Hundreds of People Protest Sexual Abuse and Violence in Mekelle, Tigray

By Staff Reporter

Mekelle-TigrayNovember 11, 2019 ( -- Hundreds of people on Monday rallied in Mekele city of northern Ethiopia to protest sexual abuse and violence against women in Tigray regional state.

The demonstrators called for ending sexual assault and harassment in the region and demanded that the regional government bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.

The demonstrators, the majority of whom were women, began and ended the rally at Romanat square in Mekelle. During the demonstration, poems were read and music blared to denounce sexual violence against women. This was followed by characters displaying suppression against women in the region.

'Stop sexual violence!' Let the 'Government Protect Citizens from Sexual Harassment' were some of the slogans chanted by the demonstrators even though the majority of passersby were confused about what was going on.

The demonstrators displayed dramas and illustrations of various physical and psychological impacts of sexual violence.

Even though the rally had got recognition from the Mekele City Administration, it was disrupted by vehicles on the streets as traffic policemen were seemingly indifferent to the situation.

The rally was supposed to have been staged on one of the past few days but was either banned by city administration or postponed by the demonstrators.

The organizers were campaigning against sexual intimidation in the region via social media under the title “Yehona” literally means act against sexual violence.

Recent studies reveal that sexual violence by intimate partners is a common phenomenon inside Ethiopian families. In addition to sexual abuses, about 81% of women in the country believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife.

According to these studies, about 30–60% of women are regularly abused by their intimate partners. Women, especially in rural parts of the country, suffer physical, emotional, sexual, and other abuses by their intimate partners. These abuses are normally not reported for the sake of family secrecy, cultural norms, due to fear, shame and community’s reluctance on a domestic affair and social stigma.

Early marriage, rural dwelling, alcohol consumption by men, and the educational status of both men and women were reportedly associated with intimate partner physical violence in Ethiopia.

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