What does the comfort of women to walk on the streets depend on?
Sabri Çelebi went on the streets with a machete during the Gezi Park Protests in Istanbul in 2013 and attacked protesters. He injured a woman by kicking her and a policeman from his hand. He was caught but released immediately afterwards. He went abroad. The ruling for his release was rejected.
When he returned to Turkey, he was caught and released again. A case was opened within the scope of the investigation. A sentence of 27 years was sought over injuring the police chief on his hand, resisting against an officer on duty, physically injuring the officer with a knife and injuring that woman. He got away with only a cash fine of 9,000 Turkish Liras. Recently, we read that he was arrested for threatening a Libyan businessman.
Abdullah Çakıroğlu kicked a nurse named Ayşegül Terzi on a bus exactly one year ago for wearing shorts. He was caught thanks to views on social media. “I behaved according to Islam, today I would do it again,” he had said in his statement. He was released maybe 50 times. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) later on discarded one of the judges who set him free and afterwards the same judge was detained. Finally, with the pressure from the media and the public opinion and reactions from women, he was punished to three years and 10 months. Remission or reprieve was not made on the penalty.
Ercan Kızılateş punched a university student named Melisa Sağlam for wearing shorts during Ramadan in a bus in the district of Pendik on June 14. The incident was caught on camera. Sağlam took an assault report. The attacker was caught three days later and he was identified by the victim. The police set him free! He had “defended” himself, saying, “Women dressing this way provoke desire.” On top of it, he had filed a complaint against Sağlam. A chief public prosecutor office had ordered for him to be detained again in response to the reactions. It is interesting, but at that time, the attacker was sent to Metris Prison over a totally different crime, which was “opposition to the Tax Procedure Law.” As a result, yesterday he got a prison sentence of 3 years and 4 months.
Eventually, he was released on grounds that considered he had spent time in prison before.
I am not a legal expert. But here’s what I conclude from these three cases about justice:
Injuring the police, walking with a gun, opposition to the Tax Procedure Law, and threatening a businessman, all find their penalty in some way. And this is very good.
But if you are a woman wearing shorts, you should walk with a bodyguard if possible!
Because if a lunatic attacks you without a reason, those images must be recorded, there must be witnesses who are not afraid of testifying, the man must be caught, the police officers must not say “the man is right, she wore shorts,” and the judge must be a shady person who is or about to be discarded from the HSYK and/or someone who can be detained.
Apart from this, support from the media, women’s organizations, families, friends and a strong lawyer is necessary. It takes time. If the man has friends at high places and is a dangerous type, you need a couple of bodyguards. And if he is punished with a good three years or so, the penalty, remission, converting the prison sentence to a fine or sayings such as “one month in prison and that’s enough” must not exist.
These are all necessary for women to walk on the streets without being afraid because of the people who get irritated from shorts, miniskirts, headscarves or this and that.
In short, justice is necessary for everyone and every time.
Justice should be so clear and objective that each woman should be able to walk comfortably on the streets. That is important, please!