Please don’t love to death

Please don’t love to death

I wonder how many women will be killed tomorrow on St. Valentine’s Day by their boyfriends or husbands. How many women’s lives will be ended with stab wounds? How many women will have bruises on their faces inflicted by their husbands?

In an event organized at Kad?? last Friday, I was walking together with the family of a victim, Mehtap Bülbül.

Mehtap was born in 1987. She was exactly 25 years old. She had fallen in love. Big time. She had even dropped school, left her university education, ran away and married her love, Volkan Civelek. He was the man who would be her murderer in a couple of years.

Mehtap, just like other women, walked blatantly to her death. She left her four-year-old daughter behind, but she herself was under protection with the “panic button” system. Still, Volkan Civelek killed his wife immediately after his restraining order expired. The police were reluctant to do what was necessary to extend the restraining order. What’s more, the police’s response to the family’s extension demand was, “You are watching too much TV.” There was one reason for the murder: Mehtap did not want to continue her marriage with Volkan. It was exactly like other murders that have been committed.

Why is the number of women killed by the men in their lives increasing every day?

The “Stop Women’s Murders” Platform explains the reason as follows: “It is because women are now making their own decisions. If you look closely, the highest murder rate is among those women who want to divorce.”
The reason is this simple. However, its solution is just as difficult. This is because, in the background, the social and cultural mentality of women is far from accepting this extremely visible reason. Leave alone the discourse of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?n and other government spokesmen. One of the top interlocutors on the topic, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin has uttered the following sentence: “The reason for the murder of most of the women is that they want to make their own decisions about their lives; they do not want to continue their relationships.” It is the same mentality that lies behind the reluctance of the police to execute the relevant laws. It is the reflection of society and the words used in Friday sermons and prayers at Islamic memorial services: “Oh God, make our women obedient.”

The social role that is imposed as appropriate for women by the government, which is frequently describes as “have many children,” is the biggest obstacle to women’s liberation. Which woman who has three children or which woman who has five children could find the courage to end a troubled marriage? Indeed, she will grin and bear it and keep quiet.

I wonder how many men will look into the eyes of their beloved women and say “I am dying for you” this St. Valentine’s Day? How many women will go after the men who said “I am dying for you”? How many will go, without knowing what will happen to them, when they want to part their ways with that same man.

Özlem Yüzak is a columnist for daily Cumhuriyet in which this piece was published on Feb. 13. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.