Thousands of women in shelter homes expected to avoid voting due to security concerns

Thousands of domestic violence victims staying in women’s shelters will again not vote this year amid concerns that their abusers might find out about their addresses. The number of such women who had avoided voting in the March 31, 2019 elections was 30,000.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

Thousands of women staying in shelter homes due to men violence, will again not be able to cast votes this year amid concerns that their addresses might be exposed on the website of the Supreme Election Council (YSK).

On March 19, the YSK adopted a decision saying that if domestic violence victims staying in women’s shelters inform the district election board of their situation and if the officials see it as “appropriate,” some measures will be adopted.

According to these measures, the relevant women’s address information, ID number, birthdate, birthplace, mother’s name and father’s name will be not revealed on the voter list that will be hung at the polling stations. Only the first letters of their names and surnames will be printed. Also, the YSK’s website will not disclose any information with regards to the relevant women.  

Canan Güllü, the president of the Women Associations of Turkey (TKDF), has said that she finds the move insufficient as the YSK’s decision does not make mention of the women who do not have a restraining order against their abusers but who are staying in shelter homes.

Güllü also criticized the YSK for making women go to the district election boards and register themselves. She further touched upon attempts by Islamists to amend Law No. 6284 on the prevention of violence against women and children.

Güllü said that such attempts will push domestic violence victims to further protect themselves, making it harder than ever for them to go to the polls.

Two Islamist parties, New Welfare Party (YRP) and HÜDA-PAR, last week threw their support behind the ruling People’s Alliance, after insisting their backing was conditional on the abolishment of Law No. 6284.

“In a TV program that he (recently) joined, since Mr. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not say ‘We will not abolish Law No. 6284’ in response to an explicity asked question, in this dirty political negotiations, women who are subjected to violence, who are under a protection order, who are staying in shelters have been left alone within their rights,” she said.

Güllü recalled that approximately 30,000 women in shelter homes had not cast their votes in the March 31, 2019 local elections and that this number will rise in the elections scheduled for May 14.

(English version by Didem Atakan)