I’ve grown up in an environment where violence against women was almost internalized and considered normal. My grandmother who raised me had also come from such environment. For instance, when we cried on something as a child, she would tell us “Don’t cry like a woman!” Crying is a feminine weakness, according to that environment.
Man knew the best. Man was strong, smarter and leader of the family. What we heard most often were the words insulting women. Women were lacking intelligence. Even the songs we listened to were hostile towards women. “If I can’t have you, no one can”, “I may go mad and shoot you”.
If I need to give a recent example, there are sexists songs like “I harass you if I can’t have you”.
Women were like our shadow, our meta. I witnessed such violence within family as well. Beating your daughter, wife, sister was normal and ordinary.
For example, I witnessed this statement many times: “When a girl goes to her husband’s home, she can only leave dead!”
This affected my relations very badly too. I made many mistakes in my first marriage and other social relationships.
It is easy to put the whole blame on upbringing or people around us. Even though I’ve put in utmost effort to shape myself like shaping a stone or a wood, there’s still that unshaped wood inside me.
Why did I make this introduction? Because if we don’t become sincere enough about this issue, this issue will not come to an end! As you know, child and women abuses occurring recently have reached an intolerable point.
All segments of society started to denounce it. I think, there are not many periods when society’s hypocrisy hit peak. While the people strongly denounce these abuses on social media, one cannot help but wonder, “Well, then how come that such incidents continue to increase while there is such a strong denunciation?”
I am talking about a society which sees women as a side being, men’s assistant and shadow, and a limitless insincerity.
Oh my god! Everyone is so sensitive about women being subjected to violence, children being abused. Well, then for god’s sake, who are the perpetrators of these abuses? Are they from another planet or society? No, of course they are these sensitive people themselves. One might almost think that we are not a patriarchal society!
So, is it education that we need? Believe me that educational or social status has nothing to do with the tendency of violence against women. It’s so widespread! Lower class, upper class, uneducated, it just doesn’t matter, this problem is seen in every segment! Call it customs, tradition, religion, socio-economical condition, whatever the reason is, its root goes very deep.
An incident that a friend of mine told me the other days constitutes a mini example of how women have internalized this as well. When a man quarreling with his girlfriend in a restaurant started hitting her, the people sitting at the next table felt the need to intervene in.
Swearing at the interveners, the woman shouted “It’s none of your business, this is my husbands. He can beat or love as he wishes!” Now, you may argue that it is not right to generalize over a single incident but this is one of the most well-known clichés in our country.
I remember having talked to a friend of mine, who is a police officer, about this issue. He says, “The husband beats his wife and we take him to the police station upon the complaints of their neighbors. 90 percent of women do not file a complaint against their husbands, which ties our hands.” Because women do not have a place to take shelter in or economic freedom and if they have children, they are forced into swallowing everything or they feel in this way so as not to risk losing their children.
At the very beginning of everything, all the freedoms of women have been taken from their hands. They have been humiliated with sayings such as “long-haired scatter-brained, petticoat, missus, woman’s mind…” The most ironic part of it all is that it is the women themselves who raise boys.
The effects of thousands of years old patriarchy do not, of course, change at one stroke. Especially we, as men, are very insincere about women! In our eyes, women are still something which is owned, a commodity.
It is the case all around the world! Where or from whom will we start changing in a mentality where even large corporations which want to sell their products through advertisements, TV series and movies use the female body as a commodity? To me, it is primarily and most importantly a problem of insincerity.
Who knows how many women are being subjected to violence or murdered while I am writing these lines and do we really do our part by entering social media and posting a tweet in our sweetest, most sensitive attitudes?
If I make a Twitter post now and say, “Friends, let’s take to the street tomorrow to condemn violence against women!”, how many people, do you think, will join our march?
It is free to try!
If 10 people show up, just bless your lucky stars! Unless we open a vast space for women in society, where they can express themselves, present their skills and abilities and find their well-deserved respect, our words will continue falling on deaf ears.
Just look at the National Assembly, at the council of ministers, at firms, factories, offices; look at those lines of work where women can find a job and integrate into society, then you will understand what I mean.
We can do only that much with the woman idea which has taken deep roots in our brains and has turned into a taboo.
Unless we start by changing ourselves, nothing will change with such specific and insincere precautions, that is just the way it goes. (AT/SD/TK)
52 MEN 52 WEEKS
"This campaign has been produced as part of Sivil Düşün EU Programme, with the support of European Union. The contents of this campaign are the sole responsibility of IPS Communication Foundation/ bianet and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
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