More than 5,000 domestic violence victims not voting

More than 5,000 domestic violence victims not voting

Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARA
More than 5,000 domestic violence victims not voting

Women wave posters as they march in protest against domestic abuse in Istanbul, July 20. REUTERS Photo / Can Erok

More than 5,000 women who are the victims of domestic violence will not be able to vote in Turkey’s Aug. 10 presidential elections due to security reasons.

Some 2,500 domestic violence victims stay in women’s shelters, while 2,983 others are under police protection due to immediate threats to their lives. Women rights’ organizations, led by the Women Studies Association, applied to authorities to amend the regulations to allow the women to vote without revealing their identities.

But after consulting security services, the Family and Social Policies Ministry ultimately ruled that “the rule of secrecy and the ongoing threats” made it impossible to let the domestic violence victims vote in the elections.

Turkey ranked 120th of 136 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Gender Gap Index, down 15 places since 2006, while a 2011 U.N. report indicated domestic violence rates were almost twice those in the United States and 10 times higher than in some European countries.

According to the Council of Europe (CoE), it is estimated that at least 12 women are killed by gender-related violence in Europe every day. In 2013, available statistics showed domestic violence claimed the lives of 121 women in France, 134 in Italy, 37 in Portugal, 54 in Spain and 143 in the United Kingdom.

“In Azerbaijan, 83 women were killed and 98 committed suicide following cases of domestic violence, while data collected by the media in Turkey reported that at least 214 women were killed by men last year, mainly in cases of domestic violence and often despite these women having asked the authorities for protection. Available data covering the first six months of 2014 in many European countries continue to show such alarming figures,” the CoE had said last month.