Last month Turkey witnessed 72 cases of rape, physical and sexual abuse, harassment and child abuse in 20 provinces, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the Independent Communication Network (Bianet).
Most of the incidents that involved male violence against women were reported in the Aegean region. İstanbul, which alone witnessed 14 incidents, was the most dangerous province for women in terms of gender-based violence last month.
Twenty-four women were murdered, 10 women were injured, 10 were raped and 16 women experienced sexual harassment in February. In cases of sexual harassment, the vast majority of female victims were attacked by men they know.
In the last two months, 164 women were murdered, raped, physically or sexually abused or harassed. In January 2012, 12 women were killed, 26 women were injured, 10 women were raped and 35 women were sexually harassed.
Bianet compiled its data on gender-based violence incidents from local and national media coverage. Legal experts and activists alike add, however, that most cases of violence against women go unreported. Bianet researcher Çiçek Tahaoğlu agreed. In comments to Today's Zaman, she said: “So we can say in February at least 10 women were raped. In other words, there were only 10 women who were brave enough to go public.”
Tahaoğlu said cases of injury are reported even less than other forms of gender-based violence because they are “usual somehow and are not considered newsworthy.”
The much heated debate on whether or not violence is increasing is futile, Tahaoğlu argued. “Violence against women is a social reality in Turkey. Is it increasing? Nobody can know that. But I can definitely say it's not decreasing.”