According to a UN report, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime. In Turkey, despite huge progress in terms of legislation, levels of violence against women remain the worst in Europe and the US. This type of abuse is only more prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific.
Çiğdem Aydın, the Director of KA-DER (a women’s rights NGO) said: “We have violence because we live in a culture in which women are regarded as a second-class gender. The government says women should be protected within the family. But the reality is women suffer most violence within the family. From husbands and fathers.”
Bahar Akıngüç Günver, the Head of the Board of Trustees, at Istanbul Kultur University said: “Men must try to solve the problem. Because men are the source of the problem. We have to go through that, and change the mentality. We have to look at social pressures. It is a process. It is the result of a male dominated society. So the main actors are men and educationalists.”
Researchers say more than one in three Turkish women have suffered violence by men and 14 per cent of marriages involve underage girls. Only 24 per cent of Turkish women work. Four million women in Turkey are illiterate.
Our correspondent Bora Bayraktar, said: “Laws to stop violence against women are a step forward. But it seems it will take more time to change cultural attitudes before the problem is solved for good.”