Tigray Region Using It's Rape Crisis As Propaganda Against Law Enforcement Operations.

Since the launch of law enforcement operations in the Tigray region after the attack on the Northern Command by the TPLF regime, disinformation and propaganda tactics by the TPLF regime and its sympathisers has been the order of the day. For those who know the TPLF very well, such propaganda tactics is no news.

However, what surprises many is the level field accorded to such misinformation by some international community.

A quick look at the various studies shows that UN agencies such as WHO, UNFPA and other, and NGOs operating in the Tigray region, as well as various European states that fund their operations, have known about the rape crisis in the Tigray region for over two decades. Yet, today, they pretend it is an issue that is related to the law enforcement operations by the central government. Worse, they tag Eritrean forces for perpetuating these gruesome acts, a country which writes no history of rape and gender based violence.

Several studies conducted in the Tigray region uncover a deep crisis on rape and GBV Voilence, this phenomenon has been reported by several research groups in the region.

Despite the denials, unfortunately, that defines the Tigray region in Ethiopia and Tigrayan society. Study shows that gender-based violence, including rape was rampant throughout Tigray, including in its Universities, and predates events that have taken place after November 2018. In addition to the attack on the Northern Command and the massacres and MaiKadra, the TPLF’s release of criminals, including rapists, has exacerbated the violence against women and children in Tigray.

According to some of the studies conducted in the Tigray region: A 2014 study in the Tigray region on "Sexual Violence and Associated Factor among Commercial Sex Workers in Mekelle City, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia”, was conducted in Mekelle city, It was reported that

“…The city is divided in to seven sub cities, 32 Kebeles. There are 2190 bars and 146 hotels in the city…There are a total number of 2868 commercial sex workers residing in the city. The study was conducted from April 1-18, 2014… A total of 250 commercial sex workers participated in the study making a response rate of 100%. Majority of the respondents 119(47.60%) were between the age of 20-24 with a mean age of 24.04(SD ± 4.3) and the age ranges from 17 up to 47 years… This study revealed that the prevalence of sexual violence among commercial sex workers was 75.6%.

More study conducted in January 2020 relating to, “Factors associated with sexual violence among female administrative staff of Mekelle University, North Ethiopia”, illustrate the prevalence of gender based violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The researchers wrote,

“…As part of Ethiopia, in Tigray, sexual violence is still high, for example, a research done in Adigrat hospital shows 60.2% of rape cases occurred among children and adolescents…”

About half 180 (50.2%) of the participants face sexual violence. The typical perpetrators were bosses and workmates, and the common areas of violence were workplaces….This study found that sexual violence was committed against half of the female administrative staffs of Mekelle University.

Meanwhile, a 2018 study in Aksum town which is located in the Central Zone of Tigray Regional State on “Intimate partner physical violence and associated factors in reproductive age married women in Aksum Town, Tigray, Ethiopia, and community based study” it was revealed that, of the 398 study participants, 112 (28.1%) and 27 (6.8%) married reproductive age women had intimate partner physical violence in their lifetime and in the last 3 months respectively, from the physically violence reproductive age women, 88 (22.1%) had conflict with their husband, 35 (8.8%) and 65 (16.3%) battered by their husband usually and sometimes respectively. A total of 48 (8.7%) and 27 (6.8%) respectively had conflict and battered in the last 3 month…”

The list of research studies conducted in the Tigray region on rape and GBV Voilence is pretty long.

Analysts suggests that there seems to be an urgent need in Tigray, to secure and maintain the physical, emotional and psychological integrity, security, well-being and dignity of women and girls, free from gender-based violence, which propaganda and denial will not achieve.

Noting that instead of pointing fingers at others, TPLF supporters, including the international community, must address the problem for the sake of the people of Tigray and not try to politicize the issue and divert attention elsewhere. Analyst notes further that every individual in society has to assume an active role in the fight against violence against women.

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