It’s the Islamic mandate to men that their women are chattel that keeps the cycle of abuse going. The more Turkey Islamizes…the more this will go on.
Domestic violence in Turkey rife despite new law
More than a third of women in Turkey have experienced sexual and physical violence at some point. An anti-violence law introduced in March was watered down by Prime Minister Erdogan. Activists fear an erosion of rights.
Aisha is on the run from her six brothers. If they find her, they will try to kill her. Again. Seven years ago, they cornered the then 17-year-old and each fired a bullet. She had dared to run away from a forced marriage with a man at least twice her age. To conceal her identity, Aisha is not her real name.
“We have been protecting her for seven years. But if we make even just one mistake, just a tiny one, we will lose her.” Aisha’s lawyer Hülya Gülbahar spreads out her hands in a gesture of despair. Losing her client is her worst fear.
“She was trying to elope with her boyfriend. They killed him,” Gülbahar said.
The lawyer and women’s rights activist in her 40s has seen many such cases. She says they haunt her at night: Girls secretly married off before they reach the legal age of consent at 17; a 12-year-old raped by a husband three times her age. More than a third of women in Turkey over the age of 15 have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their husband or partner at some point in their lives, according to Human Rights Watch. In rural areas, the figures are even higher, almost 50 percent.