Men increasingly continue murdering women day by day. We have witnessed sheer terror with the spread on social media of the murder video that showed Emine Bulut whose throat was cut and killed by her ex-husband in the presence of her kid in Kırıkkale. More than one woman is murdered each and every day. We should fight more to prevent all women from being subjected to verbal and physical violence, murders.
Within the last week, Tuba Erkol was murdered by a man she was divorcing from. Tuba Erkol had filed charges and obtained a restraining order. F. Y., a woman in Bursa, was battered by her boy friend and dumped at a graveyard. Hasan Beykoz killed his wife Meryem Beykoz and his daughter Emine Beykoz in Bafra, Samsun. A woman named A. K. was beaten and stabbed by her elder brother in Adıyaman. A woman named B. K. was shot to death in the head in Ardahan. A man shot and injured his wife who asked for a divorce in İstanbul. A woman in Malatya was shot and injured by her husband from whom she wanted a divorce.
214 women were killed by men while 99 women were sexually assaulted between 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2019 in Turkey according to data presented in “Women Murders and Child Abuse Report in Turkey” drafted by CHP Deputy and commissioner of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Committee on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men, Necati Tığlı. The number of femicide cases has increased by 4% in comparison to the previous year.
Violence against women has been perpetually reproduced by state agencies and the society. The manner in which such news are reported by the media is built on an excuse and are virtually legitimized. On social media, too, violence against women is fuelled and no measures are taken against posts that praise discrimination and violence. Violence is normalized in various programs and shows on TV. 16 thousand complaints have been lodged before the Radio and Television Supreme Council’s communication center within the last 8 months due to violent content on TV but not a single one was discussed at the council’s meetings according to İlhan Taşcı, CHP deputy and Radio and Television Supreme Council Member. Deputy Taşcı has expressed the horrifying truth about violence against women by saying “There was no finger left unbroken, no women left unbeaten for the last two seasons of a show aired on a pro-government TV channel.”
The perpetrators of violence against women are men closest to them. A limited number of women who were able to obtain protection and restraint orders are being murdered because the state fails to protect them. The state that mobilizes security forces even against the tiniest of social dissidence leaves women face to face with their murderers by not taking the necessary measures when it comes to the protection of women. The state imprisons women in their homes, shuts women off from work life, subjects women to their spouses, does not want women take part in social life in an effective and competent manner. It is the rhetoric and policies of the state that are reciprocated by both the society and the family which, in turn, renders violence perpetual. If the perpetrators of violence against and abuse of women are also members of the family, no complaints are filed and the incidents are buried within the family. Women and children, on the other hand, are forced to continue living under violent circumstances.
Women are left further unprotected by the decrease in the number of women’s shelters and the stay limitations in these shelters. In cases of violence against women both the law enforcement and the judiciary choose to reconcile victims and perpetrators of violence and send women back to environments of violence under the disguise of protecting the unity of the family even it includes violence rather than protecting women themselves.
The statement of the Directorate of Religious Affairs on violence against women is indeed an explicit statement of the mindset that underlies violence. The Director of Religious Affairs argued that all the rights of women were entrusted to men objectifying women: “Life, honor and rights of women in our religion are untouchable and entrusted.” The fact is however, we, as women, are not entrusted to men and male power that is its sum.
Protecting women from male violence can only be realized through state policies focusing on gender equality. One of the reasons why such a large number of women fall victim to violence is the reluctance and even prevention of relevant institutions to implement current laws.
The provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Turkey ratified in 1985 and put into effect, are not being implemented. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s General Recommendation No. 35 on gender-based violence against women significantly states in its 16th paragraph the following: “Gender-based violence against women, may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in certain circumstances, including in cases of rape, domestic violence or harmful practices, among others.”
The İstanbul Convention was signed and ratified by Turkey on 11 May 2011 and 14 March 2012 respectively. The purposes of the convention are to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence; contribute to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and promote substantive equality between women and men, including by empowering women; design a comprehensive framework, policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of violence against women and domestic violence; promote international co-operation with a view to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence; provide support and assistance to organizations and law enforcement agencies to effectively co-operate in order to adopt and integrated approach to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence. The incidents, however, reveal the ways in which these provisions are not being implemented, how its articles are not complied with, and how they have not been institutionalized.
Moreover, if the authorities have even enabled the sufficient implementation of the Constitution and Law No. 6284 violence against women would have been prevented.
- The government should comply with the provisions of laws and conventions that it avoids and refrains from implementing and even conducts an anti-propaganda against.
- The number of women’s shelters should be increased and protected employment opportunities should be offered.
- Effective investigations should be initiated into those engaging in violent acts against women, impunity policies should be dropped; reduced sentences handed out, for instance, for good conduct and those based on judges’ personal opinions should be put to an end.
- Agencies based on gender equality should be established and these should not be male-dominant but women-based.
- The structure of the law enforcement and the judiciary should be revised focusing on the protection of individuals not the family; officers should be trained within this scope.
- Broadcasts and published material that legitimize violence against women should be discontinued without delay.
We want to live in equal conditions; we shall not be entrusted to anyone, any faith, any agency whatsoever.