Women raise voice to end domestic violence on international day
Women across Turkey marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25, highlighting that 354 women have been killed so far since the start of the year and how the pandemic conditions had left many trapped with their abusers at home.
Several hundred people gathered on Bahariye Avenue, which is one of the busiest pedestrian streets in Istanbul, to protest domestic violence against women. But they were stopped at the entrance of the square as they were not allowed to march.
Dozens of police officers, consisting mostly of female personnel, had set up pedestrian barricades in front of the protesters to prohibit them from marching.
A woman taking part in the protests told Reuters: “The law does not protect women as it should. We are here to make our voices heard. Femicides are happening almost every day in this country, but people who are committing the crime are walking free.”
In the Aegean province of İzmir’s Kıbrıs Şehitleri Avenue, women held posters reading, “Istanbul Convention saves lives” and shouted slogans, such as, “femicides are political” and “we will take our paid leave right.”
The Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty aiming to combat violence against women, has been a subject of discussions over the past few months, with the Turkish government having said it wanted to withdraw from the convention.
The women who stood in protests against the deteriorating condition of women in the country and domestic violence have demanded the full implementation of the Istanbul Convention, according to a press statement made by the group following the march.
In the statement, requests were made to abolish the good conduct abatement in femicide cases, which reduces sentences if the suspect appears in court dressed respectfully, shows respect to the judge, and is regretful for his actions. Requests were also made to open women’s shelters by the state, make regulations that prevent violence and against discrimination and harassment in the workplaces, and to open day care centers.
In Ankara, ‘We Want to Live Initiative,’ a women’s rights group, submitted to the Turkish parliament 600,000 signatures they collected in support of the convention.
Women also gathered in the southern province of Gaziantep to draw attention to gender-based violence and the problems faced by women, especially during the pandemic period and made a press release.
Meanwhile, to mark the day, landmarks in Istanbul were lit up in orange.
As a part of the event, world-recognized landmarks of the city, including the Galata Tower, Maiden Tower as well as the three bridges over the Istanbul Strait, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.
The landmarks stayed lit until the sunrise.
With the motto, “orange the world to end violence against women,” the U.N. aims to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence, and other forms of violence.