Your sister is a woman.
Your mother is a woman.
Though, respect your wife.
Respect your girlfriend.
A group of singers sang the above lyrics in Amharic ( Ethiopian language). There was a lot of campaign to stop abusing the women. I don’t know what kind of change brought to us in the community.
In my community, girls and women are being abused in many ways.
Let me start from my mornings. I ride on a collective taxi to go to work. Passengers pay their fare. Many of the conductors give the change to the male once first. They delayed the women’s balance or give them after everybody served. Sometimes, you forget your change and walk to your office. The young taxi conductor discriminate us. One day a very little conductor keeps my change to the last stage. I keep nagging him to give me. He even gave the balance s of me who bored the taxi after me. He asked me to get out of the minivan on the last stage. He put a note in my hand and the driver speed up. The 5 birr (Ethiopian currency) note was cut and useless. I pissed off.
While I walk from the taxi stage to my office, I see a lot of things. Numerous shoe shine boys, keep insulting any girl who hurries to work. The business men on the street corners call names to annoy women. They say very ugly abusive words to the girls. If a girl asks to buy something and do not buy it, the business man will say: “ You’re not a buyer. I can tell you you’re idling around. Don’t come here again. Why’re you wasting my time carrying empty bag?” Oh my…!!!
If people come across with a guy who gossips around, they say: “He’s gossiper like a woman.” Everyone gossips, men and young boys too. Who label us with it?
There are men who are fearful. They can’t defend themselves when they are accused with lies. They don’t dare to stand for their children when they’re attacked by others. When trouble comes, they want to hide under their mothers dresses. People call these men: “He has no courage, he a woman.” I don’t know why people say things like this. We’d Queen Tayitu, Queen Zewditu…for our examples. They fought in a war, and they manage their houses. They left us huge examples. I know a woman here in Addis. She is Ethiopian, a writer, a big government official, owns a nonprofit organization to help women. One day she stacked in a traffic jam. The guy in the next car insulted her for no reason. “ She’s blocking my way, with a car she’s been bought by a man.” The driver doesn’t know who this lady is. She jumped out of her car and opened his. She grabbed him by the collar and attacked him. She didn’t give him a chance even to protect himself. Then she told him: “This car was not bought by a man to me but I sweat to buy it.” Though, do they want to call this lady a man?
Tomorrow, early in the morning, I’ll invite her to join World Pulse if she is not yet a member.
Since I was a child, I see girls harassed by their brothers. They are insulted by the neighborhood boys. There is no girl who calls a boy on the street and insults him. No woman abuses any man in the market place. Why are they respected while they’ve no morals?
In the family, girls must help with the house chores. Boys are allowed to study and play as much as they want. If the girl asks him to help her washing the dishes, clean the house or to cook; she will be told… “ Do you think he’s a woman to help you with the house chores?” this issue causes many of the girls not to succeed in their education.
I had a friend when I was a teenager. Her father was an ambassador of Ethiopia in abroad. Her mom was also well educated. One evening, the mother invited me to give me some orders. I used to sale her crossed stitches embroidery stuffs to hang on the wall. When she left me in the sitting room to make tea for me, I browse all the crystals on the table. Something was written on all of them. I read a coutation:
“Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.”
“ The strongest man in the world is, A WOMAN.”
We are the strongest MAN. That is us.