18 April 2014, Friday
Today's Zaman

Parliamentary report: Gender-based violence doubled in 4 years

Read Comment
13 March 2012, Tuesday /ALYSON NEEL/HABİB GÜLER
The parliamentary Human Rights Commission, in a report released on Tuesday, revealed that domestic violence and violence against women have doubled in the last four years in Turkey.

The report prepared by a sub-commission of the parliamentary Human Rights Commission revealed that, according to gendarmerie and police statistics, Turkey witnessed 48,264 gender-based incidents of violence in 2008, 62,587 incidents in 2009, a total of 72,257 incidents in 2010 and 80,398 incidents in 2011.

Between 2008 and 2011, therefore, Turkey saw a total of 263,506 cases of domestic abuse and violence against women. The sub-commission's report compiles a number of cases of violence against women and domestic abuse, including intentional homicide, intentional injury, sexual abuse, incest, sexual abuse of minors, sexual intercourse with a minor, torture, forced and encouraged prostitution, deprivation of one's liberty, polygamy and fraudulent marriage.

According to the report, İstanbul was the most dangerous province for women in terms of domestic and gender-based violence last year with a total of 10,207 cases of gender-based violence. The report also finds violence appears to be decreasing in some of Turkey's Anatolian provinces, which are typically considered the hotbed of gender-based violence, forced marriages and honor killings.

In 2008, Batman and Diyarbakır saw 163 and 581 incidents of domestic abuse and gender-based violence, respectively. In 2011, those figures dropped to 51 and 279. The sub-commission members propose the preparation of a national Strategic Action Plan to put an end to domestic violence and violence against women in Turkey. The report also underlines the need for a strategic restructuring of the judiciary and police infrastructures and a “reference point” for reporting incidents of gender-based violence.

Violence against women is not a new issue in Turkey, where more than 40 percent of women have suffered from gender-based violence at some point in their lives. But the parliamentary Human Rights Commission report has been released in the midst of the heated debate as to whether gender-based violence is actually increasing in Turkey.

Earlier this week Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin announced she would be begin sorting through gender-based violence cases reported to the police. Şahin, claiming there was no such record of gender-based violence before 2009, called many of the statistics floating around baseless. The debate becomes even murkier when considering, legal and human rights experts have pointed out, that most cases of gender-based violence go unreported.

Law professor and Police Academy instructor Dr. Vahit Bıçak told Today’s Zaman in an exclusive interview that several factors could explain what appears to be a significant increase in gender-based violence.

“The increase might reflect an awareness of domestic violence on all sides,” explained Bıçak, pointing to more comprehensive reporting by police and media in recent years. “In past years, the police were not equipped to handle such cases. Now they are more aware of the issue and how to deal with it effectively,” he said. If the increase is actual and not merely statistical, Bıçak argued economic and social problems could play a role.

Nilüfer Narlı, the head of Bahçeşehir University’s department of sociology, agreed Turkey now has more comprehensive reporting and statistics on gender-based violence. But Narlı added the nearly twofold increase in the murders of women between 2002 and 2009 makes her think Turkey is also witnessing an increase in gender-based violence.

Whether or not violence against women is increasing or simply persisting unabated, Narlı told Today’s Zaman she believes “many men feel their boundaries of masculinity have been challenged.”

“Today there is more talk of gender equality and women’s rights. More women are getting vocal and are not afraid to fight back against domestic violence. This fosters a sort of insecurity, and we see many men react out of even more aggression,” she explained.

Both Bıçak and Narlı agreed more research must be done to better understand whether gender-based violence is indeed worsening. “We must discern whether there has been a real or statistical increase. What we need is a meticulous academic study of what is going on here,” Bıçak stressed.

Violence continues unabated

The body of a young woman who was engaged to be married was found in the reservoir of a dam on Tuesday in Adana.

Employees of a nearby kebab restaurant found the body of 18-year-old Elisa Gizem Şirin, who also worked at the restaurant, in the Seyhan Reservoir, the Cihan news agency reported on Tuesday. Police and paramedics arrived at the scene and found no bruises or signs of a struggle in the first medical examination of Şirin. While the police said it is possible that Şirin committed suicide, a fellow employee said he remembers the young woman leaving the restaurant laughing and in good spirits.

Meanwhile, in Kütahya, a woman who abandoned her 15-day-old baby at an apartment complex left a note that read, “If my family finds out, we’ll both die.”

Security camera footage reveals a woman leaving her female infant, wrapped in a blanket, on the basement floor of an apartment complex. The note she attached to her baby’s blanket read: “I can no longer take care of my child. I was raped. Her father refuses to accept the child. If my family finds out, they will kill us both. The state will look after her better than I.”

It would be interesting to know in how many of these GBV cases the perpetrator is under the influence of alcohol. In western countries and not the least in a number of African countries alcohol is involved in 50-60% of the cases.
Per-Ake Andersson
I have been in turkey some considerable time and as a male, understand the general role of Turkish and middle eastern society. To be perfectly frank, I find, outside of a small set of sophisticated, educated and well brought up families, that society is way too patriarchal and macho. Men in Turkey a...
Turkish men live in the 'dark ages'. They are not very smart because the emphasis on education is just not there. Ignorance, poverty, and religious beliefs all lead to crimes including violence against women, lying, stealing, conning, and scamming. The Turkish men stupidly believe that women were pl...
Surely this could not be happening under the pious control of the AKP? Surely religious muslims do not kill their own children/wives?
What a terrible society women in Turkey have to live in. This will not change while the stereotypes are encouraged and entrenched by men.The increase in cases can also be ascribed to women feeling more confident in speaking out for their rights as human beings but unfortunately the males have not ...
Making racist comments about Kurds doesn't help the situation at all. The fact of the matter is, this violence is occurring all over Turkey (and all over the rest of the world also--however, it occurs less in places where gender equality is greater). I just started watching dizi films for the firs...
Catherine Moroski-Erkul
It may be true that the violence doubled in Turkey, in the last few years. Or also it is posibble that women are more encouraged to report the violences and they are doing it! Or it is possible that both cases are true. Ergun Tok
Ergun Tok
Not to make light of this shocking statistic...BUT... the amount of violence against women I see people watching on TV genuinely dismays me. Soap operas are the worst offenders. THey are hugely popular in Turkey and they run and re-run virtually all day long. Most of them feature the most unbelievab...
tehlikeli yabanci
shaked, first, learn some English. Second, better yet, how about we show the thousands of rockets israel has fired at Palestinian women and children. Better yet, how about we show the israeli terrorists who murder Palestinian children. Palestinians have the right to kill the terrorists who that k...
why you don't show the 112 rockets that the palastinian send to israel ? why you didn't show the terorist that plan the terorist who kiled the citizen on the way to eilat city ,with the children . israel have the right to kill the terorist that kiled the israle people . why you kill the kordish peop...
Whether it's a case of more reporting or an increase in the rate of violent attacks, the most important thing is that the experts here are looking at stopping the reign of terror. That point wasn't clearly made in this article. But in real life, whichever direction the statistics are going and for w...
What a surprise, nearly all of it is committed in the Southeast, the home of the lovers of the Americans, the kurdish terrorists.
Click here to read all user comments
NATIONAL  Other Titles
Suspicions remain on 21st anniversary of President Özal's death
Interior Ministry seeks to expel 20 police chiefs
Former Adana prosecutor, wife file separate complaints
Media hate speech targets Turkey's Alevis most, report reveals
Take a stroll in these İstanbul neighborhoods
Ruling party wants Erdoğan presidential bid, say party officials
Turkey to hold further talks with Twitter
Film on young victims of Dersim massacre shown in Ankara
PKK kidnaps former mayor, three people in southeastern Turkey
Exemplary democrat Turgut Özal commemorated on 21st anniversary of death
Opposition deputy: CHP will apply to Constitutional Court over dershane law
Pro-gov't dailies report conflicting news on leaked audio on Syria
‘Nonexistent' Berkin Elvan video footage found
MHP leader calls for end to polarization
Prosecutor dismisses complaint against PM and ‘Alo Fatih'
İkizdere villagers march in protest of tree massacre
American citizen returns historic work to Turkey
Prosecutor drops probe into '94 airstrike that killed 38 villagers
PM avoids suing critics of corruption out of fear ‘truth may come out'
AK Party deputies pass MİT law article-by-article despite warnings
Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MİT
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Purges in police force leading to higher crime rate
AK Party government punishing reassigned police officers
Commemorations for former President Özal, supporter of Turkish schools abroad