Rahila Gupta

Treaties Alone Can’t Protect Women from Violence

September 26, 2020, (CNN)

Demonstrators take to the streets to protest against Turkey potentially withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention.

Women have always been punching bags for men’s anger in the patriarchal systems we live in. It comes as no surprise that rates of violence are up everywhere as the pandemic and its lockdowns push women further into men’s deadly embrace.

In Turkey, with its already high rate of femicide — more than 400 women are killed every year — the release of violent men from prisons during lockdown may have further aggravated the situation. Several incidents of domestic violence were reported including the killing of one woman. Women took to the streets recently to express their fury at the brutal murder of a university student, Pinar Guletkin, by her ex-boyfriend who strangled her, stuffed her into a barrel, burned it and poured concrete over it.

Despite this appalling record on femicide, CNN reported last month that Turkey is debating its withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe (CoE) legally binding set of guidelines on combating and preventing violence against women. Critics of the treaty in Turkey claim it erodes “family values” and promotes “LGBT lifestyles.” Women’s groups in the country, fearful that violence against women will increase if the Istanbul Convention is dropped, have organized mass rallies.

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