Rape victim to return to high school in Turkey’s Diyarbakır after intervention of ministries
Gülden Aydın – DİYARBAKIRA woman who was forced into a religious marriage with her rapist at the age of 17 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır will return to high school, following an intervention from the Education Ministry and the Family and Social Policies Ministry.
A committee from the provincial Directorate of Family and Social Policies on Aug. 21 visited the house of the woman, now 21 years old and identified only by her initials K.Ç., upon the instruction of Family Minister Betül Sayan Kaya. The committee told K.Ç.’s family that they would be provided with legal, psychological, health, and economic support.
Officials will also help K.Ç. continue her education at another high school, as she was pressured to leave her previous school after it heard that she was raped.
Hürriyet reported last week that her family and the family of the rapist, identified only by the initials V.B., pressured her into having a religious marriage, overseen by an imam, in what they said would “clear her honor.”
The marriage also helped V.B., who was being tried for raping K.Ç. several times, be acquitted as he submitted the photographs of their wedding ceremony to the court, saying the two had a consensual relationship.
Many women’s associations and lawyers condemned the court decision that accepted the wedding photographs as evidence.
K.Ç.’s lawyer, Burak Göncü, told daily Hürriyet that the ruling was “unjust and against the law,” stating that the marriage was a “sham” to persuade K.Ç. to withdraw her complaint against the suspect and exploit “the region’s [conservative] sensitivities.”
“After they presented the wedding photographs to the court, they threw the girl [K.Ç.] out of the house, saying ‘Our business is done ... The court thus made a decision that only added to the victim’s unprotected situation. In the second hearing we left the courtroom and told [the judges] that the wedding was a scam, as K.Ç. couldn’t speak out due to her family’s pressur,” Göncü said.
Association for Support and Training of Women Candidates (KADER) head Nuray Karaoğlu said that what happened to K.Ç. shows the “calamity of violence” and the pressing issue of early marriage for women in Turkey.
“When women are seen as second-class people, it constitutes as a barrier to them utilizing their human rights,” Karaoğlu said.
Federation of Women Associations of Turkey head Canan Güllü blasted “the legalization of child marriage” in Turkey.
“What happens when you start talking about the concept of ‘consent’ for children? Then such freak decisions are made,” Güllü said.