Talking about the ‘realities of Turkish society’
There are children in this country who, because their abusers are in jail, are victims. Is that so? Let me tell you about the true victims…
In this country, there is a 13-year-old girl who has been raped by her own biological father, uncle and brother.
In this country, there is an underage girl who has been raped by two of her older brothers and is now pregnant.
In this country, there is a 6-year-old girl who has been raped by her 14-year-old cousin.
In this country, there is a 14-year-old girl who has been raped by her father’s 50-year-old friend.
In this country, there is a 4-year-old child who has been kidnapped and raped on the street.
In this country, there is a student who has been raped by her school principal. There are children who have been raped by their teacher.
In this country, there is a child who was repeatedly raped by her dormitory manager for five months.
You want to talk about the realities of our society? Here we are. Let’s talk.
In this country, there is a father who raped his mentally ill daughter for six years and buried their babies in the backyard.
In this country, there is a father who raped his own daughter for three years and drowned their baby in a well.
In this country, there is a stepfather who raped his 3-year-old son.
In this country, there is a man who raped a 9-month-old baby.
In this country, there is a person who beat, put out cigarettes on, and raped a 2-year-old several times.
In this country, there is a person who raped and killed a 15-year-old girl and was released after only one day under arrest.
Now, with this latest bill, the government is effectively saying, “let’s release the abusers who have somehow gotten illegally married to underage girls.”
Early marriage is child abuse and violence against the child. If this is not known, why process this bill so swiftly without any discussion? Could such a serious social problem be solved this way?
Any responsible government would know that underage marriage strips children of their fundamental rights.
There cannot be anything like the “consent of the child,” as marriage is only done with a free and full will. In children who have not matured adequately, there cannot possibly be a free and full will. Early marriages inevitably mean sexual exploitation.
Early marriages cause the death of mothers and children, as well as reproductive health issues and violence against women. Children married off early are left out of the education system. They are mentally distressed because of unwanted pregnancies, and experience depression and anxiety.
Child abuse in our country is approved through religious codes. Some 26 percent of women in this country are married before they are 18 years old, while 10 percent of them give birth to their first child before they are 18.
Yes, these are the bitter truths of society.
Approving child marriages through the legal changes like the government has tried to pass amounts to accepting the social circumstances that encourage this crime, instead of looking for a solution that would help foster a social transformations. It is an endorsement of the sexist and hierarchical social structure that grants men freedom to do anything they want, and which sees men as the owners of women and children.
Our problem is that the lawmakers and the justice system in our country do not regard early marriages as abuse, but rather as a “custom.”
In fact, none of the international agreements we have signed allow early marriages. Constitutionally, if domestic law contradicts international commitments, the international agreement overrules the domestic law. In other words, international agreements are stronger than laws.
The government’s recent child abuse bill is a guide to a social and legal disaster. That must be kept in mind while it is reviewed.