The platform, which is composed of many women’s organizations, has started to collect signatures for the proposed bill with the caveat that signatories would need to be women.
The suggested bill points out that in Turkey women who are sexually assaulted often encounter a skeptical, male-dominated culture that questions the behavior of the women.
When they apply to the relevant agencies, women are often treated with a mentality that suggests that the “victim deserved it.” For this reason, many victims are hesitant to even apply to authorities, the bill says. The bill proposal also underlines that sexual violence is increasing every day, so it is critical to create awareness against it in society and to help and treat victims as soon as possible and in the most effective way.
In order to achieve these stated goals, the platform suggests establishing a coordination board to fight against sexual violence. The board will be composed of representatives from government ministries, the General Directorate on the Status and Problems of Women, universities and also civil society organizations working in the field of violence against women.
According to the sample bill, this coordination board will oversee the operation of to-be-opened sexual violence crisis centers, first in Adana, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, İstanbul, İzmir and Samsun and then later all over Turkey. These centers will be at university hospitals and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This board will also cooperate with the judiciary in cases of sexual violence, ensure the training of experts on the subject, organize seminars and conferences and cooperate with their foreign counterparts to establish mechanisms to save any evidence for one year even if the victim does not press charges against the attacker or attackers.
The platform strongly suggests the establishment of crisis centers in order to respond to the needs of the victims. According to the suggested bill there will be gynecologists, psychologists and nurses at these centers, and they must be women.
The victims in these centers will also be given prophylactic treatment because abuse victims are considered to be at higher risk of HIV infections.
The sample bill suggests that the moment a victim enters, a specially trained psychologists and a woman from a civil society organization working in the field of violence against women will remain with the victim. The representative of the civil society organization will be paid by the state.
If the victim wants to press charges, the center will ask for the help of the Turkish Bar Association, and a lawyer will be paid by the state. The victim will also be able to report what happened to security forces that will be present at the centers at all times. According to the bill, these security forces should have special training.