Women in Turkey are protesting loudly against a change in the law to prosecute sexual violence. They no longer feel safe in their country.
Istanbul – For a week now, women have been taking to the streets in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey to demonstrate for their rights. “Manhood is more lethal than Corona”, shouted some, so “Masculinity is more lethal than Corona”. Many fear for their safety. “Even before that, I didn’t feel safe as a woman,” a young Protestant told the news channel Global News, now an important legal protection is lost, she feels unsupported, “vulnerable”.
The reason for the recent protests is a new law change that Parliament passed on Friday. As reported by the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the reform will make concrete evidence of sexual violence and assault a precondition for the arrest of alleged perpetrators. “That is an incredibly dangerous addition,” said the lawyer and women’s rights activist Sema Kendirci of the dpa.
Protests in Istanbul: Turkey changes law on violence against women – “42 million women and children deprived of their safety”
So far, an urgent suspicion had been sufficient for an arrest. “This country is no longer a constitutional state anyway. But today we have come to a point where 42 million women and children have been deprived of their safety, ”said Kendirci. Now there is a risk that no criminal complaint can be made if the evidence is missing.
Sexual violence is not uncommon in Turkey, as in other countries. The corona pandemic has made the situation worse. In March, the police recorded a 38 percent increase in violence against women in Istanbul alone, according to Amnesty International.
With the new regulation “the perpetrators are protected and victims are presented like suspects”, criticized Aysen Ece Kavas from the platform “We will stop feminicide” in relation to the dpa. Femicides and child abuse are already taking place behind closed doors and without witnesses.
Women’s rights activist on Turkey’s exit from the Istanbul Convention: “extremely planned actions”
These are not the first protests by women’s rights activists in Turkey this summer. When the government, especially Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced in June that it would withdraw from the “Istanbul Convention” against violence against women, more than a thousand women took to the streets of the eponymous city.
The convention was signed in 2011 by thirteen and later by a total of 45 member states of the Council of Europe and provides binding legal norms to prevent domestic violence and violence against women. The withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention in connection with the new regulation was part of “extremely planned actions with the intention of depriving women of security – and not a coincidence,” said Kendirci. (vs / dpa)