What else but stand up for our children?
When 23-year-old Jyoti Singh was raped by six people in a bus and brutally murdered in 2012 in India, it caused huge public unrest and many people took to the streets in protest.
On the other hand, the dominant mentality in society questioned why a “decent girl” was out, wandering the streets at night. During the heated and loud debates, one friend of Singh’s calmly uttered these remarkable words: “The law should punish criminals, otherwise they are fearless. But, will the society change when we remove a monster out of the society? No, it will not. The people of this society and their mentalities need to change.”
Well, will our society change because we have removed the Karaman abuser from the society? No, it will not.
Others need to change. For instance, the parents who marry off their daughters as soon as they reach puberty, religion teachers who are obsessed with girls’ outfits, principals who want to separate school buildings for boys and girls, people who protect the abusers and the rapists, the prosecutors who demand releases for these same people, the judges who search for “consent” in abuse cases and who fill their rulings with reductions… Also, the politicians and opinion leaders who do not allow the questioning or criticizing of confined institutions that generate violence and abuse because of their very nature, as the whole world agrees; all of their mentalities should change.
Because even if we remove the Karaman monster out of society, when we look back at society we will see a thousand others in his place.
It has been weeks that my inbox has been filled with emails from mothers whose children have been abused. Some of them have been seeking justice for years; some others are at the brink of losing their mental health. Some are fighting without the support of one single person.
They have moved heaven and earth to protect their child but they need to prove again and again that they are good mothers because after the incident society tells them, “This is because of you. You were unable to protect your child.”
When they explain the incident, they return to the same details again and again. Not the details of the abuse, but the negligence, the unfairness in the trial, the injustices, the support services they could not access.
Many of them do not have a lawyer. Some of them have educated themselves as good as a lawyer.
When trust is lost in a society, that society is bound to fall sick and collapse. We are infected to an extent that is concerning. The virus is the widespread mentality. Without changing this mentality, no cure is possible.
It is up to those who rule this country to change the mentality; but they need to have the intention to do so. They should stop defending this and that. It is the state’s duty to educate the child, the parent, the prosecutor and the judge; in short, everybody. It is the state’s duty to audit institutions. It is the state’s duty to provide support services for the victims.
It is the state’s duty to correct the laws. The simplest one is the law that allows early marriages. How many years it has been? Why hasn’t the legislation been harmonized with international treaties? Why?
They should leave aside irrelevant defenses such as “We will not tolerate political abuse,” but act immediately.
Because as it is, modern Turkish society cannot be considered very different from a Turkey in the age of ignorance, when they buried new born girls alive.
Is it possible to talk about any success of a state that fails to provide that each child is raised in an honorable, healthy, peaceful and secure environment?
If we don’t stand up for our children, then for what else are we going to?