It’s been 13 years since Aberew Jemma Negussie was convicted for abducting and raping a 13-year-old girl in Ethiopia, Woineshet – a conviction was overturned by a judge who said only a virgin could be raped, and the girl’s chastity could not be proven. According to the BBC, Equality Now has been fighting the case ever since, taking the case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in The Gambia and winning on her behalf.
Ethiopia has been ordered this week to pay $150,000 to the young victim after the commission found that the state had failed to protect the girl’s rights to equality and a fair trial. Negussie kidnapped the girl not once but twice.
In a statement provided to Women in the World by Equality Now, Africa Office Director Faiza Mohamed said: “The ruling means that Woineshet can finally complete this horrific chapter in her life and move on in the knowledge that she has helped to make lives better for future generations of Ethiopian women and girls.
“We can only hope that the message this unprecedented ruling sends will have a ripple effect at all levels of society. It has taken a decade and a half to obtain justice in a case, which should have been very straightforward. The ‘disposability’ of girls in Ethiopia and around the world needs to end.”
According to Equality Now, Woineshet is now in her late twenties and “pursuing her education,” the BBC said.
New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof who featured the story in Half the Sky, tweeted his congratulations.
Congrats to Woineshet, a brave Ethiopian girl who was a star in Half the Sky, fought her rapists, and now has won! https://t.co/05NTV19sAs
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 10, 2016
Read the full story at the BBC.