Abuse victim divorced due to lack of virginity

Abuse victim divorced due to lack of virginity

In a village in the southern district of İskenderun, a 14-year-old girl, Ö.B., was sleeping alone at home as 38-year-old crane operator C.B. was working at a construction site nearby.  

C.B. went into the unlocked house, woke up the child, asking for water. While the child was going to the kitchen to get water, he forcefully kissed her. Then they met a few times and C.B. sexually abused the child.

When the child developed depression and attempted suicide, the incident was discovered and a case was opened. 

While the case was ongoing, the family tried to marry off the child so that their “family honor” would be saved. Two years after the incident, Ö.B. was married in an arranged marriage.  

Before that, the defendant, C.B., who was now filled with revenge because of the case, started spreading the rumor that Ö.B. “is quite experienced and is a prostitute.”

The child decided to tell C.B. that “Look, I am engaged, I will get married. Stop spreading rumors about me,” but C.B. did not answer her calls. To make him answer her calls, the child then sent text messages to him, saying: “Haven’t you missed me? Come on, answer my calls.”  

C.B. later used these text messages both as evidence in the case and to open a case against Ö.B. for disturbing an individual’s peace and tranquility. 

Meanwhile, Ö.B.’s family, eager to marry off their daughter, applied for a permit for an early marriage. As in all similar cases, the family court did not demand a medical report and granted the permit.  

This law should be annulled altogether anyway, but even as it is, courts do not apply it correctly. As part of the formality, a hospital report stating that “the child is aware and can distinguish what marriage is” was issued and the marriage was permitted. As a matter of fact, if they had researched a bit, just a bit more, then they would have been able to see the traumas this child and other children have experienced. Then they would have ruled that the child was absolutely not ready for marriage. 

Ö.B. was married this way. Then, this time, oppression and cruelty started at that house. Within a week, the family of the groom raised hell, saying: “You are not a virgin. Your father gave us a faulty good.” 

Alongside the psychological violence, the groom also slapped the child. 

In the ongoing abuse case, the child was exhausted by being sent to the hospital three times for forensic reports and twice to determine her bone age, all while C.B. was tried without arrest. He did not even show up at hearings. 

With reductions, he was sentenced to eight years and four months in jail, but since the decision was not finalized, the defendant is still free. 

Meanwhile, after three months of marriage, the groom told Ö.B., “Why don’t you stay with your mom for a while; you could help them with field work.” He told her that he would pick her up later. After a week spent with her family, Ö.B. called her husband asking, “Were you going to pick me up?”

In the meantime, the guy changed the locks, sold his house to his sister and filed for divorce, telling her, “I love you very much, but I have to agree with my parents.”

In the divorce case, Ö.B. won an alimony and compensation but the decision was appealed. The Supreme Court of Appeals then reached a disastrous decision. 

The child Ö.B. was defined as “fully at fault” because “she has loved another man;” her alimony and compensation were annulled. Moreover, it was decided that she should pay compensation of 3,000 Turkish Liras to her ex-husband.  

What is meant by “another man” is the abuser who Ö.B. sued – the one whose case has been continuing for four years.    

It’s totally illogical. 

Besides, how can a child who has been subject to psychological and physical violence, who has been snatched from school, who has been confined to her house, who has been distanced from her friends be “at fault?”

How can all of this be disregarded and this child found guilty?  

The child does not have the power to engage in social resistance; the child is not the decision maker. We are talking about a child who, following abuse, has been practically abused a second time and married off under social pressure. 

However, unfortunately, in this country, both the judiciary and the society do not see the child as a child.