On Friday, the body of a woman was found in a riverbed in the Turkish city of Mersin. She'd been stabbed, hit over the head with an iron pipe, and burned. Why? Because, when a minibus driver reportedly tried to rape her, she fought back.
Ozgecan Aslan was a 20-year-old psychology student who was kidnapped on Wednesday while making her way home. She fought back when a minibus driver tried to rape her, and was consequently murdered - leading to the arrest of the driver, his father and a friend. They remain in police custody.
Protests broke out across Ankara, Istanbul, and Mersin in Turkey on Saturday, with women gathering behind signs reading 'Enough! We will stop the murder of women!' By the evening, there were thousands. 'I'm afraid, because the same thing could happen to me or my friends. But on the other hand, I'm furious too. How can they [the murder suspects] be so reckless to do something like this?' Bulay Dogan, a young woman who had joined the protest, told the BBC. Another added: 'It is the result of the radical Islamic atmosphere created by the government. The men say that women should be conservative. They think if they are not conservative, they deserve this kind of violence.'
Turkey is currently facing a sharp increase in violence against women; last year, almost 300 women were killed by men, and 100 raped. 'Men kill and rape and torture women. The state, the 'men's state', is protecting them. We expect the parliament to stop this violence,' says Sevda Bayramoglu from Women for Peace Initiative.
Melis Alphan, a Turkish journalist, has penned a piece on Turkish news site *Hurriyet *called 'My name is Melis, I am potentially dead' where she calls for equality 'in a country where sexism is the official ideology'. She writes: 'Those who have paved the way for new reduced sentences with the new justice package instead of making arrangements to prevent violence and murders against women… Those who issue fatwas about what women “should not do…” Those who despise women… Who seriously reduce criminals’ sentences… All of them are responsible for our deaths and potential murders of women.'
As well as this, female protesters have been taking to Twitter to tweet stories of abuse and violence at the hands of men, using the hashtag #sendeanlat (#tellyourstory) to show solidarity - as well as exert pressure on the government to take action against the worrying statistics.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.