“They no longer saw use for her, so they just dragged her out and threw her into the wilderness to die”: an epidemic of sexual violence in Tigray

From left, the author’s mother; the author next to her grandfather, and her father standing to their right; at a Sudanese refugee camp in 1989. Photo: Courtesy of Maebel Gebremedhin

Maebel Gebremedhin.

Gebremedhin is a co-founder and the president of the Tigray Action Committee and United Women of the Horn. New York Times Opinion piece, “Looking away from an epidemic of rape” explores the pervasiveness and intense normalization of sexual violence in Ethiopia, especially in regions like Tigray that are warped by other kinds of violence.

Tigray, a regional state in northern Ethiopia, underwent a devastating civil war between Eritrea and the Ethiopian Government from November 2020 to November 2022. The war, that many call a genocide, left close to two million people displaced and more than a half million dead. In this war, combatants used sexual violence to terrorize and destabilize communities, breaking down Tigray’s social fabric.

In this May segment of Black Talk, we hear about Gebremedin’s trip back to Tigray, meeting her family, and the crisis the people in Tigray are continuing to face due to food insecurity, drought, and ongoing violence against Black women and girls.


  • cover play_arrow

    Black Talk: Conversation w/ Maebel Gebremedhin 05/09/2024 Alexis Kenyon




Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon is an experienced radio reporter with more than 15 years of experience creating compelling, sound-rich radio stories for news outlets across the country. Kenyon has master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism in radio broadcast and photojournalism. She has worked in KGNU's news department since 2021 as a reporter, editor, and daily news producer. In all her work, she strives to produce thought-provoking, trustworthy journalism that makes other people's stories feel personal. In addition to audio production, Kenyon runs KGNU's news internship program and oversees the department's digital engagement.

Now Playing

Recent Stories

Upcoming Events


This May 1st and 2nd, we’re encouraging you to give and to publicly express what KGNU personally means to you.

We join other public and local stations across the country for this second annual event. It’s your forum to support and champion how KGNU connects with your values.


Learn More