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Ethiopia: Aberash Hailay's Case Ignites Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women

Aberash Hailay is an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant whose ex-husband, Fisseha Tadesse, stabbed both her eyes with a knife in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopian activists are using the Internet to call for justice for Aberash Hailay and draw attention to issues of violence against women in Ethiopia.

Billene Seyoum covered the story on the AfricanFeminism blog, on September 19, 2011. She wrote:

Aberash, an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant whose ex-husband, Fisseha Tadesse, stabbed both her eyes out with a knife last week, now lies in a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand receiving medical attention to retain sight in one of her eyes, although local medical experts have ruled out the chance of survivability. According to the Amharic newspaper, The Reporter, Aberash was married for seven years before the marriage amicably ended a few months ago. Her uncle says that the night of the incident both Aberash and her ex-husband were invited for festivities in his house and they appeared to be in “good condition”, whatever that means. What the article did not express however was that both her eyes experienced multiple stabs from various directions which made it near to impossible for surgeons to even sew shut the gaping socket which once housed beautiful eyes.

She stressed:

Her wounds and her pain are symbolic of a dysfunctional society stained by the tears and blood of countless women whose cries and plea have often gone unheard and silenced by the taboos of culture

Ethiopian airlines hostess Aberash Hailay. Photo taken from

Ethiopian airlines hostess Aberash Hailay. Photo taken from

On September 22, netizens took a campaign called Ahun BeAyne Meta!!!” Campaign for Aberash Hailay and other suvivors of VAW (violence against women) to Facebook. The campaign page with over 200 page likes reads:

“Ahun BeAyne Meta!!!” (“Now Through My Eyes”). The Amharic phrase expresses sentiment towards an injustice or a grave act committed against a person which surpasses bodily harm.

Latest news about Aberash's case:

Tuesday, October 18th, 9am – Followup court hearing for suspect in Aberash Hailay's case. The Network of Ethiopian Women's Association (NEWA) is asking you to show up and spread the word.

Another page on Facebook with more than 900 likes is called Justice for Aberash Hailay:

This page is created to raise our VOICE for Justice!! To Aberash Hailay & all the ladies in Ethiopia & all over the world who are being terreriosed, abused and harrased by Men everyday!!!! .

More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition to the Ethiopian government to stop violence against women. The petition reads:

To protect and redress the injustice committed against Aberash Hailay, an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant and countless others who had endured attacks on their persons.

One person who signed the petition, Etsub Ethiopia said:

It is sad that there is no real support from any government and non-government agencies. There lots of women who tried to get such support [from] government……. it is [really] sad this should be [stopped] and the government need[s] to take action.

The “Ahun BeAyne Meta” campaign was launched last month in Addis Ababa:

The purpose of the gathering on the morning of September 23rd at the Sheraton Addis was three-fold:

1. To give a press statement on the case of Aberash Hailay and other survivors of VAW

2. To unveil the open letter addressed to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and sign the petition

3. And thirdly, to discuss the issue of increasing levels of violence against women in Ethiopia and arrive at strategies for way forward.

The open letter to the Prime Minister Melese Zenawi reads:

Your Excellency, you have also on many occasions spoken on the issue of violence against women and girls. The issue of gender-based violence as an issue intrinsically tied to political, economical, social and traditional issues requires the leaders in each sector to play a key role … Read the full text.

Ethiopian netizens have also taken the Shweya Mullah campaign online. Shweya Mullah is a 30-year-old Ethiopian who was brutally tortured by the wife of Gadhafi's son.

  • ዳንኤል ተስፉ

    ይህንን ዜና በሰማሁ ግዜ እጅግ በጣም ነው የደነገጥኩት። በአንድ ኢትዮጵያዊ ልቦና ውስጥ እንዲህ ያለ ጭካኔ መኖሩ ለጊዜው ቢያስደንቀኝም፣ በደርግ ግዜ፣ በዚያ ክፉ ዘመን አበሻ ለአበሻ ምን ያህል መጨካከን እንደሚችል አይቼ ስለነበር፣ አዎን አበሾች ጨካኝ መሆን ይችላሉ የሚለው ስሜት አደረብኝ።

    ለዚህ መፍትሔው የማይበገር ድንጋጌ አውጥቶ ክፉ አድራጊን አይቀጡ ቅጣት መቅጣት ነው። በተለይ በእንስታን ላይ የሚደርሰው እንዲህ ያለ ጥቃት ሁላችንንም አበሾች ሊያስቆጣ ይገባዋል፣ መንግሥትን ሊያስቆጣ ይገባዋል። እንደኔ እንደኔ የዚህን ሰው የራሱን አይን አውጦ ለውሻ ቢሰጥ እላለሁ። በልቤ ያለው ቁጭት እጅግ ሃያል ነው በአሁኑ ወቅት።

    ተበዳዪቱን የመንፈሥ ፅናት እመኝላታልሁ። ሊደረግላት የሚገባውን የልቡና ጥገና ማገኘት አለባት፣ ይህም ረዥም ግዜ የሚወስድና ብዙ ወጪ የሚጠይቅ ነው። ለዚህ ጥረት ለሚያስፈልገው ገንዘብ ሰብሳቢ አካል ካለ በሰጠሁት የ ኤ-መልእክት አድራሻ ያሳውቀኝ፣ የሚቻለኝን አደርጋለሁ።

    ዳንኤል ተስፉ

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  • Tekle

    This is very sad. This is the personification of the lack of responsible government in Ethiopia. The government is so corrupt that people who commit such a kind of crime can go unpunished …. Unless we form a responsible government, this will keep happening …. and let’s fight for democratic government in Ethiopia
    .. .

  • satenaw

    why is Aberash’s case is so escalated while there are a number of other victims of similar case. Example, Tigist who lost life due to acid burn, Why is that billionaire did not even tried to help her children who were left parent-less………

  • esetmdhne

    behtachne aberash lay ydersew tkat lben sbrotal binternet mktatle kjmrkubet gz jmro eskahun enbaye kayne alakwartem. enden yalgn astyayet mngest atbko gudayun endemlktew ena lelelawem msale endehon kbad tkat endetalbet new. asbo yfsemew wnjel endhon yastawkal selzih esunem mgdel wyem edemelk esrat sayhon brehanen ato menor endet kbad endhon bsum lay adrso masayt new. bmecersham ltgwojyewa egzabher fesmo senatun birtatun endsetat eselyelatalehugn emgnlatalehugn. kgwonwa hogn hememwan bkafle menga ds blegn. kalat ylgnm

  • lily

    Dear Satenaw,

    Atleast the Billionair helped her what are you doing?He is not responsible for any of these you know he is the good guy in all the evil guys.Tigist , Aberash……… the list goes on . You want to know why it is amplified because it is very absurd that what ever you go through what ever you accomplishe the tag Woman means rubish in these Country. And why are you angry at the person who is trying to help and not angry at the persons who are doing these? do you smphtyise with these men.

  • Selam

    Dear Ethiopian people
    we will hear more than what we hear now, unless the people change their heart!!!!!!!!! Pleace the people of ethiopia stop tenkol and mekegnet!!!!!!!!!!!!yandu kefat yelelawen miskin ena nisuhen sew hiwot yabelasha!!!!!!!pleace let as to be good and let we start to did good for otheres. God bless all of as!!!!!!!!!really i’m so sorry about what happen to Aberash

  • Pingback: Ethiopia's women vow to turn tide of violence, rape and murder | iKenya News: Kenya News Now, Kenya News Today()

  • Pingback: Ethiopia's women vow to turn tide of violence, rape and murder - EthioXmedia()

  • Pingback: Ethiopia’s women vow to turn tide of violence, rape and murder |

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