Overall, 26 percent of women age 15-49 in Ethiopia have experienced either physical or sexual violence, or both. Four percent of women have experienced physical violence during a pregnancy.

Among ever married women age 15-49 who have experienced physical violence since age 15, 68 percent report their current husbands/partners as perpetrators of physical violence, and 25 percent report former husbands/partners as perpetrators.

In Ethiopia, violence against women and girls continues to be a major challenge and a threat to women’s empowerment. Women and girls face physical, emotional, and sexual abuses that undermine their health and ability to earn a living; disrupt their social systems and relationships; and rob them of their childhood and education.

Thirty-four percent of ever married women in Ethiopia age 15-49 have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Six women out of ten think that the husband is justified in beating his wife in at least one of the specified situations: if the wife burns the food, argues with the husband, goes out without telling him, neglects the children or refuses sexual intercourse. For 18 percent of women their husband decides about the woman’s health care.

In addition, overall, only 23% of women aged 15-49 who have ever experienced any type of physical or sexual violence by anyone have sought help. Women usually do not tell anyone about the violence and remain therefore at risk.

This leads to cuts, bruises, or aches. However, a significant proportion of women who have experienced spousal violence also reported having serious injuries such as deep wounds, broken bones, and broken teeth (10%), as well as eye injuries, sprains, dislocations, or burns (7%).

This is not acceptable. Violence needs to be stopped. Women empowerment may be one of the ways. Nevertheless, empowering women may lead to further disputes in households. Therefore, interventions that include men and challenge the existing attitudes need to be put in place. We need men to respect women and support their empowerment.