60 percent of Turks witnessing violence against women in immediate environments

Almost 60 percent of people in Turkey are witnessing violence against women in their immediate environments, according to a recent study. The study comes amid calls from activists and politicians who have been demanding a return to the Istanbul Convention.

Women hold banners reading 'We don't want to die' during a protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

Duvar English

Istanbul Ticaret University and the polling institute Areda Survey and Research have released a study entitled “The changing family structure in Turkey” involving interviews with 2,400 people from 26 different provinces.

The study revealed that 10.7 percent of the participants had witnessed women in their immediate environments being regularly subjected to violence from their husbands, and that 46.5 percent of them said they occasionally witnessed such violence, online news outlet Diken reported.

The number of violence against women and femicides in the country has been on a steep increase in recent years, mostly due to the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that protect men. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went as far as to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty that aims to protect women against violence, back in March. 

In many cases, reports after the murders reveal that women sought help from authorities, but were ignored. Although the perpetrators are often detained, they are either released or get minor prison terms.

So far, over 300 women were murdered in 2021, according to statistics shared by the We Will Stop Femicides Platform. 

According to the study, 4.4 percent of the respondents said that they saw men in their immediate surroundings being regularly exposed to violence from their spouses, and 28.9 percent of them said they saw men occasionally being subject to such violence.

According to the study, 55.1 percent of the participants considered that female participation in the labor market strengthened the family, while 32.6 percent considered it weakened the family. The study also showed that 11.8 percent of the people that live in Turkey got married before the age of 18, while 32 percent got married between the ages of 18 and 20. 13.1 percent got married before they turned 17 and 20.3 percent before they turned 18.

With regards to children, the study revealed that 89.5 percent of the participants, whether married or divorced, had children. Some 39.6 percent had one child, while 32.4 percent had two. When asked whether, in the case of an only child, they would prefer a boy or a girl, 56.3 percent said they would prefer a girl. 43.7 percent said they would prefer a boy.

What is more, the study showed that the elderly and university graduates were more inclined to prefer girls than younger generations and poorly educated people. While 32.9 percent of those who did not attend school preferred girls, that rate was 61.8 percent among university graduates.

As for alimony and divorce, 76.6 percent of the respondents said they deemed it necessary for men to provide alimony to their former spouses in the event of a divorce. Some 35.6 percent thought the family structure was strong, while 37.1 believed it had weakened. Some 11.8 percent considered it had collapsed.