Women organizations demand action against ‘femicide’

Women organizations demand action against ‘femicide’

November 15, 2010, Monday/ 17:55:00

Women's organizations are demanding from the government an “urgent plan of action” against what they refer to as “femicide” in Turkey, where three women are killed each day.

They are also demanding to be co-plaintiffs at the trials of the killings. The Women and Ethics Commission of the Turkish Physicians' Chamber said in a press conference over the weekend that, in order prevent the killing of women, “the dominant mechanism, which aims to control the labor and bodies of women with the assistance of the media and judiciary, is making attempts on the lives of women,” Müge Yetener, a member of the commission, underlined in the press conference. She also said that between January and August, last year 953 women and this year 226 women were killed.

But in October of this year alone 23 women were killed and 16 wounded. Also in October, 15 people were raped, 7 of them were children according to Bianet News, which is keeping a record of the assaults against women.

According to women’s organizations, the reasons for these killings were varied; wearing white pants, not passing the salt at the table, sending an sms, not preparing dinner on time and asking the time in a flirtatious manner.

Yetener added that the media, while reporting these killings, usually justified the stories and “tabloidized” them. She added that parody programs on TV are also having fun with the attacks, killings and rape. According to her, these kinds of programs justify the killings and make them commonplace.

“The killing of women reached the level of femicide but the measures to prevent them are next to nothing. The killers are not getting the punishment they deserve and the situation is encouraging them. The rape and murder of women are not individual events but systematic. The reasons for them are not perversion, culture or philistinism but the patriarchal system. Violence against women is the most direct method of putting pressure and control over the bodies and labor of women,” she underlined.

Yetener also urged her doctor colleagues to act responsibly and carefully in the cases of the violence and rape and encourage the victims to take legal action.

She urged the government to prepare and implement an urgent plan of action to prevent the femicide. She added that the victims of violence should be encouraged to fight for their rights and benefit from the protection.

For a long time, women’s organizations have been demanding more shelters, underlining that for every 7,500 people there should be one shelter house, however there are only 38 at the present time.

Meanwhile more than one hundred women organizations, representatives of municipalities and shelters will meet in Aydın’s Söke district on Dec. 17, to discuss the violence.

Actually, experts like Meltem Ağduk from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the coordinator of training programs on violence against women for policemen, public prosecutors, judges and recently for imams told Today’s Zaman that the laws and regulations to fight violence against women are adequate but they are not fully implemented.

“This is related with the mentality. Many officials are not aware of the responsibilities that the new laws gave them in this regard. This is a matter of awareness,” she said.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women Chairman Jose Mendes Bota, who was in Turkey for the meeting of the committee this weekend also underlined that Turkey recently recorded progress in the field of fighting violence against women but that it has also a long way to go.

“We believe that Turkey has work to do on the honor killings, early-age marriages and human trafficking,” he said.

Meanwhile the construction of seven new shelters was coordinated by the UNFPA, the European Union and the Ministry of the Interior have been completed and handed over to the related municipalities in Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, İzmir and Samsun this weekend.

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