From Honor Diaries
This past weekend all across Turkey men did something unusual and quite honorable as they stepped out to support women’s rights – they wore miniskirts.
The reason for the outfit choice comes as a result of the brutal murder of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old psychology student in Mersin, Turkey.
On February 11th Ozgecan Aslan was taking the minibus home, when the driver attempted to rape her. According to police she fought off her attacker with pepper spray, but she was beaten and killed. Police have arrested the attacker, and two accomplices, who burned her body and dumped it into a lake.
Ozgecan Aslan was the latest victim of extreme violence against a woman. The young woman’s death has sparked incredible outrage throughout the country. Turkish citizens have gathered in swelling numbers, protests have sprung up in cities across the country, igniting several campaigns to end violence against women.
These past weeks have seen a country in mourning, and more importantly talking about how to prevent and end violence against women. It started on Twitter with a campaign to wear black (#simsiyah) to honor Ozgecan and show solidarity with the movement. #Simsiyah was so successful that men, women, parents, and children to news anchors and celebrities were clothed in black, and speaking publicly on stopping violence on the news and media outlets.
#Simsiyah turned into #SendeAnlat, or Tell Your Story, an even braver campaign that gained momentum as women tweeted stories about their experience with violence or abuse. The hashtag became the third most popular in the world, Al Jazeera reports.
Translation: Crossing to the other side of the street when you see a group of men approaching #tellyourstory
Stories like this once again demonstrate the tremendous chasms we need to jump before violence against women comes to an end. What should be the comfortable task of getting on a bus, entering our homes, and walking down the street should NOT be the place where we encounter harassment, violence, or abuse.
So we must keep going. We must keep demanding change.
To all the good men out there: Don’t let violent abusers like Ozgecan’s attackers speak for you. Don’t remain silent while murderers stain your beliefs in gender equality. Speak up for the rights of women and men. Men, stand as an example in your community, in your neighborhood, on your Twitter account, and define the parameters of how men should treat women – with equality and respect. Be an active voice, not a passive viewer, because you are being drowned out by stories of abusers, slow-acting leaders, activists and feminists and pessimists, and everyone but you.
In light of this call for gender equality, something quite incredible happened in Turkey this weekend. Turkish men rose up and refused to no longer stay silent.
Men took to the streets and to Twitter and demonstrated in support of women’s rights, while wearing skirts of all lengths and sizes. The hashtag #Ozgecanicinminietekgiy, which translates to Wear a Miniskirt for Ozgecan, was the rally call. And Turkish men stood up for women’s rights, bare legs and all.
Translation: Men in Azerbaijan have started the #wearaminiskirtforozgecan campaign.
HeforShe, the campaign by UNWomen made popular by actress Emma Watson, who is the forefront advocate and ambassador to the cause, applauded the unique campaign by sending a tweet.
This is the first time that women’s rights have been so widely endorsed in Turkey. A groundswell of action is the only way to build the momentum for a tidal wave of much needed change in the political and social landscape in Turkey. And we are in dire need of changing that landscape.
Ozgecan Aslan’s death prompted President Erdogan to condemn violence against women as “the bleeding wound” of the country. He has also said that he will personally follow the case, however, Turkey needs to strengthen its laws and systems to prevent such violence in the first place.
Gender equality should not be regarded as a nouveau ideal. How could the equal social, political, and economic rights of women be thought of as an idea created in this past century? No, women and men should not yield to this as a new concept because gender equality is as much an inalienable right as your right to free speech. Women’s rights are men’s rights are human rights.
So listen to the stories of women, tweeting #SendeAnlat #TellYourStory, and help to make sure those stories never happen again. Please continue to spread #OzgecanAslan, #EndViolenceAgainstWomen, #HeforShe, and #Ozgecanicinminietekgiy wear a skirt for the women in your life, and for their equal rights.
Now that is something to see and hear about! Go Turkish Men!! I bet Erdogan was having a fit! So much for Sharia Law!
Suna ( the author of article ) says that
“Turkey needs to strengthen its laws and systems to prevent such violence in the first place.”
Turkey is being run by a muslim who doesn’t believe in equal rights for women. The only way to change it is by voting for a President who is not so gung-ho about sharia law being imposed. Turkish women and men standing up and saying “NO!” at the voting booths. Perhaps it’s time for another “Turkish Spring” to happen?