The Edition


GAM's SG Saudhulla sacked over sexual assault allegations

Shahudha Mohamed
12 July 2020, MVT 13:13
Protestors at a demonstration held to demand justice for victims of rape and sexual assault. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
12 July 2020, MVT 13:13

Guest House Association of Maldives (GAM) revealed on Saturday night that the association's Secretary General (SG) Saudhulla Ahmed was fired over allegations of sexually assaulting a female staff member.

According to a statement released by GAM, 14 members of the association's Steering Committee unanimously voted to remove Saudhulla from the committee, as well as the position of SG.

The sexual assault case involving an administrative officer at GAM was also submitted to Maldives Police Service. Authorities have already collected her statement on the matter and an investigation is currently ongoing.

In a detailed account shared on her Facebook account, the victim stated that Saudhulla had been assaulting her at the workplace since her first day on the job.

She noted that Saudhulla assisted in securing the job for her while she was in need of employment, but she did not expect him to demand inappropriate favours in return.

As per the victim, Saudhulla repeatedly groped her, pressured her for sexual favours, and spoke to her in unprofessional manners.

Despite her constant rejections and requests to stop his advances both politely and furiously, she stated that he continued to harass her, even declaring that "he always gets what he wants".

As per the employee, Saudhulla threatened to jump off the balcony of his residence when she decided to resign from her position at GAM and the association's Steering Committee moved to report the case to the authorities.

She also stated that several people urged her to drop the case and resign from the job without "escalating the situation".

However, the victim stated that she submitted the case to the authorities when Saudhulla attempted to change the narrative by claiming that she was spreading false allegations, and tried to exert influence on GAM's investigation into the matter.

Moreover, she noted that Saudhulla was attempting to sweep the issue under the rug by using political connections. Saudhulla is the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s President at Fuvahmulah South area, as well as a member of the party's national congress.

She emphasised that she did not want to defame Saudhulla, but wanted to ensure that no other employees are subject to harassment in the future.

With the recent increase in reports of rape and sexual harassment, many survivors are publicly speaking up about their personal experiences and encouraging others to do the same.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih recently sacked Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed over sexual assault allegations raised against him by a number of his female staff members.

However, public ire continues to increase over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.

Recently, a collective of gender equality advocates originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing demands to declare rape and sexual offences as serious criminal offences and reallocate state funds for the protection of victims.

Meanwhile, the police have warned over increasing incidents of child grooming and exploitation over the internet, urging parents and guardians to be aware and report knowledge of any such information to the police's Family and Child Protection Wing at +960 3000600 or the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services at 1412.