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01.12.2018 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2018

Testimony of an Ethiopian girl sexually assaulted by her stepfather: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2018
Yohannes Mehretie Adinew, Beza Tamirat Mekete, Yimenu Mehretie Adinew
Wichtige Hinweise
Beza Tamirat Mekete and Yimenu Mehretie Adinew contributed equally to this work.



The sensitiveness and stigma associated with sexual assault deter many victims from speaking about their experiences. This silence of victims worsens the problem, especially in patriarchal communities like Ethiopia where sex is taboo and girls are encouraged to remain behind curtains.

Case presentation

This is the personal testimony of a 25-year-old Amhara woman, a student at an Ethiopian public university, and it is presented in her own words. The data were collected during an in-depth interview on 19 April 2015. The interview was conducted in a private environment and her name was concealed to protect her anonymity. A digital voice recorder was used to audio-tape the interview which was later transcribed and translated verbatim from the local language, Amharic, to English.


The trouble and pain our participant experienced is beyond description. Four themes emerged from her narrative: Incest assault, repeated assault, feelings of guilt and shame, and orphanhood. Incest is both more common and more severe in stepparent families but reported cases are only the very tip of the iceberg and thus may greatly under-represent actual population rates. Therefore, more effort is required to hold the perpetrators accountable and restore the life of the victims.

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