A man ferociously stabbed a 17-year-old girl- named Naomi Tilahun, 17, in Mexico Square, around Wabe Shebele Hotel last Tuesday – in broad daylight in a busy street in Addis Ababa.
The attack happened when the victim was walking home, after getting out of taxi, in an area packed with people. The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, allegedly stalked and harassed the girl, who is in ten grade at Bole Community School, for about a year, according to her friends. Friends said the person was going after her, telling her that he loved her, though she tried to avoid him.
Last Tuesday, 4 PM in the afternoon, the suspect started following her and trying to pull her clothes. When she raised an alarm, the accused pulled out a knife and stabbed her on her neck, according to witnesses. Only then a passer-by confronted the suspect who was trying to stab his victim for the second round. The victim was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, Balcha Hospital, where she died.
The victim’s mother, Woizero Woinshet Wodagj, interviewed by Tadias Addis, a local FM, said she raised her daughter as single mother. She said she was not aware of the assailant and her daughter was shy and timid who kept things to herself.
Naomi Tilahun (pictured on T' Shirt)
Sexual violence against women in Ethiopia rose to the forefront internationally after the October 2014 death of a minor girl, Hanna Lalango, 16, who was abducted, gang-raped and left for dead. Various research indicate that gender-based violence and rape are rampant crimes in Ethiopia and linked its prevalence to male chauvinist culture, legal loopholes, the inefficiency of different agencies in the criminal justice system, and “a deep-seated culture of silence”, according to Rediet Wegayehu, a senior fellow at Humanity in Action.
In October 2011, an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant named Aberash Hailay lost her eyesight after her ex-husband, Fisseha, stabbed her in both eyes with a sharp knife. And there’s the story of Frehiwot Tadesse, a mother of two, who was shot several times by her ex-husband in a daylight in Addis. Since the first reported case involving Kamilat Mehdi and her ex-boyfriend, acid attacks against women have also shown a disturbing increase, Rediet stated in a Guardian article.