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Violence against women, as defined by the UN, is any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Although all violence committed against women is horrendous and horrible, there is one in particular that has always intrigued me; that is rape. The word ‘intrigued’ may not be the right word, but I use it because, usually this heinous act is mostly committed by regular men. By regular, I mean family members, friends, classmates, teachers; ordinary people.

It is stated that the majority of men who commit rape are first-time offenders. They have never abused a woman nor have they been involved in any criminal act prior to the incident. In the minds of many, rape is not considered as violence; some say it’s just sex with the underlying understanding that “everybody enjoys sex”.
This misconception, that rape is regular old sex, is what leads these “normal” individuals to go ahead and commit such crime.
Rape is defined as a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent.
It is stated that in South Africa an estimated 500,000 rapes are committed annually. In this country alone, of 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency, one in three said that they had been raped in the past year.
South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. In a related survey conducted among 1,500 schoolchildren in Soweto Township, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that ‘jack-rolling’, a term for gang rape, was fun.
From a sample of 1,738 South African men from the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces, 25 percent admitted to raping someone, when anonymously questioned; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person.
This statistics is from only a single country. Rape happens everywhere in varying numbers; so, you do the math. When we come to Ethiopia, culturally and traditionally, ingrained belief in men’s dominance and power over women contribute highly to the ever increasing number of reported rape cases.
Unfortunately, statistics are not available, which clearly show the magnitude of rape occurring in Ethiopia; mainly because it is not reported by victims for fear of being ridiculed, shunned or from feeling shame. A study conducted in Ethiopia however, states that young men believed rape was the product of sexual frustration, lack of self-awareness, lack of self-esteem, and due to traditional aspects or outlook of both a family and community where one is brought up in.
There are many explanations on why men commit rape (I keep saying men, because 96 percent of rapists are men), but none of the reasons are satisfying. When talking about murder it is usually a crime of passion or it is committed by persons with some kind of mental illness. Murder can usually be explained.
Rape on the other hand, mostly has to do with dominance or the display of ego and power, ‘fun’ as some would express it. When asked why they did it, rapists usually say, “she was just walking alone… she was asking for it by the way she dressed… she kept saying no, but it was obvious she wanted it…” and so on.
In war torn regions, the first crime that increases dramatically is rape. A bunch of men rise and revolt; they become rebels with the grand idea of making their surroundings a better place, but in the supposed process of making things better, they go around raping women and children; that is unfortunately the reality of conflict and wars.  
It is a joke really; men who rape for the reasons stated are simply an excuse for a human being, a waste of space on this earth.
The majority of rapists are not pathological monsters, but psychologically ‘normal’ men. Do you know what that means? That really is a scary thought, especially if you add marital rape, which again is another notorious issue.
The act of rape has no boundaries and should be met with harsher punishments; 20 years just doesn’t do it. A convicted rapist needs to have something taken away from him, like his dignity, his sense of self, hope and the will to live. That might just begin to make it up to the victim he has figuratively, if not literally, destroyed.