The stories that are coming out of Tigrai are consistently reporting that Eritrean troops, together with the Amharas, are repeatedly accused by the international media and institutions, as well as many countries, for raping women in Tigrai. These are stories that are making average Eritreans flinch with horror and disgust all over the world.
The most recent report of such atrocity perpetrated by Eritrean soldiers in Tigrai has been released today by CNN under the title of “The war where women are raped, drugged and held hostage - women reveal rape being used as a weapon of war in Ethiopia.”
The story has been jointly presented by veteran reporters: CNN's Nima Elbagir and Barbara Arvanitidis reported from Hamdayet / Eliza Mackintosh wrote and reported from London / Bethlehem Feleke reported from Nairobi / Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase reported from London.
It is to be remembered that US President Joe Biden has dispatched Senator Chris Coons to meet with Abiy and convey US "concerns about the humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses in the Tigray region."
The State Department has previously called for an independent investigation into atrocities committed during the war. Victims tend to hide rape crimes due to aftereffects - cultural, religious, and familial taboos.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reported:
The fighting in Tigray, which has included attacks on health care facilities, has severely restricted access to medical treatment. Of the 106 medical facilities MSF visited in the region, barely one in 10 were still operating, and one in five had been or was occupied by armed soldiers. One facility was being used as an army base, MSF said.
From the above statement, one can easily understand that Tigray can barely treat its rape victims.
A PFDJ supporter based in Atlanta, as a matter of course, challenged the report by labeling it as fake.
It suffices to visit pro-government websites to understand the grievous denial they are spreading as if Eritrean soldiers are not “capable” of rape. On the face of what is being consistently reported, the problem seems either of no or minor consequence to them. Again, they are in denial. And their denial is commonly associated with certain racist propaganda.
Rape is, culturally speaking, rarely reported in Eritrea and Ethiopia due to the stigma surrounding sexual violence. Bizarrely, a woman is mostly blamed for rape and she becomes rather “untouchable” once raped as if she’d brought it upon herself.
Between a lack of access to medical services and the stigma surrounding sexual violence, doctors CNN interviewed said they suspect the true number of rape cases is much higher than official reports.
The Eritrean government, in spite of evidence-based denunciations by many veteran reporters, human rights institutions, and governments, continues to deny its troops “hardly” took part in the conflict even though President Isaias Afwerki admitted of “carrying out Eritrea’s obligations.”
On February 10, the state-appointed Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) admitted that the war and associated dismantling of the regional administration in Tigray had "led to a rise in gender-based violence in the region."
A month later, on March 4, the United Nation's High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, demanded an "objective, independent assessment" of the situation on the ground in Tigray.
It has become clear that the pro-government individuals are waging an all-out assault against those in the media trying to expose the government’s unscrupulous practices.