Van women hit by abuse

Van women hit by abuse

VAN - Hürriyet Daily News
Van women hit by abuse

DHA photo

Women are the victims of increasing violence in the eastern province of Van, where difficult conditions in the wake of last year’s devastating earthquakes are pushing residents to the brink, according to reports.

“[People] who did not used to live with their mothers- and fathers-in-law now [find] they have to live together with them. Slander and quarrels can sometimes arise between those who share the same tent with their relatives. Women [can be] subjected to violence from their fathers-in-law and their husbands,” said Esen Günay, a member of the Van Women’s Association (VAKAD).

A large number of women have appealed to VAKAD since the earthquakes with problems related to violence, economic hardship and shelter. Men who experience psychological distress due to unemployment often subject their spouses to violence, Günay said.

“In particular, widowed women and tenants are experiencing difficulties with respect to the [pre-fabricated] container homes. Solitary women are told to go to their families. Tenants lacking a contract or an electricity or water bill to their names are likewise denied container homes,” she said, according to daily Milliyet.

Another VAKAD worker, Aylin Çelik, said the number of sexual abuse cases has also increased because the container cities were all located in deserted areas.

“There is no security in these places and many of the women are under threat of sexual abuse,” Çelik told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Vacant homes
Numerous women have appealed to VAKAD for this reason despite statements to the contrary by the Van Governor’s Office. There are large numbers of vacant container homes and only four or five out of a total of 20 container cities are in active use, Çelik added.

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Oct. 23 killed over 600 and left thousands homeless in Van, while a second temblor killed 40 more on Nov. 9, followed by repeated aftershocks thereafter.

Around 1,000 people are still living in 290 tents across four sites, according to information given by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay. Atalay recently announced that some 26,500 prefabricated container homes have already reached the province, with more than 147,200 people currently living in them.