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LOCAL >Turkish women relate sexual harassment stories via social media

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Beren Saat, a Turkish actress and celebrity, wrote via Twitter about her own experiences and how hard it was to be a woman in Turkey.

Beren Saat, a Turkish actress and celebrity, wrote via Twitter about her own experiences and how hard it was to be a woman in Turkey.

Turkish women started a social media campaign on Feb. 15 to help end violence against women by sharing their own sexual harassment stories under the hashtag #sendeanlat (you tell your story too), after a 20-year-old woman was brutally killed in southern Turkey.

The burned body of 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan, a psychology student who had been missing for two days, was discovered Feb. 13 in a riverbed in the Tarsus district of the southern province of Mersin.
The brutal slaying of Aslan created outcry around Turkey, where women, together with many men, took to the streets to protest Aslan’s murder and violence against women in general.

A social media campaign with the hashtag #sendeanlat was initiated to draw attention to violence against women, providing a space for women to share their own stories of how they were sexually abused or raped.

Beren Saat, a Turkish actress and celebrity, wrote via Twitter about her own experiences and how hard it was to be a woman in Turkey.

Saat wrote about the sexual abuses she has faced, starting from her school years up until very recently, even as a well-known actress.

“All the cat-calls at me while I was returning home from school with a school uniform skirt … my accelerated steps in the dark while returning home from preparatory school … the face of the child who showed me his erect penis to me inside our apartment building and me running home with trembling hands and not telling this story to anyone … my fight with a drunk broadcasting manager who grabbed my butt during the TV channel’s celebration night…” were examples of some of the abuse Saat related.

Didem Soydan, a well-known Turkish model, tweeted that she had received abusive text messages, which started with “so you’re a model,” after testifying and giving her cell phone number to police in the case of a woman who was forced into a car after being beaten.

Among the stories shared under the #sendeanlat, many women related either their own harassment stories or shared measures that women had to take in order to avoid sexual abuse.

“Not being able to turn the light on immediately when you enter your house to avoid being spotted at which flat you live,” or “Is there any man [in Turkey] who tells his mother to keep talking on the phone because a group of women are standing in his way?” and “We cannot wear lipstick, miniskirts, grow our hair long, go out at night, laugh because we are women, right?” were a few examples of the many shared stories which women in Turkey face.

Meanwhile, during a rally condemning Aslan’s murder in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, a woman cried for justice as she related by megaphone the story of her rape.

“Enough already! What is the end to the murders, rapes and all these things? The judge said there is ‘consent’ because [the rape victim] has passed 16 years,” said M.N., the rape victim, referring to her own rape case, during which the suspect for rape walked free from court because the judge ruled she had given her consent to the sexual act as she was over 16 years old.

February/16/2015

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