It never ends

Posted December 5, 2016 from Uganda

I have always wanted to visit Addis Ababa, and when the chance of studying and living here came true I was happy and ready to explore the city … until, for the first time in my life I was faced with a group of 5 to 7 young men who made me fear for my life.

It started off as a normal day; a friend had invited me for dinner. I attended it with my housemate Minji from South Korea. We left my friends place at 9:30 pm, the street lights were dim but there were a few people on the roads which gave us a boost to walk 500 meters to our house. We were happy about our day, laughing at our own jokes and the dinner had gone great. 10 metres from home we were facing a group of 5 to 7 young men who walked on the same side of the road. We didn’t want to bump into them ,so we crossed the road to the opposite direction to give them enough space to walk by… the closer we got to facing them the more we realised that they too were reaching in on our side to where we had crossed. We paced back to the original side but there was a car which blocked us; leaving us in the middle of the road and they had gained on us, approaching us much faster and speaking to us in Amharic, which is a national official language that we both don’t understand.

We found ourselves being surrounded by the young men. We screamed that they leave us alone … we didn’t want trouble at the same time trying to find a way to push out of the circle they were creating around us, protecting our bodies from the different touches they made and trying to support one another. One of them kept holding off his friends to leave us alone. I didn’t understand what he kept on saying to them but can only speculate based on his actions. Two walked past while laughing, then stopped and gazed on as their friends kept on pulling our hair and making different touch advances to my Minji and I.

I had a half litre water bottle in my hands, it was half full. While i was pushing out of the circle, one of them hold it from me. Took a step back and with his full strength hint it to my lower back. I was in pain, frustrated, in fear, found my way picking up the bottle and throwing it back at him. It lay on his feet. He walked on guided by their colleague who managed to help us find a way past them…

Minji consoled me as we were pacing fast home. She then said she hearing sounds of things dropping near us but I wasn’t really much listening because of the pain i felt from my lower back… until she leaned down screaming in pain. She had been hit by a stone in the head. We run further to our house. Looking at Minji as she held her hand to the her head, blood was dropping down. We disinfected the wood and called for help. She was taken to the hospital.

In the next week, we filed a police report at Menan Police Station, and one male admitted guilty for throwing the stones and he was sentenced to 5 months in prison.

I still like living in Addis Ababa but I am afraid.

This story was submitted in response to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Comments 2

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allie shep
Dec 05, 2016
Dec 05, 2016

I am appalled and so sorry that you had to suffer this. Unfortunately men do this throughout the world, though in my country it is usually drunk men "out for fun", not actually causing us physical injury. This is just another example of how WE are superior and WE will win out. I am sorry if that sounds like a weak election pledge, but it is true and we must believe it is true.  Allie xxxx

Dec 06, 2016
Dec 06, 2016

thanks Allie for your encouragement. Its quite repelling to know that this is the norm of being a women ...either day or night, we are facing these situations. I am hopeful of the future... wish it comes soon .