1 July 2021 – 1 July 2022
1 year ago, 1 year later, same place: We Revolt Against Femicide
One year has passed since July 1, 2021, when Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention with a presidential decree. Within one year, 306 women were murdered -as far as we know so far- due to lack of protection or despite protection orders, due to the lack of necessary precautions to be taken against femicides, the lack of punishment, and the prevailing political inaction. U’Sandık – Visual Chest To Not Forget, where the portraits and stories of each of the 306 women have been collected for a year, continues with revolt against femicide, so as not to forget those we have lost, to make sure they are not forgotten, and to keep their memories alive.
U’Sandık is turning into a digital museum so that those who do not fulfill their duty to prevent femicides, do not even effectively implement the existing laws, do not comply with conventions, and are accomplices in every femicide shall view U’Sandık; so that never again shall a murderer say, “Good thing the Istanbul Convention was annulled,” as did the murderer of Pınar Gültekin; so that policies that try to stop women and women’s organizations instead of violent men, are replaced by policies that protect women and deter men.
Fighting violence, fighting the prevailing political inaction
We have women who died with a protection order or the question “Will you protect me when I die” found inside the bag they were carrying when they were killed; who died by “falling from a height” when a man was with them; who were murdered along with their young children; and at times whose children were killed as retribution for separating. We have women who were made to withdraw the complaints they had filed, again by the threats of the men whom they had a restraining order against, or through mediation; women whose cries for help went unheard, as well as those who were heard but nobody lifted a finger for.
Across from these women are men who went to a “reconciliation talk” with a gun in the waistband, ignored restraining orders as they were not being monitored, went pounding on women’s doors, and took “no” as a reason for killing. There are ministers who can go out and say “the amount of femicide is tolerable,” instead of protecting women and deterring men. There are lawmakers who introduced “remorse reduction” by ⅙ in sentencing the killers; and that is already on top of some masculine excuses for penalty reductions such as “unjust provocation”, that even men who kill “with monstrous feelings and by torture” have the right to benefit from.
Knowing that the fight against male violence is fought against both men and the public policies that are ineffective against the rise of violence, as well as that women’s solidarity keeps women alive, U’Sandık set out to make sure that the lives and deaths of these women would not be glossed over; so that they would be imprinted in our memories, their memories would live on, and that women’s solidarity would keep them alive. After a whole year where the violation of the right to life and the usurpation of our vested rights continued, U’Sandık is joining in the memory and the fight of women as a digital museum.
What happened to the 306 women?
Within 1 year since Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention on July 1, 2021, out of the 306 women -as far as we know so far- we have lost to preventable femicide;
84 of them were killed because they left/got divorced/wanted to separate;
43 of them were killed despite having complained to police/prosecutors and gotten restraining orders repeatedly;
13 of them were killed for refusing men’s relationship/marriage proposals;
23 of them were killed by men that brought guns to reconcile/talk/see the children;
each and every one of them were killed because they were women, to assert dominance, by the men closest to them.
Femicide is Preventable
Sevda Çelemoğlu, trusting those in charge who promised “zero tolerance to violence against women” whenever they could, got a restraining order to evade the man stalking her. Yet the man freely walked up to her door and killed her.
Deniz Filiz had the restraining order revoked with the pressure from those around her “not to wreck her nest”, and her funeral ended up leaving the “nest”. No official in charge asked, “Why do women withdraw their complaints?”
Merivan Avcı perhaps was not even aware that she needed to file a complaint when she was beaten by the husband to whom “she was given” at the age of 16; she was stabbed to death because she gave a pot to a neighbor.
Esra Hankulu was murdered by the man who had previously been a suspect in the murders of two other women and yet persistently, repeatedly and blatantly released. And then Nurgül Altıntaş by one of the dozens of men who “wanted to have one last talk” while armed with a gun…
306 women that we know of, 306 different lives that came to end through preventable male violence… They said “no” to men, made their own decisions like everyone else, and wanted to live without violence. They gave a fight so that their life decisions would not be made by men. We will carry on their fight, our fight…
So as to resume the unfinished fight of the women we have lost, to keep alive the memory of the women who were taken from us by male violence and their accomplices, with our rebellion against femicide: www.usandik.org