The Hamar tribe, located in the southern part of Ethiopia, has a distinct culture and practices that have fascinated many. Among these is the cattle-jumping ceremony, where women accept beatings as part of the initiation of men.
During the ceremony, female relatives dance and offer themselves to be whipped by recently initiated men. The beatings continue until the women’s backs become bloody, and they are not allowed to scream or flee the ceremony. Rather, they beg the men to beat them repeatedly. This act is seen as a demonstration of love and support for the initiate, and the scars the women bear give them the right to seek the man’s help in times of need.
Once a man successfully jumps over 15 cows, he is allowed to marry, and a celebration is held to end the ceremony. However, this practice is not limited to the initiation ceremony. Women in the Hamar tribe can be beaten by men at any time, and they are not allowed to question why they are being beaten. This has resulted in deep scars on the backs of the women, which they proudly display as a symbol of beauty.
Despite this, women in the Hamar tribe are expected to be strong and perform all household chores, take care of children, sow crops, and tend to cattle. Men can marry more than one woman, but subsequent wives are treated more like slaves, with the majority of the work falling on them.
While the Hamar tribe may have some fascinating cultural practices, the beatings of women are a concerning issue that needs to be addressed.