Violence sown today to be reaped tomorrow
Turkey is 13th among 41 countries with the highest number of murders. Crime rates increased 58 percent in Turkey between the years 2011 and 2014. The number of juveniles pushed into crime increased 6.2 percent from 2013 to 2014. Violence, harassment and rape crimes increased 14 times between the years 2004 and 2014. During the years 2005 to 2010, more than 100,000 women were sexually attacked. In the last seven years, femicides have increase 1,400 percent. Four out of every 10 women suffer from physical violence.
Mostly between the ages 7 and 9, one out of every four girls face sexual violence. Some 55 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 10 who are harassed and 40 percent of those between 10 and 16 who are harassed are victims of incest.
The situation is grave. Violence against women and children is increasing; the number of juveniles pushed to crime is increasing; murders are increasing. Violence, in whatever form it takes, is increasing.
Associate Professor Bilge Selçuk from Koç University’s Psychology Department said there were different approaches, explaining individual and social violence. She has a psychologically-based approach.
Selçuk pointed out that conservative policies were implemented into society through the identity and role of women. A woman who wanted to divorce her husband because of domestic violence had to fight the legal system and the judge also, Selçuk said.
When judicial cases resulted in releases or minimum penalties, this reinforced the opinion that violence was tolerated. This was dangerous in two aspects, Selçuk said. “First society’s confidence in justice is shaken and the view that violence is a valid and effective method is nurtured. Second, those who have the intention for violence are now more fearless to resort to it; it facilitates the creation of the environment of violence.
Experiences make people think violence works and that non-violent solutions do not work.”
Another factor in the escalation of violence was personal arming. “A state institution, MKE [the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation], was selling weapons in installments and the security department was organizing shooting days and contests for the public. The armament of society increases deaths by accidents and armed crimes. Owning a weapon strengthens the wish to take the law into [their] own hands,” Selçuk said, adding, “Arms always weaken society and democracy; they nurtures and strengthens illegal tendencies.”
Let us remember here that 50 percent of murders in Turkey are committed by firearms.
Worse is that violence does not hit only the millions of victims. This violence hits the children who were born and raised in the same house or the same environment as the victim. Pointing out the fact that many pregnant women are subject to violence, Selçuk said, “Violent stress harms the baby while still in the mother’s womb. Structural problems in the baby’s brain may be seen.”
According to Selçuk, children raised in environments that contain violence have cognitive disorders; their ability to control themselves is affected. This means that violence breeds violence.
In other words, the violence in our country raises pro-violent kids. For this reason, we cannot regard the violence of today as temporary.
The violence we sow today will be reaped in the new generations tomorrow.