A tearful Oprah Winfrey apologized to parents for having failed them following allegations of sex abuse by a school matron at her Leadership Academy for Girls.
One girl at the school complained she had been fondled while others reported being sworn at, grabbed by the neck, beaten or thrown against a wall. The girls said they had told the principal, Dr Mzimane, but she failed to act to stop the abuse.
In response, Oprah visited the school to speak with parents and gave the girls, whom she calls "her daughters," her personal phone number, e-mail, and postal address, saying they could contact her at any time. The school has suspended the principal and two matrons and has offered counseling to its 150 boarders.
All I can say is, one thing secondary schools are known for is a high likelihood of sexual abuse. I have heard so many of these stories -- teachers and staff taking advantage of the fact that hundreds of impressionable girls are gathered together in one place just ripe for the plucking. Some even have the girls convinced it is a relationship. It's a shame that even Oprah, who was abused as a child, cannot prevent this from happening.
I think there are still a lot of things to be learned about working in an AFRican context that will only take time for her to assimilate. Unfortunately, for the girls, the damage may already be done by then.
The AFRican Blogger