Istanbul Municipality introduces measure to fight violence against women on streets

Istanbul Municipality introduces measure to fight violence against women on streets

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s council has passed a draft bill prepared by an opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member recommending that the city’s public buses drop female passengers off at destinations on demand late at night, in addition to designated bus stops.

The draft bill, introduced by CHP member Esin Hacıoğlu during the council’s third November hearing, is aimed at lowering the danger of women passengers facing assault or violence on the streets while walking on the streets from bus stops to their destinations late at night.    

The draft referred to figures from the Justice Ministry showing that between 2002 and 2015 there had been 5,406 women homicide incidents in Turkey. 

The draft also quoted recent figures on crimes committed against women, saying that 28 women were killed in March 2016 alone, while 12 women were raped, 63 women faced sexual abuse and 39 women faced other violent acts, according to officially registered statistics.

According to figures released by the rights organization Platform to Stop Murder of Women, some 35 women were killed and 21 were subjected to sexual violence in October.

The draft document at the municipality said that while the opening of women shelter homes had been praised, many women who demanded formal state protection and those staying at shelters had still become victims of homicide.

Hacıoğlu said the proposed practice could be a “crucial and important step” against psychological, physical and sexual violence prevalent in Istanbul, and they believed it would also “enable women to re-adjust to social life.” 

The draft states that public buses in Istanbul should drop off women at any point they request after 10 p.m.
A similar practice was introduced in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir in May with the initiative of the city’s municipality. 

“We have started a procedure of allowing women to get off at points that are closest to their homes … The sole reason for this [project] is safety,” Eskişehir Metropolitan Mayor Yımaz Büyükerşen had said at the time.

“Sometimes we go home late hours and feel anxious. But with this new implementation, we can get off wherever we want just like a dolmuş [shared taxi used in Turkey as public transportation]. We feel safer and we thank those who came up with this project,” said Eskişehir local Hande Başak Mutlu.