So, part of the problem is your own self-perception and your own self-image, which is internalized through years of socialization and upbringing.(UN Population Fund's annual report, 2005)
Ethiopia remains one of Africa's most traditional societies. Although the country has a great ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, attitudes towards women's rights are relatively homogenous in rural societies. Conservative outlook, incapable Governments (until the overthrowing of Menghistu in 1991) spending most resources on military campaigns, natural hazards and unwillingness to invest in rural societies are the main causes of widespread extreme poverty, to which women are the principal victims. The implications of this apathy are clear from the fact that during a recent survey by UN, the performance of Ethiopia was among the lowest. The domestic violence against women was in the crudest of forms, and there was not much redressal system.
The aim of this paper is to assess extent of domestic violence in Ethiopia, its causes, involvement of Government and NGOs towards control/alleviation of the same and suggest some viable remedial measures.
A Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women, sponsored by the World Health Organization, between 2000 and 2003 collected data from over 24 000 women in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, and the United Republic of Tanzania. The Study assessed women's experiences of violence using a questionnaire developed and validated for cross-cultural use, with a special focus on violence by intimate partners. It also investigated how such violence is associated with ill-health and injury, and the strategies that women use to cope with the violence. In Ethiopia, the Study was undertaken under the auspices of the Butajira Rural Health Program. The research team included members from the Department of Community Health and the Department of Psychiatry, Addis Ababa University; the Ethiopian Public Health Association; the Women's Lawyers Association, Addis Ababa; the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, and the Department of Clinical Science, Ume University, Sweden; and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), United States. Data collection in the field took place in 2002.
Physical violence meant the woman had been: slapped, or had something thrown at her ; pushed or shoved; hit with a fist or something else that could hurt; kicked, dragged or beaten up; choked or burnt; threatened with or had a weapon used against her. Sexual violence meant the woman had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse; had sexual intercourse because she was afraid of what her partner might do; been forced to do something sexual she found degrading or humiliating. (The WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women: 2000-2003)
The study highlighted certain known facts and some startling revelations regarding the apathy prevailing in the society. The following paragraphs bring out various aspects of domestic violence faced by Ethiopian women.
Violence against women. Culturally-based abuses including wife beating and marital rape are pervasive social problems. While women have recourse to the police and the courts,