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- Age 20
The book “Kadın” (Woman) by the Turkish journalist Yılmaz Özdil is a collection of news articles about women in Turkey. The following are just a few stories I wanted to share:
Özgecan was a twenty year old university student. She wanted to
return home after spending some time with her friend at the mall.
She took the bus; apart from the driver it was completely empty.
When he changed the bus route, Özgecan got worried. She screamed
for help, she carried pepper spray in her purse. She tried to use
Days later everyone had heard her story.
She became a Twitter trend.
She became a symbol.
But she never came back home.
She was five years old. Holding her mother’s hand as she was
walking home, when all of a sudden she was gone. Dilara had
fallen into a manhole covered only by a piece of cardboard. The
ones responsible for her death spent two months in prison, no one
was convicted for her death.
It was June 16th 2013; it was the day that Gülsüm’s 15-year-old
son went out to get bread for the last time. On his way home a
police officer shot Berkin with a gas canister. 269 days later
his heart stopped beating. As if Gülsüm’s loss wasn’t painful
enough, she was publicly ridiculed for putting marbles on
Berkin’s grave. The crowd booed. Little did they know why she had
left this gift for her son. “My child died at an age at which he
should be playing with marbles. His mother left colorful glass
marbles at his grave for him to play,” Berkin’s father later
She was in the hospital giving birth when they found out that the
girl carrying the ID of an 18-year-old was only twelve.
A fifteen year old girl ran away from the cousin she was forced
The thirteen year old girl’s wedding…
The news articles often start like this. In Turkey, an estimated
14 percent of girls are married before the age of fourteen.
These are just a few of the stories in a book with 324 pages. Each page tells a different story. The story of a woman or a child... Most of the titles are names of women; what follows is an excerpt from real life. Some stories make you cry, some sound like fiction. Yet each of them is real and they point towards a real issue. These stories point out the truth that in this day and age, being a woman is still difficult.Violence towards women is one of today’s pressing issues in Turkey. The issue is not just the increasing violence, but also the low sentences given to offenders and the sexist remarks often made by important figures. The excuses accepted by courts and the legitimization of violence against women is an incresing problem with severe consequences.