Blog 4: Ethiopia (Body, Trauma and Health)-Michael Cooper

Throughout the world discrimination and violence against women is at an all time high. In Ethiopia and other developing countries like it, acts of violence and discrimination are even higher. Compared to the United states, where men and women are treated with equal rights, Ethiopia faces a much harsh reality. In fact according to an article by a University of Denver professor entitled “Violated: Women’s Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa,””in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), women are facing human rights abuses unparalleled elsewhere in the world. Despite the region’s diversity, its female inhabitants largely share experiences of sexual discrimination and abuse, intimate violence, political marginalization, and economic deprivation”(Wester, K). In addition “Maternal mortality rates in SSA are the highest in the world. SSA is home to 20% of the world’s births but contributes 40% of the world’s maternal deaths” (UNFPA, 2008). When I hear these numbers they are alarming. I think of all the lives altered, because of losing a child to the harsh realities of living in an developing country. It also does not help that,”about half of the population living in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) live below the poverty line, and over 80% of the poor are women” (UNFPA, 2008). With such a large population and low healthcare, many people in SSA do not receive proper births. Many people do not understand these percentages nor could they even really imagine what they truly mean. Discrimination and unequal rights also play a roll in harming women’s health and leading to trauma. According to the short film “Violence against women, trauma, and resilience as health issues,”women experience post-traumatic stress at a far greater rate than men do”(Violence against women). It is also very important to realize that everything that does not fit the DSM definition, does not mean it is not trauma. Women each day in Ethiopia work hard labor and provide for their families with little gratitude in return. The affects of trauma has a lot of potential consequences on the body, for example trauma could bring negative feelings from the past such as rape. It is not uncommon for a women who has experienced rape, to have post traumatic feelings return from the experience of child birth. This can also alter a women’s mindset on how she would like to preform her child birth. Women undergoing post traumatic stress often have a hard time in how they would like their child birth to play out. According to the short film “Violence against women, trauma, and resilience as health issues,” things they often think about are how will their child birth affect the newborns health, and will their interactions with their newborn be affected(Violence against women). Pregnancy in an underprivileged or developing country country is a tough task in itself, and can also cause stress which fuels feelings of post-traumatic stress. The film “Violence against women, trauma, and resilience as health issues,” also goes on to explain that trauma is culturally determined. Something that maybe be traumatic to one specific group may not be traumatic to others. When researching trauma an its affects on women’s health all these factors must be taken into account.

Work Cited:
-United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA). 2008. “Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights.” In The State of the World Population 2008.New York: UNFPA.

-Wester, K. Violated: Women’s Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved July 30, 2015, from

-Violence against women, trauma, and resilience as health issues – Guest Lecturer, Mickey Sperlich, PhD

One thought on “Blog 4: Ethiopia (Body, Trauma and Health)-Michael Cooper

  1. Violence against women is at an all-time high, I agree; however, I do not agree with your point that men and women are treated with equal rights. While by law, this is correct, discrimination of women still occurs on a daily basis, especially in the workplace. Women generally have lower wages than men have, and are still prevented from doing some jobs. I also agree with your point about women who recover from being raped to have symptoms of PTSD, especially during childbirth. I am vehemently against rape, and while it occurs at a much higher frequency in other countries, it still exists in the US, affecting more women than men, despite the claim that women and men are equal. Equality in law is not the same as equality in real life. Pregnancy is a very painful time in a woman’s life, and only women are able to give birth, to bring new life. Yet, much of the world sees men as having the dominant gender. I believe that dominance should be eliminated with respect to gender, and that women and men should be treated equally. In the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of us all.

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