-- Sexual harassment and other forms of abuse against
women has become a nightmare for young women in South Sudan as
they strive for career mobility in a highly patriarchal society.
Dozens of hardworking and entrepreneur
young women who spoke to Xinhua on Monday recounted how some
predatory men at workplaces often undermined their quest for
As the conflict and economic crisis in
South Sudan enters its fifth year, many young girls are not only
bearing the burden of war but are also being discouraged from
attaining financial independence due to abuse and
Mary Tabu Martin Junudio, told Xinhua
in Juba that she was forced to quit her job because of sexual
harassment from her male bosses.
The 24-year-old was pensive as she
narrated how she deflected inappropriate overtures from her
bosses and often contemplated quitting a well-paying job to
preserve her dignity.
“I have worked for several
organizations and as a girl. I have faced so many challenges in
my lone of work. Dozens of my supervisors have always made
sexual advances on me and I detested their behavior very much,”
As a high school graduate, she has
been working very hard in order to raise university fees and
achieve her lifetime dream.
“I am urging male bosses to stop their
untoward behaviors that often crash the dreams of young women.
I’m determined the break silence and lead a movement against
sexual harassment in the workplace,” said Tabu.
She disclosed what upset her the most
was how her boss expressed fits of anger and started quarrelling
with her for no genuine reasons as well as forcing her to work
on Sundays despite the fact that she’s a Christian.
“I started working well with him but
at a certain point my boss started asking me to sleep with him,
but I declined to comply with his demand,” Tabu told Xinhua.
She is not the only victim to
experience toxic masculine behavior in the world’s newest
country and lose her job, but her peers also shared similar
Monica Achol Deng, an 18-year-old
mother of a three-year-old daughter, also told Xinhua that she
was made to close down her small juice cafeteria this year due
to her male customer’s behavior.
“My work was progressing very well
until some costumers expressed intention to date me although I
am a single mother, others went as far restricting me from
sharing any conversation with other clients,” Deng told Xinhua.
Speaking in Arabic, Deng said she
opened her business to raise her daughter not because she wanted
to hook up with a man.
Deng revealed that she closed the
lucrative business after the level of harassment became
unbearable although she was earning 20 U.S. dollars profit a
“Some male customers could without
respect start touching me anyhow in front of my customers and
start demanding for my contact. Others want to restrict me from
serving my customers when in fact I am a business lady,” said
She said the reason she opened the
cafeteria was to meet her three-year-old daughter’s necessities
like food, milk, soap and clothes because her husband’s monthly
pay could not meet the needs.
Despite the shortcoming, Deng sounded
willing to seek a job from a female boss in order to meet her
Suzan William, a lawyer and a Women’s
Rights activist said Sexual harassment in the workplace can
prevent victims from earning a living, doing their job
effectively, or reaching their full potential.
The feminist acknowledged that the
menace is widespread in the workplace, saying the behavior is
against human rights and perpetrators should be punished.
“Sexual harassment is one of the
common practice among the communities and it is not only at
workplaces but even also at homes. It is a crime and anyone
found practicing such an act is actually a perpetrator and
should be brought to justice,” William told Xinhua.
She regretted that sexual harassment
in the workplace can prevent victims from earning a living,
hence worsening their poverty and sense of marginalization.