I’ve said this before, will say it again and again and again. A man who hits a woman is not a man.
I witnessed something horrible, disgusting, heartbreaking the other night. A post performance Yeshi Bunna trip for a “bunna be wetet” at 2am is a pretty regular trip for my colleagues and myself. The closest one being in the “Chechnya” area of town, we sit around over some coffee, gossip about the night’s performance, the audience etc. To explain to those who don’t know, this area is notorious for bars and clubs and women of the night and especially extremely drunk/under something’s influence people walking around.
This particular night though, sitting at our regular table facing the big windows of Yeshi Bunna we see a very young girl running across the street, scared out of her mind and pretty much screaming. A young man, chasing her, grabs her by the hair and throws her down to the ground accusing her of insulting him. She hits the back of her head on the pavement, as if she was a rag doll. We were in shock and by the time we could react to this he had already kicked her in the ribs and tried to stomp on her neck which he missed and ended up stomping on her chest. There were about 6 or 7 guys there who ended up grabbing this non-man while some people tended to the girl who was concussed and bleeding from the back of her head. After most of us were yelling at this “non-man” what we thought of him, and a couple of us even got in some very necessary “words through the fist” the police arrived, took him in with a couple of witnesses and that was that. It ended as quick as it started but the emotional toll on all of us there was overwhelming.
I have never witnessed violence against a woman like this. I could not control my emotions and sat up all night, trying to figure out what would make a man, a so-called man, react that way towards a woman. We all get angry at something or someone, it’s nature but what I don’t really understand is the hate one must have for a fellow human being, for someone else’s life, for them to treat a person who is already hard pressed enough as it is to be selling her body on the streets. To have such disrespect for another human being, who is obviously physically inferior… What’s the motivation? Do they get off on it? Clearly they MUST have a positive feeling about such negative actions. If this was only common in the less educated population then we could associate the mindless behavior to ignorance but what boils me over is that there are very intelligent, educated, well off, seemingly happy men who decide they like to beat on their female counterparts.
I’m not a psychologist but how could this be if the man doesn’t have something short circuiting in the space between his ears? A man who hits a woman is not a man. Yes, I WILL judge, pass judgment, convict, sentence and deem “him” unworthy. Beating up a woman or a child can NEVER be a mistake. If this is a man then I would be embarrassed to be labeled within the same category of humans.
There is no excuse. There is no reason. There is no justification. The only explanation to a man hitting a woman is that he is a sociopath.
We still see the girl sometimes when we go to Yeshi Bunna. She seems to be well, considering the events but what’s made me sad and utterly livid was that the man who was taken into custody went with a smirk on his face saying he won’t even spend the night in jail.
I wondered with tears in my eyes what his mother would feel about his actions.
by Vahe Tilbian
Vahe is a singer/songwriter, dancer and writer attempting to find his voice through his range of talents. He is Armenian by origin, Ethiopian by nationality, living in Addis Ababa. He is currently working on an album, performing with Z Beyaynetus Band, Kenny Allen and the 251 Band and recently with Zeritu Kebede and Zemen Band. His writing is published on Zoma Magazine.
Special thanks to Vahe Tilbian for sharing his first hand account of violence against women (VAW) in the streets of Addis and daring to share his perspective on the issue. I invite more men to share their experience of witnessing such events, reflections of what they feel about such acts perpetrated by men against women and offer suggestions on how other men can get involved in STOPPING VAW.
Love & Light