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March 11, 2012, Sunday

Prevention of Violence against Women draft approved in Parliament, but what about the press? (1)

Everyone liked the discussions about the “draft law to protect family and prevent violence against women.” We see disgusting pictures of wounded or killed women on the front pages of leading newspapers.

Parliament unanimously approved the Prevention of Violence against Women bill in its March 8 session. This has been described as a victory by the press. Indeed, it is a big step towards stopping violence against women. The assembly dealt with the draft law in two sections. The first section contained measures such as seizing weapons or mandating the wearing of electronic tags or wrist bands for violent offenders. Imprisonment for people with court injunctions against them was included in this section.

But why did Parliament not raise any issues regarding the press? The press should indeed be instructed by law how to write about the results of court cases in which those who attack women are condemned, convicted and/or imprisoned.

The bill also provides for changing the woman's official ID and other documents if the life of a protected woman is in danger. But how does this help once a victimized woman is shown in the news? In my opinion, the press should limit the publication of the woman's picture and personal information. At the same time, it should be compulsory to reveal the name of the offender and the details of the penalty handed down to them.

Some amendments were decided on concerning media reports on violence against women during the debate at Parliament, but no one in Parliament spoke about this.

According to statistics, Turkey exceeds Europe and the US in the number of incidents of violence against women. This is unacceptable. It is very sad to see how one of the kindest nations in the world has turned into such an offensive society. Official statistics reveal that four out of 10 women in Turkey are subjected to physical violence by their spouses. I have further discovered that 60 percent of these women reportedly have a university degree. It is probably not correct that women with less education have less of a chance to report their husbands after violence whereas women with a degree are supposedly more eager to take the matter to the authorities. But I do believe that the less a woman is educated, the more she is exposed to the risk of domestic violence.

An easier reporting system for uneducated women must be implemented through the law.

NOTE: Berk Çektir is a licensed attorney at law and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please send inquiries to [email protected] If a sender's letter is published, name may be disclosed unless otherwise expressly stated by the sender.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

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