Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Istanbul and other parts of Turkey this weekend to oppose shocking legislation the government is considering. Under the proposal, men who sexually assault or rape an underage girl would be off the hook if they then married her.
Protesters carried signs that read “#Rape cannot be legitimized” and “AKP, take your hands off my body,” a reference to the political party that introduced the legislation.
One woman explained mothers are especially anxious about the legislation in an interview with the BBC.
Another protester, Cigdem Evcil, said: “I am a mother. How am I supposed to react to this? I can`t believe it, it’s not normal, it doesn’t make sense.
“This morning when I woke up I heard the news on TV and I’ve called my daughter maybe 50 times since.
“If I let this happen to my daughter, if the mothers in this country let this happen, it means we are not mothers.”
In the video below from The Independent (a British newspaper) you can see opponents of the bill shouting “We will not shut up. We will not obey. Withdraw the bill immediately.”
The government is trying to quell opposition to the measure, saying everything’s fine because its aimed at the widespread custom of child marriage. Newsflash: that doesn’t make the garbage legislation better.
The Guardian detailed where the bill is in the legislative process and explains the legislation in more depth.
The measures were approved in an initial parliamentary reading on Thursday and will be voted on again in a second debate in the coming days.
If passed, the law would allow the release from prison of men guilty of assaulting a minor if the act was committed without “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” and if the aggressor “marries the victim.”
Turkey’s prime minister is asking his party to hold talks with opponents of the legislation, according to the BBC.
The move comes on the heels of a controversial decision by Turkey’s constitutional court this summer to nullify “a criminal code provision punishing as ‘sexual abuse’ all sexual acts involving children under the age of 15,” according to The Guardian.