In Tigray, Northern Ethiopia where civil war has erupted, large numbers of women and girls are again being subjected to “unimaginable” terror and suffering as a result of pervasive sexual violence. According to medical records and testimonies from survivors shared with CNN, women are being violently gang-raped, drugged, and held hostage by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops.
“Rape is starting at the age of 8 and to the age of 72. Many, many have been raped. This has all happened so quickly,” said an Ethiopian nun who spoke on the widespread horror women are faced with inside the highly isolated camps. “Wherever there are Eritrean or Ethiopian troops. Tragic. Every single woman, not only once. It is intentional, deliberate. I am confident in that from what I am witnessing. There are 70,000 civilians under attack. So much looting, fighting, raping. All targeting the civilians. The brutality, the killings, the harassing.”
The head of the women’s rights committee at the European parliament, Evelyn Regner, called this week for perpetrators to be called to account for the widespread sexual violence being used as a weapon of war in Tigray. “Sexual violence against women and girls has been used as a weapon of war for centuries. Unfortunately, it is still the case in many conflicts throughout the world and the civil war in northern Ethiopia is yet another example of it. More than 500 women have formally reported sexual violence – but the toll is expected to be much higher,” she said.