go. This had never been explained to me, and I don’t think the organisation probably even had a formal system. Some of the inappropriate touching and comments happened in front of the head of the field site, and he didn’t say anything, so I was at a loss and never reported it.” Anonymous Testimony