Ethiopia: The Yellow Movement
The Yellow movement: The commitment of youth Ethiopian women to change the culture of sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence. For women, it’s time to talk.
Young feminist activists graduated from the University created in 2011 in Addis Ababa a movement for women empowerment. To become aware of gender violence, to give voice for silent women, a platform to tell the terrible testimonies about the physical and sexual violence that women are suffering, a commitment to change the culture of sexual harassment, rape and sexist violence in their country, Ethiopia.
It has not been until 2016 that a country like Ethiopia has included gender violence as one of its indicators. According to government surveys, 35% of married women have suffered sexual, psychological or physical violence from their partners. Furthermore, 59% of women have suffered sexual violence at some time in their lives. In fact, women are subjected to sexual harassment and abuse on a daily basis. As happen in so many countries, women do not report the violence that they suffer, mainly because nobody will believe them, also because there is a mentality to blame the victim.
In addition to giving voice, they raise funds help girls going to school, provide them with basic health products and materials and create awareness about maternal health. It is a sad and well-known fact that Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Almost 300000 mothers die every year of an avoidable cause. Every minute, 6 newborns die because of health problems of the mother. .It means more than 8500 newborns a day, and 3 million children a year.
The yellow movement mobilizes students of the University to donate blood under the motto: «To save the life of a mother»
In fact, in rural areas, experienced women from the village are the ones who take care of pregnant women in the shadow of a hut, with no means at all. In this conditions, an small complication, as an small bleeding, is enough reason to end the life of the mother, as has been happened in so many cases.
In fact, this is one of the great challenges of the NGO Alegría Sin Fronteras, from Gambo Hospital, to reduce maternal and child mortality by training community health workers in rural areas to attend births. To tackle the root problem, to prevent orphaned children, mothers to be mothers.
Returning to The Yellow Movement, another of its important fields is to raise awareness about gender activism, about supporting battered and abused women, about sexist violence. They involve students to take responsibility for the change they want to see on campus, city and country. The heartrending testimonies of girls and women have been the inspiration for the struggle of this movement.
You may remember the harrowing story of Hanna Lalango, the 16-year-old Ethiopian student who was assaulted when she returned home on the school bus. Five men abducted her in 2014. #JusticeForHanna.
After holding her for a few days, in which she was raped on numerous occasions, they left her in the street. Days later she died because of the wounds. Ethiopia is ranked No. 127 out of 142 in the Gender Inequality Index.
The case of Tejnesh Leweg’neh was also terrifying. In 2015, aged 15, she was abducted by three men. As she refused to marry one of them, they pushed her off a cliff and she was paralyzed from the waist down.
Violence against women is cross-cutting, even women with high social positions suffer sexual abuse every day in Ethiopia. Anyone who is willing to invest time and energy to create a safer world for girls, boys and women can be a member of The Yellow movement.
«Women are the forefront of change in this country. And we know that this is a key to success. Societies cannot thrive without the strong involvement of women. »
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