Lawyers and nongovernmental organizations have reacted angrily after the Supreme Court of Appeals reduced a sexual abuse sentence against a father convicted of raping his own daughter on the grounds that the girl had remained a virgin even though she had aborted the fetus.
"This decision has ruined every attempt we have made to prevent the legitimization of these kinds of incidents," Liz Amado, head of the Women's Human Rights Association, told daily Akşam.
The incident was revealed after the then-14-year-old victim, who suffers from Down syndrome, went to the hospital to undergo abortion four years ago. Blood tests revealed that it was 99.99 percent likely that the father of who her unborn child was her own father.
The victim was immediately transferred to relevant authorities, where she confirmed that her father had had intercourse with her.
A local court sentenced the father to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse. The high court, however, recently overruled the decision, claiming that the "the victim's hymen is not suitable for intercourse and that she is still a virgin."
The high court stated that "only sexual abuse through penetration” necessitated a heavier sentence, whereas "basic sexual abuse" did not. Public, mother reacts to the decision
The mother quickly divorced the father once news of the rape became public, but the victim reportedly failed to understand what had happened due to her mental challenges.
The victim's attorney, Hünkar Demir Çelik, said the decision was "unacceptable."
"I will request that the local court insist on its prior decision," Çelik said. "It is a known fact that only birth will undoubtedly break the flexible hymen."
Çelik further stated that if high court gets its way, the father will only serve five years in prison.
Amado said the case was not unique in its ruling and that similar misjudgments had been given before.