Tag Archives: gender equality

Madame Mayor

Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4: 4).

In Turkey, a Muslim woman with a 5th grade education, married at 15 y.o. to an abusive husband, and largely confined to home all her married life, has been elected co-mayor of her district [1].

Technically, men and women have equal rights in Turkey. The reality is far different. Four in ten Turkish women polled in 2009 said they were victims of domestic violence.

Long isolated from the outside world by her husband, Berivan Kilic somehow found the courage to divorce him after fourteen years of marriage. Turkish women do have the legal right to divorce. Since employment is not widely available to women, however, they must either remarry or “fall into the streets”.

Aisan, Berivan’s mother, brokered a third alternative. Aisan convinced Berivan’s father to let Berivan move back home.

With her two young sons, Berivan returned to the house where she grew up. To support herself, she began cutting hair. And she resumed her education by studying at home. This shocked, but intrigued the small town of Kocakoy.

Along the way, Berivan joined the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The party, whose core values include gender equality, urged Berivan to run for office. Astonishingly, she won.

Local women now have a representative who understands their needs. One of Berivan’s priorities is, in fact, creating employment opportunities for women. She believes that this approach will for cultural reasons accomplish more good than a women’s shelter would. Berivan is, also, planning a crafts market for women’s handmade goods.

An act of courage saved a life, and is today changing other lives for the better.

[1] NBC News, “Turkish Teen Bride Divorces and Blazes Trail to Politics” by Emily Feldman, 6/5/14, http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkish-teen-bride-divorces-blazes-trail-politics-n123611.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Christianity, Justice, Politics, Prostitution, Religion, Violence Against Women

Not Democracy

Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly” (2 Sam. 13: 19).

For those who may not be familiar with the Bible story, Tamar, a daughter of King David, was raped by her brother, Amnon.  She was denied justice.

Not a great deal of progress has been made in the Middle East since then.  Over 180 rapes have taken place in Tahrir Square while the world watches.  The possibility of justice for these victims remains remote.

As many as 30 to 100 men will isolate a woman, then violate her with their hands, literally tearing the clothing off her back.  Women may be beaten with chains, chairs, and other objects while being raped.  The genitals of some women have been cut.

Public violence against women has been a problem in Egypt before.  Foreign journalists, including Lara Logan and Sonia Dridi, have been assaulted and raped.  Even more disturbing perhaps, a UN survey on gender equality reported that 99% of the Egyptian women responding had been subjected to some form of sexual violence in their lives.

The message being sent is that women have no place outside the home.

A large part of the problem is the fact that sexual abuse is not a crime in Egypt.  Sexual violence may be committed without fear of reprisal.  Police treat rape victims as if they were the culpable party.

Tahrir Square is no Tiananmen Square.  Whatever else the protests ongoing in Tahrir Square may be, they are certainly not democracy, and should not be mistaken for some fledgling version of it.   We should not delude ourselves.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Justice, Law, Politics, Religion, Violence Against Women