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Main Page Articles Women's Human Rights Origins of violence against women in Turkey

Origins of violence against women in Turkey

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We have seen the latter in the insufferable killing of Özgecan Aslan in Tarsus, Mersin. This was the latest case of violence against women, but it will not be the least. A minibus driver attempted to rape this university student as she was trying to go home alone; this became an excuse for him. He said in his first statement that when he realized that there was no one except Özgecan and himself on the bus, he decided to rape her.

 

Rape, marital rape, domestic violence, honor killings, dowry violence, acid attacks, forced marriage, mob violence, stalking, sexual harassment and forced prostitution are some examples of violence against women in Turkey. The mistreatment of widows (such as the practice of sati in India), accusations of witchcraft (from the 15th to the 18th century in Europe), war rape and sexual slavery during military conflicts (such as during the Bosnian conflict and Rwandan genocide), forced sterilizations and forced abortions (such as the ones in Uzbekistan and China) or female genital mutilation (in some African countries) are other examples that we do not see in Turkey.

Özgecan was murdered by an uneducated bus driver. He probably had difficult mental problems and pathetic relations with every woman in his life. To see a woman as a human being with equal rights is something that men don't want to confront most of the time. A Turkish idiom states: “During a silence, a girl is born.” Parents love their sons, calling them “my lion son, my tiger son,” but often fail to show a little love and respect to their daughters. We have to confront the reality that we give greater importance to men in our society. Yet most criminal acts are committed by men. Starting from preschool, we have to provide an education that emphasizes equality in Turkey.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) changed the name of the Women's Issues Ministry to the Family and Social Policies Ministry in 2011. I looked it up on the ministry's web page but I could only find a two-sentence condolence message. On the Directorate General of Women's Status website, I found news about a group meeting to monitor violence against women. These kinds of meetings have been organized for years, but nothing is really changing. Turkey has to build real social policies to combat violence against women, but it is difficult with a political movement that sees violence as legitimate. I bet a new criminal law amendment is coming. They simply do not understand that criminal law cannot be a solution to a culture of violence. This negative culture can only be eradicated in families.

Chilean politician Michelle Bachelet said, "Violence against women in all its forms is a human rights violation. It's not something that any culture, religion or tradition propagates.”
 
source: Today's Zaman 

 

 

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