'Marry-Your-Rapist' Bill Set To Be Introduced In Turkey's Parliament

January 27, 2020

A law set to be introduced to parliament in Turkey would allow men accused of having sex with girls under 18 avoid punishment if they marry their victim.

 

The bill, which is being called a "marry-your-rapist" bill, is set to be introduced before the end of the month in the Turkish parliament.

 

Women's rights campaigners in Turkey and abroad have responded with anger, shock, and alarm.

A similar bill was introduced in 2016, but was defeated amid national and international outrage.

 

Agencies within the United Nations warned that the bill would not only offer protection to child abusers, but would subject victims to further mistreatment by their abusers.

 

According to the United Nations, 38 percent of Turkish women have suffered physical or sexual violence from a partner.

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear in the past what he thinks of women's rights.

 

Speaking at an international conference in 2016, Erdogan said, "Our religion [Islam] has defined a position for women [in society]: Motherhood. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don't accept the concept of motherhood."

 

"You cannot bring women and men into equal positions, that is against nature because their nature is different," he also said.

 

So, unfortunately, we should not be too surprised that such a bill would be proposed in a country led by someone with beliefs like that.

 

Suad Abu-Dayyeh campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa for Equality Now, which promotes rights for women and girls. She said, "I applaud the brave work of women's rights campaigners in Turkey who are taking a stand against this discriminatory bill and pushing back against regressive forces that are seeking to remove current legal protections for girls. Similar 'marry-your-rapist' legal provisions have been on the statute books of countries across the Middle East and North Africa."

 

If the supporters of this bill do get it put before parliament we can only hope it gets shot down the same way that the 2016 bill did. In the meantime, campaigners for women's rights in Turkey and beyond are still having to fight for their rights in the 21st century partly due to primitive superstitious beliefs that people refuse to give up.

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