Investigating the experience of violence against women and exploring women's coping strategies is a crucial component of re-tailoring the provision of services for victims/survivors. This article explores violence against women in the context of culture, theory of fear of violence and literature on spaces perceived to be 'safe' or 'dangerous' by women victims/survivors of violence in Ethiopia. To collect the relevant data, we conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with Ethiopian women who are victims/survivors of violence and three interviews with gender experts in Ethiopia. Our group of women suffer in 'silence' and confide only in friends and relatives. They did not resort to institutional support due to lack of awareness and general societal disapproval of such measures. This contrasts with claims by experts that the needs of these women are addressed using an institutional approach. Culture, migration status and lack of negotiating power in places of work are key factors when considering violence. The majority of the respondents in this study occupy both public and private spaces such as bars and homes and have experienced violence in those spaces. The social relations and subsequent offences they endured do not make spaces such as these safe. Education of both sexes, creation of awareness, sustainable resource allocation to support victims/survivors, ratification of the Maputo protocol and effective law enforcement institutions are some of the practical strategies we propose to mitigate the incidence of violence in Ethiopia.