Protest aims to high­light vi­o­lence against women

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

THOU­SANDS are ex­pected to take to the streets of Le­fkoşa on Sun­day, Novem­ber 25 to high­light anti-fe­male vi­o­lence af­ter the killing of a woman in Gönyeli last week.

Gül­ba­har Ulu­tan, 45, be­came the sec­ond woman to be mur­dered in the TRNC this year af­ter be­ing beaten and stabbed to death while at her weekly house-clean­ing job last Wed­nes­day. Po­lice ar­rested the prime sus­pect in the killing fol­low­ing a three-day man­hunt.

At a press con­fer­ence last Fri­day, Kayad Com­mu­nity Cen­tre head and TRNC “first lady” Meral Akıncı, wife of Pres­i­dent Mustafa Akıncı, an­nounced the planned demon­stra­tion and urged peo­ple to take part.

“We will not al­low the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of mur­der and vi­o­lence against women,” said Mrs Akıncı, whose cen­tre is or­gan­is­ing the demon­stra­tion on the In­ter­na­tional Day for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence Against Women.

Speak­ing three years af­ter leg­is­la­tion was en­acted — but never im­ple­mented — to es­tab­lish a gov­ern­ment Gen­der Equal­ity De­part­ment, Mrs Akıncı said: “Vi­o­lence against women is be­com­ing more se­ri­ous ev­ery day and gen­der in­equal­ity is at its core be­cause the coun­try lacks the mech­a­nism to ad­dress the is­sue.

“Le­gal aid was made avail­able some months ago but is not com­pre­hen­sive and lacks the es­sen­tial mech­a­nism to pro­vide ef­fi­cient ser­vices to women who have been sub­jected to vi­o­lence.”

She said “so­ci­ety it­self” had con­trib­uted to the prob­lem, and com­mented: “We need to de­cide as a so­ci­ety . . . whether we con­tinue to just say, ‘oh no!’ when we hear about the mur­der of a woman be­fore mov­ing on with our lives, or whether we ac­knowl­edge it as a po­lit­i­cal prob­lem, take re­spon­si­bil­ity and con­trib­ute to a so­cial trans­for­ma­tion.”

Mean­while, dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary de­bate this week, fem­i­nist Repub­li­can Turk­ish Party MP Doğuş Derya said: “We need to in­tro­duce de­ter­rent mea­sures to over­come the cul­ture of vi­o­lence.

“We should not be wait­ing for women to be killed. The gov­ern­ment must do its bit.”

In re­sponse, Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Zeki Çeler said his min­istry had “taken the nec­es­sary steps” to es­tab­lish a Gen­der Equal­ity De­part­ment but claimed em­ploy­ment of staff for it had been de­layed by the Pub­lic Ser­vices Com­mis­sion.

High­light­ing that onethird of TRNC women had been sub­jected to vi­o­lence, head of the Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion Özlem Gürkut also called for ac­tion to com­bat the trend while adding her voice to de­mands for a Gen­der Equal­ity De­part­ment to be es­tab­lished “as soon as pos­si­ble”.

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