British Airways has resolved to pay pecuniary compensation to victims of sexual abuse in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, who were abused by one of its pilots, 54-year old Simon Wood. The late Mr. Simon Wood who was a pilot with British Airways until his death, was hit by a moving train on the 18th of August, 2013, a day before he was to appear in a United Kingdom court. BBC Africa reports that formal inquest in 2014 ruled his death as a suicide.
Despite being dead for more than two years, the damage done to Wood’s victims will stay with them forever. British Airways was sued by 16 victims for damages, they are however seeking to ease the victims’ pains with financial compensation. The late Wood was charged with one count of indecent assault of a girl under 16, two counts of taking indecent photographs of a child and one count of possessing indecent images of a child. According to prosecuting firm, Leigh Day, Wood allegedly molested girls between the ages of 5 and 13 in schools and orphanages in above named countries between 2003 and 2013. Although the settlement amount was not disclosed, Leigh Day has said they welcome the British Airways payout for the victims.
— Leigh Day (@LeighDay_Law) March 4, 2016
Although the move by British Airways to compensate the victims is commendable, a paper on compensations and reparation by Michelle Maiese, elucidates the fact that while the money brings economic relief and helps victims attend to their material needs, it is not the most important thing. “Many note that such reparations are not primarily about money, but rather about making crucial repairs to the people’s psyche and to social and political institutions,” she writes.
Suffering sexual abuse as a child is worse than enduring same experience as an adult as the victim is still in the early stages of their formative years. The Healing Place cites effects of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) as something that never really goes away. “Adults who are survivors of CSA often report a feeling of being stuck, their efforts to build and manage their lives often seem fruitless, hollow, or even hopeless,” it says.
Growing up with same consciousness could lead them to engage in damaging activities as a way of coping with the psychological trauma they are burdened with. Money may not factor into what could be of help to them at this point. “While many survivors will initially be satisfied with monetary compensation, they may grow increasingly dissatisfied as time passes. If victims do not feel that justice has been served, they will find it difficult to put the past behind them,” Maiese writes.