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What A Step!

It is beyond comprehension of the normal mind that a State would pass this sort of a law in the 21st Century! However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey has developed an habit to trigger controversies in recent times. The Erdogan Administration is all set to introduce a new law, allowing rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victims who are under 18 years of age! The ‘Marry Your Rapist‘ Bill will certainly undermine justice and Human Rights of the victims, apart from disturbing the social norms. Although it sounds like a subject from the Middle Ages, the Turkish Government has argued that the proposed law would ultimately protect the women!
The fact is that a modern State is trying to save criminals, as the proposed law might encourage Turkish men to abuse children and under-age girls. Various UN agencies have already warned that the Bill would generate a landscape of impunity for child abusers, and leave victims vulnerable to experiencing additional mistreatment and distress from their assailants! Instead of punishing criminals – who commit a crime, like rape, the Government of President Erdogan is planning to allow them to lead normal lives. Perhaps, the Turkish Government is going to commit a heinous crime by asking the victims to spend their entire lives with criminals!

President Erdoğan.jpg
President Erdogan

Rape is not only a physical attack on a woman, but also an attack on her social dignity and mind. To rescue the victims from that humiliation, the Turkish State plans to arrange marriages between the victims and the perpetrators of the crime. Surprising!!! As expected, the social workers, feminists and Human Rights activists have condemned the Government’s decision, with the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) opposing this Bill.
Anyone, with a good sense, can easily understand that this Bill would legitimise child-marriage… because, the victims, as mentioned in the Bill, are minors. The Turkish Government’s move shows that a civilised (?) and cultured (?) State supports child-marriage! The stand – taken by Turkey on an issue, like rape – implies that these two things cannot go together! Even in the 21st Century, a nation – straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires – fails to realise the real meaning of civilisation. Else, it cannot march backward. Turkey is not only strengthening the roots of Patriarchy, but also encouraging men to enjoy minor girls! It is evident in History that Autocracy or Dictatorship has always targeted Women’s Rights. Ankara had introduced a similar Bill in 2016. However, the Bill was defeated in the Parliament, after receiving criticism from Women’s Rights activists from around the world. That legislation would have only pardoned men for having sex with young girls “without force or threat”. The Erdogan Government has decided to make the move, once again!

Women protest in Istanbul.jpg
Women protest in Istanbul

Four years ago, the Supreme Court of India had upheld a Madras High Court verdict, stating that no mediation should be allowed between a rape victim and the perpetrator without a proper judicial process. It is to be noted that the Madras High Court had mentioned in its verdict that marriage between the two could be a possible solution. Rape is not at all a rare crime in India… in fact, the victims do not get justice in many cases in the South Asian nation. However, the Government of India has never considered marriage as a possible solution in order control the crime. True Democracy ensures that people, irrespective of their gender, will get fair justice. Unfortunately, it seems that Turkey is out to destroy the prevailing democratic environment.

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