Social media as a courtroom
There is a recent phenomenon that has been worrying me. Due to the lack of trust in our judiciary, people have begun to search for justice through social media platforms in our beloved country.
The results they obtain support this new way of seeking justice because the decisions of the cases creating bangs on social media are being made the way they should. This means the rich and guilty cannot get away.
However, if a case doesn’t get social media attention, we see that the guilty tends to get away. This is very visible in cases where a woman gets killed or tortured. If the case becomes popular on social media, then the assailants are punished to the full extent of the law. But if the case is not popular, the assailants usually get released, receive a minimum sentence or get a “good conduct abatement” reduction in their sentence because they wore a nice suit and behaved well in the courtroom.
That’s why yesterday’s Twitter trending topics were almost exclusively hashtags of the names of women who were murdered by men. One was the hashtag #CerenOzdemirIcinAdalet (Justice for Ceren Ozdemir) for Ceren Özdemir, a 20-year-old ballerina who was brutally murdered by a stranger. Another one was #EmreIcinAdalet (Justice for Emre), which was for Emre Yıldır, a young man who had committed suicide after being sexually assaulted by a family member for years. He could not find justice when he was alive, and now his relatives are fighting for it on social media.
This troubles me not because the results of the social media campaigns are positive, but because the results of the unpopular cases are negative.
Why is the judiciary system changing its position depending on the popularity of a case on social media? Why can’t our system protect women and see that their assailants get a fair but just trial if anything happens to them?
Because the system is broken, people are trying to fix it on social media. The new trend is to upload videos or voice recordings of men who have threatened women. Recently a woman who filed 23 official complaints against her ex-husband was killed by the very same ex-husband. If our system cannot, or does not, protect a woman who lodged 23 official complaints, who can it protect?
This is the question on every woman’s mind these days.
That’s why Turkish social media platforms have turned into justice-seeking arenas. It is as if the number of likes, retweets and comments are determining whether or not justice will be served.
It is a very dystopian reality.