I pulled a post yesterday about the purported death in prison of Ahmet Suphi Altındöken who was sentenced aggravated life in prison for the brutal murder of 20 year old Özgecan Aslan in February 2015. Although local media here in Mersin have reported his death there has not been anything posted nationally and so I thought it prudent to remove the post rather than spreading possible untruths (although if he had been killed he so totally deserved it and kudos to the dude that took him out).
But it does bring to mind the fact that Turkey does have a serious problem with male violence against women, along with other types of sexual assault with “victim blaming” being a large part of defence by the perpetrators. I recently read an article by Ayşe Arman headed “Was she wearing a mini skirt?”. Ayşe points out that there should be no “buts” or “howevers” when dealing with a rape victim or the victim of violent crime. Ayşe wants to see the maximum punishment for the attacker however due to the current unfathomable laws here in Turkey even a violent offender can have his sentence reduced thanks to the “good conduct” law. What is this nonsense you wonder? Simply put if the perpetrator behaves himself in Court and dresses well then he can be given a reduced sentence. Yep. This shit is real!
The website Bianet reported that, in 2015, there were 1,294 cases of violence by men against women including the murder of 284 women as well as 19 children living with them, while at least 133 women were raped. Meanwhile a website dedicated to tracking femicide victims, kadincinayetleri, states that more than 1,100 women have been killed by men since 2011. According to the website, in 608 of the cases, the murderers were husbands or ex-husbands of the victims. For those of you living in Turkey hop on this site and have a look at where you live. The stats will frighten you.
Late last year the opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) submitted a law, dubbed the “Özgecan Law” to increase the penalties in sexual assault cases and assault against women in general. Unfortunately that law has not yet come to fruition as it appears to have been criticized by a lawyers ‘apparently’ advocating women’s rights who claimed that heavier sentences would increase the brutality of future violence as those involved would want to destroy any evidence. *shaking my head in disbelief*
And so here in Turkey we continue to live in a society where their leader has been quoted as saying “women and men are not equal” and and just to clarify these outdated statements were made in the year 2014 not by some Sultan of yesteryear. I know right?
When I first wrote about Özgecan last year I finished my post with a Maya Angelou quote. I think that quote still stands true today:
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again”
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