Trial begins after volunteer women teachers in İzmir narrowly escape sexual assault
İZMİRSix female teachers who volunteered to provide additional education to 35 students in a village of the Karabağlar district in the western province of İzmir barely escaped sexual assault by a group of men in the village in May, it has been revealed after the opening of a trial into the case, according to daily Habertürk.
The victims S.C., 39; İ.P., 26; B.D., 26; E.Ş., 40; F.Ö., 66; and B.Ö., 26, said the attempt by four local men, who face 20 years in prison each, occurred on May 14 after they attended a dinner at the house of one of the female residents of the village, 53-year-old T.D.
The teachers, who went to a converted shipping container belonging to T.D. to spend the night, first suffered verbal harassment from Y.I., 48; M.A., 36; M.B., 23; and A.Ç., 18, who had been consuming alcohol inside a vehicle in the main square of the village.
After the women locked themselves in, three of the men attempted to break into the building by hitting the door. The trio placed A.Ç. as a watchman in front of the barrack, threw away the shoes of the women and punctured the tires of their cars in an attempt to prevent the women from escaping. The women were rescued by the brother of the host, T.D., who arrived at the scene after hearing their screams.
While the assailants fled the scene, the women filed complaints against the four men who initially denied the allegations. In his second testimony, however, A.Ç. pleaded guilty to having waited outside as a watchman and said the three men were planning to rape the women.
In a case opened at an İzmir court, the four men were charged with damaging property and sexual assault.
F.Ö., a retired mathematics teacher, said they had yet to recover psychologically from the incident despite the passage of six months and had been dismayed by the case’s judge, who asked the women in the first hearing, “What were you doing there?”
“If they [the assailants] had been able to open that door and if our host’s brother had not arrived, much worse things could have happened. It was really shocking that one of the suspects was the father of a student to whom we wanted to give a scholarship. There were many things we were going to do for the kids. Unfortunately, we could not do them,” said F.Ö.
Meanwhile, a resident of the village also expressed their sadness over the incident.
The host, T.D., said the suspects who were on trial without arrest were beaten by other men in the village.
“These [men] are the shame of our village. This village will not forgive what was done to the teachers who came to give education to our children. We will not keep them [the assailants] here anymore. Their families still live in the village. They also go in and out of their houses secretly. We want these people to be punished as soon as possible. We are ready to give every support to our teachers,” she said.