Woineshet Zebene Negash, 13, was abducted one night in March 2001 by four men who hacked down the front door of her home in the village of Abadjema, Ethiopia, with a machete. Police said she was forced into a nearby shack by the men’s leader and raped for two days. When the girl’s family decided to take the unusual step of prosecuting the assault, she was abducted and raped again.
The Washington Post today takes a close look at the case, which opens a window on a struggle in Africa between deeply held rural and tribal traditions and a quest to establish internationally recognized legal standards in societies that have long been without them. The continent, along with Asia, has the highest rates of sexual violence in the world, according to a Global Forum for Health Research report issued earlier this year. But it is often so difficult to bring assailants to justice that victims rarely turn to the judicial system.