243 women's associations slam new law on sexual crimes
The new draft law proposal that includes a multitude of amendments for the Penal Code is currently debated at the Turkish Parliament.Some 243 women’s associations grouped under the umbrella of the Platform for the End to Violence have argued a new law currently debated at Parliament will lead to lesser sentences for criminals, instead of toughening them, as was announced by the government.
The new draft law proposal that includes a multitude of amendments for the Penal Code was presented last month amid increased media attention for a series of child murders.
According to online news website Bianet, the women’s association criticized that the law was prepared without the consultation of different interlocutors and parties, adding that its content failed to contribute to bring a solution for domestic violence and sexual abuse.
They also argued the law very often assimilated flirting with forced marriage and reflected on this basis a tendency of “conservatism” and restriction of sexual freedoms.
The platform underlined seven main objections regarding the law:
- The draft law contains new arrangements providing “reduced sentences” for violence during rape and sexual abuse.
- It lacks a legal provision that could prevent the reduction of sentences on the grounds that a victim may have allegedly “provoked” her assailant.
- It also lacks a provision that will consider the testimonies of the victims as fundamental and ascribes the obligation of proving the contrary to the assailant.
- It limits the time for filing a complaint to a barely six months after the attack.
- The draft law also accentuates the risk of harsher sentences for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 engaging in consensual sexual intercourse.
- It brings a separation between “attack” and “abuse” in cases of sexual crimes against children, which leads to potential reduction of sentences.
- It also mentions the possibility of a “cure” for assailants, which constitutes according to the platform an attempt to define sexual crimes as a disease, rather than a crime.
The law is part of a larger omnibus bill containing arrangements on a myriad of issues, including amendments on social security laws and subcontracted workers.
The women’s association also criticized the government’s strategy to submit draft laws on very different issues as part of a single omnibus bill, adding this practice did not help to raise a healthy debate.