42 pct of Turkish women targets of violence

November 24, 2009, Tuesday/ 16:48:00
Forty-two percent of women in Turkey become targets of physical or sexual violence, a staggering statistic which along with others will be the focus of events held on the occasion of tomorrow's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Women and men in Turkey and around the world will express their opposition to gender violence through a myriad of media and activities tomorrow, and a number of recent figures released by the Directorate General on the Status of Women (KSGM) makes it strikingly clear that this issue needs immediate attention. According to KSGM data, gathered as part of the “Violence against Women in Turkey Study,” one in 10 women faces violence while they are pregnant. One of every four married women who are targets of violence is injured to the point of requiring medical attention. One of every three women who face violence from a husband or boyfriend attempts suicide. One in every five women, married and single, faces violence from their relatives, their husbands' relatives or people at school or the workplace.

“I was beaten by my husband, my daughter's father; I was pregnant then. He knew about my pregnancy; I was three months pregnant. Because of the beatings the fetus descended, and the risk of a miscarriage was very high. I could have miscarried; I could have lost my child … Thank God that nothing like that happened. After that we separated, I left after being beaten,” says a 26-year-old in her statement as part of the KSGM study. The situation differs little abroad, where one in every three women worldwide faces violence in their lifetime; in the US, every 15 seconds a woman is subjected to physical abuse.

This year the KSGM’s activities on the occasion of the Nov. 25 observation will include the distribution and posting of posters and brochures in all of Turkey’s 81 provinces to spread awareness of violence against women and encourage a change in attitude on the subject. The brochures include recommendations for women facing violence and also encourage men to take a stance against gender violence while providing information on the problems of honor killings, harassment and rape. In addition, stands will be set up along Ankara’s Yüksel Street with women’s resources, and at noon tomorrow women and women’s supporters will gather in front of the capital’s Turkish Red Crescent headquarters and march from there to Yüksel Street. Women’s groups and NGOs say they will also call for changes to legislation that reduces prison sentences for offenders based on alleged “provocation” and petition for the opening of more women’s shelters in Turkey.

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