The brutal murder of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan has sparked such outrage in Turkey that men took to the streets wearing miniskirts, in support of women’s rights.
It’s not something the is news about everyday, especially from that part of the world, but Turkish men have taken a stance in the violence against women in their country. The guys felt the need to come out and voice their outrage after the victim allegedly fought off a sexual assault, but was killed by a thug who burned her body and dumped it on a riverbed.
As has become customary with stories such as this one, a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #OzgecanAslan is generating a lot of interest in honor of the young woman. Female users are sharing selfies showing themselves wearing black.
What makes this movement different is that Turkish men have joined in and are showing their support for women by sharing photos of themselves wearing miniskirts. The guys are using the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, translated as “wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan,” according to CNN and have also taken to the streets wearing the female item.
Prominent Turkish lawyer and activist Hulya Gulbahar says the miniskirt campaign picked up by the Turkish men is “very effective” and a first when it comes to women’s rights in that country.
“The women’s movement is trying to tell society, ‘My dress is not an excuse for your rape or sexual harassment.’ But society didn’t want to hear these voices.”
“People try to find excuses for rapes and killings. But they didn’t find any in this case, because Aslan was very innocent, purely innocent. The protest shows that a short skirt is not an excuse for rape.”
U.N. Women and UNFPA (U.N. Population Fund) stated that despite some progress with Turkish legislation in regards to women’s rights, not much has changed and violence against women is still a serious problem, with “two out of every five women in Turkey exposed to sexual and physical violence.”
Despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong condemnation of the young woman’s murder, he was harshly criticized at an event last year, where he assured the audience that men and women are not equal. However, some are questioning the effectiveness of the Turkish men in miniskirts campaign, as noted by Istanbul-based journalist Andrew Finkel in an interview with CNN.
“I don’t know how effective it is. It’s obviously a clever protest, Turkish men showing their feminine side. Whether it’s going to move Turkish society, I don’t know.
“Reaction to the death has been massive. The miniskirt protest is not the main event in that protest — it’s not as if every man on Turkish streets is now wearing a miniskirt.
“Whereas the reaction to this woman’s death has been very substantial, and has made a lot of people think about their political attitudes.”
Three suspects have been arrested in the murder of Ozgecan Aslan, whose body was found Friday after her family reported her missing on Wednesday, according to news agency Anadolu. Aslan reportedly fought off a sexual assault by the driver of a bus she had taken to go home.
On a related Facebook page to promote the Turkish men wearing miniskirts they explain why they are dressing up as women.
“If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if (wearing) a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity (sic), if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!”
Additionally to the campaign in which Turkish men have taken to the streets wearing miniskirts, an online petition asking institutions to take responsibility for attacks, such as Aslan’s, have garnered almost 900,000 signatures.
[Image via Youtube screencap]