About 11 million women older than age 15 in Turkey have been physically or sexually abused by their husband or partner.
According to Human Rights Watch, researchers documented “girls as young as 14 being raped; stabbed; kicked in the abdomen while pregnant; beaten with hammers, sticks, branches, and hoses to the point of broken bones and fractured skulls; locked up with dogs or other animals; starved; shot with a stun gun; injected with poison; pushed off a roof; and subjected to severe psychological violence.”
The current system is not working. Women who are pregnant or unmarried are often turned away from shelters. Women who are brave enough to go to the police are often encouraged to reconcile with their abusers to “preserve family unity”. Some women have been murdered by their abuser after seeking protection.
A protection order only means something if it is enforced. Although the law requires police to check on the woman weekly, the researchers did not find a case where this happened. Police usually do not respond to calls from women when their abusers returned to their home to threaten them.
We must pressure Turkey to protect these women. These women need to be able to seek protection for themselves and their children in shelters. These women need the police to protect them from domestic abuse.
Photo via: Human Rights Watch
Photo credit: MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images