Together we can stop horrific violence against women and girls

Posted by Samantha Andrades on Monday 26th March 2018

In Ethiopia, half of the women have experienced a form of physical violence. Two-thirds of these have been sexually assaulted. And horrifically, one in six girls will be raped.

Ayana is a bright girl. She and her little sister Fatuma hope to be doctors when they grow up. Despite their four-year difference, the two sisters are extremely close.

Last year, their whole world fell apart.

''I try to forget what happened''. Ayana says. ''We were at home back from school, my mom was making coffe and my father was there too. He sent Fatuma to buy milk and when she returned with it, he stirred something in it and gave it to us to drink. We slept heavily that night.''

''But in the middle of the night, I woke up to sound of beating and shouting. When I wen to see [what was happening] my ftaher was beating my mother with rods of metal.''

''I was frightened and tried to scream but he threatened me. He killed my mother using pieces of glass, right there in front of me.''

It is no wonder Gadise, their mom, didn't report her husband. Deeply entrenched traditional values and unequal power relations between men and women in Ethiopia mean that women feel powerless to protect themselves or their daugthers.

That's why we desperately need your help. We must end this epidemic that is destroying women and girls' lives, killing mothers like Gadise.

After murdering his wife, Ayana's dad tried to run away but he was caught by the police and arrested. Ayana and Fatuma were left alone and deeply traumatised.

Despite experiencing one of the most horrific things a person could live through, Ayana and Fatuma still have hope thanks to your incredile support.

Our local partner the Association for Women's Sanctuary Development (AWSAD) work tirelessly to run safe houses for women and girls survivors of gender based violence. The women and girls referred to AWSAD have suffered emotional abuse, physical violence and rape, often by male family members, neighbours or employers.

''They gave us a clean place to sleep, meals and counsellor to talk to us.'' Ayana says. ''They accompanied me to court hearings and took care of our legal case.''

After working extensively with their counsellors to deal with their trauma, the girls started to show  a bit confidence. Soon they were ready to return to school.

''I have been through a lot but I feel that education is what I need to be able to face future challenges in my life.'' Ayana said.

Your support also allows AWSAD to engage with primary schools and communities in Addis Ababa to dispel the myths that cause violnce against women to be so endemic. By educating children on gender equality, reproductive health and positive life skills, we are teaching the next generation of boys and girls that violence against women will not be tolerated. The good news is that it's working, there is a slow decrease in violence.

We need to continue spreading the vital message, but we need your help to reach more girls and women who aare victims of senseless violence.

A gift of €25 will help AWSAD to help girls like Ayana and Fatuma stay in a safe house and turn their lives around. 



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