Turkey – Rising Domestic Violence & Femicide During the COVID-19 Lockdown Period +”We Will Stop Femicide” Platform
Date: April 30, 2020
Turkey – 21 women killed in the space of 20 days 11 March through April 2. “Fourteen of them have been killed at home,” says the We Will Stop Femicide Platform group, which takes its figures from media reports, said in a statement. It added that many women who had contacted the group were scared to report violence by husbands or partners, which had grown under the domestic lockdown conditions.
TURKEY – WE WILL STOP FEMICIDE – PLATFORM
WE WILL STOP FEMICIDE PLATFORM:
WE ARE LEARNING, EXPLAINING AND EXTENDING THE STRUGGLE
We know both the answer and solution to the question of why femicide rates have increased:
The society is progressing; women are adapting to this change and asking for their modern rights. Women, from all regions and social segments of Turkey, want to work, have access to education, get a divorce or break up with their partners if they are not happy, not to be forced to do things they do not want to, and make their own decisions about their lives. This is an indispensible and irreversible historical process. Women will certainly gain their rights through struggle. However, they are not supposed to pay such a price. Patriarchy is the reason behind the loss of so many lives.
Rather than acknowledging this social reality and understanding women, men are responding women’s quest for rights with violence and putting obstacles in their way. The lack of efficient policies that secure equal existence and rights of women is also encouraging men who are prone to violence.
Women will live if their quest for rights, which actually is a very favorable development that would ameliorate the society, is supported, they are empowered, and male violence is fought off with a resolute political will. Whole Turkey will improve. The vitality of this and the society’s desire for stopping femicide was manifested with the devastating loss of our sister, Özgecan. The society staked out a claim on all murdered women in her name. It was manisfested, after Özgecan’s death, which disturbed society’s conscience due to the way she was killed, that people do not want to hear femicide news, which they watch on the TV everyday.
Turkey wants femicide to stop. We can save women’s lives if we together put this opportunity, which is also a milestone for our platform, to good use and unite our strength, hearts and minds.
Let’s stop femicide together by putting up a strong fight;
And create a country in which women are not murdered and everybody lives happy lives.
Our platform will keep the struggle going until we see these beautiful days.
The Platform’s Objective
The platform strives for stopping femicide and ensuring their protection from violence. It fights against all types women’s rights violations, starting with the violation right to life.
The Status of The Platform
We Will Stop Femicide Platform has the status of legal person. We continue our efforts for the association to gain the status of “public benefit association”. The founders of the Platform are the families of our sisters who were murdered, women from various political parties, bar associations, business associations, trade unions and other organizations, as well as independent women. Given that femicide in Turkey is a problem that concerns the whole society, representatives of all political parties with or without parliamentary groups and various civil society organizations, artists, journalists, writers, sports fans, LGBTT organizations participate in the platform’s activities.
The groups that participate in our activities differ depending on the region and the form of a given activity. For instance, in a city/region where a femicide case is pursued and protested, the platform claims the case with the active local organizations, sensitive to women’s rights, whoever they may be comprised of. If a given activity has a more comprehensive and widespread character, such as our international petitions, a much larger public takes joint action.
The Platform’s Activities
– The Platform’s priority is to keep women alive. To this end, it provides legal assistance to women who want to be safe from violence and join their fight for their lives. It calls the authorities to duty in order to implement the law no. 6284; organizes trainings to inform women of their rights under the protection the law; organizes press- related activities; gets support from its friends in the art world; raises social awareness and creates public opinion;
– Joins court cases via its representatives and lawyers next to the women who are exposed to different forms of violence such as “physical violence, bodily injuries, threats and the restriction of freedom”; fights for securing justice and protection for the women who are alive;
– Embraces its deceased sisters; fights for justice hand in hand with their families; pursues femicide cases; provides legal assistance; creates public opinion by drawing attention to femicide in the court houses; in short, puts up a fight for all women;
– Thanks to the Platform’s involvement in the femicide cases with its lawyers and representatives and standing up with the families of the murdered women, penalty reductions have become more difficult and deterrent sentences have been attained (For the court cases followed all over Turkey, please see http://kadincinayetlerinidurduracagiz.net).
– In a significant number of cases, the Platform’s requests to join criminal cases are accepted by the courts. Relying on this experience, the Platform invites the Ministry of Family and Social Policies to adopt the same approach and get involved in the cases in favor of women; calls for and ensures their participation in the trials.
– It fights for the solution of the legal problems regarding the violence against women, puts up a struggle to attain legal gains in favor of women and actively participates in the legislation processes. The platform actively participated in the making of the “Law for Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women No 6282”. For a while now, it has been struggling for the inclusion of the term “femicide” in the Turkish Penal Code, its penalization by “aggravated life imprisonment”, and the annulment of continuing abatements. The Platform has a legislative proposal submitted to The Grand National Assembly of Turkey on November 25, 2013.
– It contributes to the justice by revealing the truth about the “doubtful death” cases treated as “suicides” and closed. It encourages the local courts and The Court of Appeals to make precedential decisions in the cases regarding women’s protection, sexual assault and femicide. Thus, it contributes to the formation of a relevant jurisprudence in all these ways.
– It keep records to elucidate femicide facts in Turkey, collects data on femicide and shares it with public on a monthly basis. Monitors femicide cases in the country and alerts the authorities about the relevant developments (For the femicide facts between 2008-2015, please see http://kadincinayetlerinidurduracagiz.net).
– Conveys the Platform’s opinions to The Grand National Assembly of Turkey. It pays visits to the parliament with the families of murdered women or gets invited by the parliament on the subjects of violence against women and gender equality, and takes part in the negotiations (For the parliamentary negotiations, please see http://kadincinayetlerinidurduracagiz.net).
– The Platform, which believes both in the methods of struggle and negotiation, organizes meetings and protests to expand the fight to stop femicide. In order to meet new supporters it opens stands at the schools in the cities in which it has branches, makes the platform known, organizes publicity meetings, and carries out various protests and activities depending on the circumstances.
– The Platform’s views and activities are collectively determined in the meetings. It conducts different activities, organizes varying meetings in different cities, universities, and high schools, and opens branches.
The Platform Branches
The foundation of branches in Aydın, Burdur, Çorum, Denizli, Muğla and Rize is in the progress.
The Platform has branches in foreign countries such as Canada (Toronto), Germany (Bonn) and Sweden (Basel) and individuals from U.S.A., Netherlands, France and Britain participate in the activities of the Platform.
The Operation of the Platform Branches
The Platform’s activities are based on the decisions made in the extensive platform meetings. Depending on the conditions of the city and/or school where a Platform branch is based, proposals regarding publicity events, opening stands, training meetings, screenings, protests, the court cases to be followed up and related demonstrations, participating in joint protests or activities with other organizations are settled in these broader Platform meetings.
To implement these decisions, administrative bodies, consisted of volunteers, are formed in each city and school. All volunteers, without any limitations on their number, can participate in these administrative bodies and become Platform representatives. The representatives are responsible for the implementation of the decisions made in the extended Platform meetings. They may also organize prompt meetings when needed and make effective decisions in the case of instantaneous developments.
Only women attend to the meetings and activities. The authority, and the rights to speak and make decisions belong to women. Because women are the disadvantaged party of the inequality and violence. It is imperative for them to organize together and grow stronger so as to engender self-confidence and strength. Certainly, men who recognize women’s existence and rights and who have a friendly relationship with women’s movement can contribute to our struggle. They may mobilize women around them, provide support within the bounds of their resources (occupational, economical, etc.) and express solidarity. This cooperation is valuable.
The Activity Fields of the Platform Branches
Law, the press, social media, graphic design, donations and financial support constitute the main fields of activity. New fields can be opened based on new suggestions.
The Solutions that the Platform’s Suggests
To stop femicide we request our 5 basic demands, which originated from our experience in this struggle, to be fulfilled:
1- The president, the prime minister and the leaders of all political parties should condemn violence against women.
2- The protection law No. 6284 should be efficiently implemented.
3- Our legislative proposal to add an additional clause to the Turkish Penal Code regarding “aggravated life imprisonment” should be accepted.
4- A Ministry of Women should be founded.
5- We demand a new constitution that prioritizes gender and sexual orientation equality.
Recently, especially after Özgecan’s death, the whole society has embraced our demands; and it has been proven that the problem that has the heaviest toll on the society’s conscience is the penalty reductions. In this respect, the demand that the Platform prioritizes and considers as the first step towards the solution is giving legal status to the term “femicide” legal status in the Turkish Penal Code. The penalty reductions, which lead to the continuation of fmicide, should be canceled and the relevant clause should be amended so as to involve “aggravated life imprisonment”.
The Platform believes that practices such as “capital punishment” and “castration” are human rights violations and rejects them as possible solutions. The proper regulation in the case of femicide is the “aggravated life imprisonment”, which is consistent with the universal justice standards.
These demands are only initial steps, which can be regarded as life saving “emergency treatments”, towards the solution. If we start taking these steps the circumstances in which we live will rapidly change and improve. Nevertheless, there is a lot to do in the medium and long run to produce radical solutions to our problems. It is imperative that the awareness of both the society and the future generations is constantly raised and they are educated about gender equality, anti-sexism and anti-discrimination.
In order for women to attain equal rights, there is a long struggle ahead of us, which requires perseverance. If we do our best at the moment without any delays to save women’s lives, we can fight for our rights in the future in solidarity with our sisters whose lives we saved.
Let’s keep the fight on,
May our path be clear!
WE WILL STOP FEMICIDE PLATFORM