My Letter to Özgecan

I never had the pleasure of meeting you Özgecan.  I never had the chance to hear you laugh with your friends or sing along to your favorite tune.  No I did not know you at all but I know you now.  Your name will forever be etched into my heart and into the hearts of millions of others here in Turkey and around the world who woke on Valentine’s Day, the day of romance, to the sickening news of your death at the hands of a monster.  We are shocked beyond words hearing of your suffering and of knowing that the simple task of stepping on a bus is no longer safe here in Mersin.


What happened to you happens to other women every day, all over the world.  Whether it is in New Delhi or Melbourne monsters can be found everywhere.  But with your death comes the news that tens of thousands of people are marching in cities all over Turkey angry for your pain and suffering.  They are angry that this has happened to you.  For too long women have not felt safe as they stand in their kitchen, walk down the street or even step onto a bus.  For too long society has looked the other way at certain behaviour but today it is time for Turkey to change and you are an important part of that change.  What happened to you Özgecan and the reactions of people here in Mersin and all around your beautiful country prove that they too want things to change.

I watched with tears of pride as your friends and family defied the imam as he told them to “let the men” carry your body.  Hayir.  They stood by you and helped you to your final resting place.  These women will never forget you Özgecan and they will stand up for you and yell your name with honour.

People no longer want to hear that women are secondary to men.  We no longer want to listen to politicians who outlandishly state that “violence against women is just about selective perception (thank you Fatma Şahin, AKP Family Minister)” or “equality between men and women is against nature” (thank you Recep Tayip Erdogan, President). No Özgecan we will no longer allow politicians to sprout nonsense that should be basic human rights.

Today people are calling for much needed change and, although you had to lose your life, I hope that the powers that be will realise that changes must be made to ensure that no one else must spend their last moments in fear at the hands of another.

Özgecan your soul is now soaring in the sunlight.  You have no more pain.  We will remember your name and we will remember you.

I am reminded of something Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Rest in peace Özgecan.

28 thoughts on “My Letter to Özgecan

  1. Reblogged this on Two on a Rant and commented:
    GENDERCIDE (The act of murdering a woman’s future or her life) HAS GOT TO STOP! And what was her crime? Being alone on a bus and fighting off her attacker. NEWS FLASH: Any man who can’t keep it in his pants has no self-discipline, I agree with Jane. Anyone who would commit a crime like this is a monster and can’t even be considered human. I will add my own thoughts about an animal like this one: Take him to the pound and have him Euthanized! An article about Özgecans brutal attack is at:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May those of us that learn of your story stand firmly united to see the day come where all women are treated fairly by societies around the world. Your death is not in vain. Eyes are open, people around the world are talking and we shall continue to fight for the rights of all women, everywhere.


  3. When I read about Özgecan in the New Zealand news this afternoon, Janey, I noticed she was killed in Mersin and thought of you! This is so well said, Janey. And Maya Angelou says what it is we all must do. Remember to take care, as well! (I’m sharing this on Twitter.)


  4. Very well said. You have said everything and more need to be said about this young lady and the mission she has unknowingly started. She is NOW the light of mission for the safety of women all around the word.
    THANK YOU Jane Gundogan.


  5. A wonderful post, Jane. Thank you so much for writing this. Here in Jamaica we are struggling with the issue of violence against women, which inexplicably seems to be worsening (at the moment, our university campus is grappling with it). I will share.


  6. Reblogged this on Petchary's Blog and commented:
    Violence against women has never really gone away. It remains a huge global issue that we all struggle with. Here in Jamaica, administrators, staff and students on our major university campus are currently seeking solutions after a brutal attack on a female student. At least ten women have been murdered this year already – several of them by former or current partners.
    A fellow blogger who lived in Turkey for some years shared this eloquently written piece by another blogger who lives there. The case she refers to has sparked furious protests across the country, by men and women. Ozgecan Aslan, a 22-year-old psychology student, was kidnapped by a bus driver. As she fought off her attacker who attempted rape, she was stabbed, hit on the head with an iron bar and her burned body was found two days later in a riverbed. Turkey has its own concerns; according to government figures, the number of women murdered increased by 1,400 per cent between 2002 – 2008. In 2013, according to Al Jazeera, an estimated 28,000 women were assaulted.
    Let us never lose our sense of outrage at this scourge of gender-based violence. As in Turkey, men and women of all ages must come together to make their voices heard. Enough is enough.


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  10. If only we could say a major change has happed since Özgecan and many others became angles; listen to parliament and you’d think it’s going in the opposite direction of what women need, no deserve! Quite the visceral piece thank you


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