Women, gender-based violence

Turkish minister’s response to abusers: What are you trying to prove?

So far this year more than 230 women have lost their lives in Turkey due to gender-based violence.

Turkey’s Interior Minister, Süleyman Soylu, gave an answer this week to abusive men who use violence against their wives, their mothers, their daughters, their sisters or other women, in a year in which 234 women have died in Turkey as a result of gender-based violence from January 1 to November 20.

“I am addressing men. Come to your senses. You may be physically stronger than women, but this is a shame for all of you. I don’t know what are you trying to prove,” declared the minister on Monday during a conference on domestic violence and the gender-based violence pronounced in Ankara before members of the police.

The minister underlined that the government continues to make efforts to tackle the problem of sexist violence, including changes in regulations and more training and authority for the local police to act in cases of gender violence. In this sense, Soylu highlighted that 3,000 policewomen have been recruited exclusively to improve communication with victims of gender-based violence.

A new danger for women: digital violence

Some experts in Turkey warn about a new form of gender-based violence: digital violence, which uses social media and which especially affects women between 18 and 24 years old. Some studies claim that women are 27 times more at risk of digital violence than men. This type of violence sometimes responds to revenge but it can also be a form of harassment, and in not a few cases it leads the victim to suicide.

An important advance against gender-based violence in Turkey has been the introduction of the mobile app KADES, aimed at victims of gender-based violence and which serves as a “panic button” to send an immediate distress signal to security forces in the event of violence or if they feel threatened.

The Turkish Interior Minister said that more than 620,000 people have already downloaded the app, which has issued 48,686 alerts to the police saving many women from their abusers or their murderers. “The response to alerts is 5 minutes at most. KADES has helped us intervene in some 24,000 cases of domestic violence, and has prevented a large number of potential loss of lives,” claimed Soylu.