The Turkish public has been recently shaken by a very disturbing incident. A beautiful young girl, Özgecan Aslan, was martyred as a result of an inhumane attack. As the nation was reeling from the news, other horrible stories of the murders of women came out. Not a day passes without new incidents of violence against women, sexual assaults or murder both in Turkey and in the world. What is even worse is that the situation doesn't change despite the difference in levels of education, development or cultural background. Any attempt to correlate the level of development of countries with levels of violence against women is immediately discredited by statistics showing that women face the same misogyny, violence and attacks almost everywhere in the world.
Today half of the women in the world face violence at the hands of their husbands. In China, a family can have only one child and for this reason boys are mostly preferred, leaving 1 million girls to die every year as soon as they are born.1 Every year, all around the world, such discriminatory policies and sociocultural prejudices lead to the killing of 200 million baby girls.2 According to the data provided by the International Organization for Migration, every year 600,000-800,000 people are used for cross-border human trafficking, 80% of them being women. 3 54 countries still have discriminatory laws against women. One in every three women is assaulted, subjected to sexual abuse and rape. 70% of women who are murdered are killed by their male partners.
Women are subjected not only to sexual abuse and violence, they are also abused economically. For example, 66% of the labor in the world is performed by women, but they possess only 10% of the income and only 1% of the assets in the world. In other words, men do only 34% of the jobs in the world, but get 90% of the income and 99% of the assets.4 According to another study, women represent the 40% of the labor force of the world, but own only 1% of the world’s wealth.5
Women were subjected to abuse, violence and economic abuse in the past and they still have to deal with the same problems. Sociologists and psychologists study the reasons for violence against women and their studies suggest that social problems like unemployment, poverty and lack of education, the abuse of alcohol and drugs, psychological trauma suffered by men in their childhood and various and sundry social pressures play the primary role behind this violence. There are some even ridiculous and irrational theories that suggest that violence and aggression are in men’s natures and aggression means power, bravery and strength for men; none of these explanations can prevent violence against women.
Academic studies provide important scientific facts that can be used to prevent violence against women. However, it is true that these studies and the measures taken are not enough to solve the problem because neither income levels, nor high education levels or a nation's level of development can prevent violence against women. For instance in the USA, a woman is raped every six minutes. One out of every seven women is raped by their male partners in the UK. In France, six women lose their lives every month due to domestic violence. 7 The situation is not so different in our country; 97% of our women are subjected to violence and only in the last two months, more than 30 women were killed.
This disturbing trend clearly demonstrates the fact that women have to live their lives in a state of constant concern, oppression, psychological pressure, inequality, discrimination and injustice.
Political and social pressure against women is like a despicable habit from the past. Behind this dark state of mind that prevails even in the richest and most developed countries of the world, a tendency to see women being worth only half as much as men can be found. As a result of that, women are seen as weak and helpless creatures that need to be controlled and dominated. This misconception plays a huge part in the fact that in many countries of the world, women are deprived of their rights to be educated, locked up, subjected to legal and traditional restrictions, face inequality and discrimination at workplaces, and invariably become the poorest, weakest and most unprotected part of the society.
This twisted state of mind that is deeply embedded across the world, and the incorrect methods employed to safeguard women’s rights need to change yet it is also clear that such efforts to claim rights cannot be successful with condemnations, criticism or through superficial laws alone; it is very important to give priority to women in politics, business life, in social life, at home, in short, everywhere. Deterrent laws against domestic violence targeting women, increasing the numbers of shelters for women, campaigns to prevent violence against women, educating parents and the media could help. Everyone wants the perpetrators of crimes against women to be punished in the most severe way. However, what must be done is making sure that such crimes do not take place in the first place.
To solve the problem, one needs to delve into the real reason behind it. The main reason is the wrong-headed education system that encourages people to be selfish, to move away from God and the faithlessness that results. Many people don't believe that the nature and living things have a Creator and they don't believe that everyone has the right to life. In a society of egoistical, selfish people, feelings of a violent desire to possess, jealousy, lovelessness and hatred become commonplace. Compassion, mercy and understanding are replaced by fighting, aggression and conflict. The belief that might, not right, should prevail turns the world into a living hell. For this reason, many people, even when they get a good education and are well-off, cannot abandon the culture of violence in their souls. Selfishness and lovelessness push people to believe that they should care about themselves alone. Women and men get together only for their personal interests and end up hating each other. As a result of that, women who are physically more fragile are subjected to violence. The most beautiful houses turn into nightmarish prisons.
Women are one of the most beautiful manifestations of God in the world and are precious. Contrary to the popular belief imposed by various twisted ideologies, the world should be told that women are superior in many aspects such love, compassion, loyalty, kindness, cleanliness, considerate thinking, quality and beauty amongst others. It should be remembered that women are delicate and pleasant, clever and very quick-thinking.
Women are the ornaments, the beauties of the world. It is crucial that young people are taught about these beautiful qualities of women in a serious, sincere educational system that also gives young people the knowledge of fearing God. A person who fears and loves God will naturally feel great affection for women, knowing that she is created by God. A man who fears God will not say even a slightly offensive thing to a woman and will protect her with all his might.
3- http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/34158.pdf ("TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT." United States Department. Accessed February 25, 2014)
Adnan Oktar's piece on Urdu Times & Aaila Magazine: