Majority of Turkish women subjected to violence, pursue legal means: Survey

Majority of Turkish women subjected to violence, pursue legal means: Survey

Meltem Özgenç – ANKARA
Majority of Turkish women subjected to violence, pursue legal means: Survey


Some 86 percent of women in a recent study by Turkey’s Ministry of Family and Social Policies said they have been subjected to physical or psychological violence by their partners or family, and pursued legal proceedings in the aftermath, revealing the prevalence of violence against women across the country.

The research was undertaken by Turkey’s family ministry investigate a current law in place to protect families and prevent violence against women. 

According to the survey, which was conducted by interviewing some 841 women across 10 Turkish provinces alongside some 479 men who admitted resorting to violence, only around 43 percent of women who take legal action decide to continue their relationships afterwards. This figure rises to 64 percent among married women. 

Physical violence is among the most common forms of violence, with some 70 percent of women reporting that they were physically assaulted by partners, family members or neighbors. On the other hand, psychological violence was reported to be the most prevalent form of violence among people who received little or no schooling, as 82 percent said they face this type of assault. 

Three out of four women said they decided to litigate only after being exposed to violence for a second time. Some 87 percent of these women went to the police to file their application. 

Meanwhile, 80 percent of the men who admitted violently acting out against women said they had never heard of the law to prevent violence against women. Indeed, only 39 percent of men believe the law is successful in preventing violence, while some 49 percent of women consider the law “successful.”

The setbacks in the full application of the law are considered the primary obstacles in its rate of success.

Research suggests the formation of domestic violence crime units in every province and appropriately training and inspecting police officers in their manner of handling cases of violence against women. 

Violence against women is a trending topic in Turkey, where at least 303 women were killed in 2015, according to data released by the We Will Stop Femicide Platform. 

The legal system in Turkey has raised eyebrows over its handing of femicide cases, as many male suspects have received lower sentences for murdering women on the grounds that they had a “positive and/or respectful” demeanor during their trials. Activists have demanded the government change the law regarding sentences that can be reduced based on a suspect’s demeanor during trial.