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Updated: Nov 10, 2020

The social media campaign with #challengeaccepted #womensupportingwomen became viral in the past few days. After the brutal murder of Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend in Turkey, people started this campaign in order to raise awareness.

According to a study, 42% of Turkish women aged between 15-60 have experienced some physical or sexual violence by their partners or husbands. In 2019 the number of reported femicides was 474. In July alone, over 40 women have been murdered so far.

Turkey's legal system is corrupted and insufficient. Murderers and rapists do not get their deserved sentences. It legitimizes and normalizes violence against women. Men are often given reduced sentences after they claim to have acted on impulse and their actions were mainly because of women's' provocative way of dressing or doing they are portrayed as helpless.

People who were trying to protest for the femicides were exposed to police brutality. On top of that, the government is now trying to abandon the Istanbul Convention.

What is the Istanbul Convention?

It is a convention for preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It is a European Human Rights Treaty, signed in 2011. It states that violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. The treaty addresses a series of offenses characterized as violence against women.

  • Psychological violence

  • stalking

  • physical violence

  • sexual violence (rape, explicitly covering all non-consensual engagement)

  • forced marriage

  • honor crimes

Why is it even a debate?

One of the major points of criticism is that the Convention does define the term “gender” as “the socially constructed roles, behavior, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men”.

The government thinks this definition is too broad and could cause emerging of a third gender.

Another point is that the Istanbul Convention requires parties to include teaching material on non-stereotyped gender roles. This is on occasion regarded as an attempt to enforce a liberal, western lifestyle in more traditional and conservative societies.

In short, they believe the convention supports homosexuality...

It is heartbreaking to hear this news. It is heartbreaking to try to raise awareness to stop the killing of women in this century. I know things are going to be much better in the future but until then how many more woman has to die? We need to stand together, speak up about injustice, support women, educate ourselves and our surroundings about the issue, raise awareness about domestic violence and femicide.

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