PTT to provide special mailboxes for gender-based violence victims

May 11, 2012, Friday/ 16:52:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The Postal and Telecommunications General Directorate (PTT) has decided to join the fight against gender-based violence by providing special mailboxes for victims to use to communicate their concerns and complaints.

In an agreement signed on Thursday, PTT and the parliamentary Commission for Equal Opportunity for Women and Men will work together to establish post office boxes for women who face gender-based violence. These women will be able place their complaints in the regularly checked boxes to be forwarded quickly to the commission. Victims of violence will also be able to send requests for aid and support to the commission through these mail boxes.

This service for victims of gender-based violence will be free of charge, PTT Director General Osman Tural told the press. According to Tural, the mailboxes will be placed all over Turkey, and the commission will determine their color and design.

In another positive development in advancing women’s rights, a military bill presented to the parliamentary speaker earlier this week includes changes in rhetoric as well as to maternity and paternity leave.

The bill to amend the Law on Military Judges, the Military Criminal Code, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Law and the Military Law aims to change all references to “ladies” to “women.” Additionally, pregnant soldiers would be entitled to 12 months of unpaid leave plus four months of maternity leave.

Both mothers and fathers of adopted children under the age of three would be able to receive 12 months of unpaid leave from the TSK.

In the case of a mother’s death during or after birth, the father in the TSK would be entitled to receive the same length of paternity leave.

Despite government and legislative initiatives and efforts, Turkey continues to struggle with violence against women. According to a 2011 UN report, 39 percent of women in Turkey have reported suffering physical or sexual violence.

According to an Independent Communication Network (Bianet) report released on Friday, men in Turkey killed nine women in April of 2012.

In İzmir earlier in the week, a man stabbed his wife to death. Police arrived on the scene and arrested Ahmet T., who had been convicted of previous acts of domestic violence. In November 2011, a case was opened against Ahmet T. for having beaten his now-deceased previous wife, Fatma T. Although he was initially sentenced to prison time, Ahmet T. was later able to walk free after paying a TL 3,000 fine.

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