“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 .
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.
 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.
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