Last week a twenty-year old female student, Ozgecan Aslan, was brutally beaten to death while traveling in the southeast province Mersin, Turkey. Ahmet Suphi Altındöke tried to rape Aslan and in self-defense she pepper-sprayed him, he proceeded to beat and stab her to death. He then had help from his father and a friend dispose of her body in a river, her body was found 2 days later with evidence of burns and fatal injuries. The men were arrested the following Monday after Altındöke confessed to the crime. There has been an overwhelming response from Turkish women on social media regarding Aslan’s case and the tremendous rates of sexual violence in the country. As of Monday, there were over 440,000 tweets using the hashtag #sendeanlat(tell your story) and women have been sharing their stories of violence and harassment. Ozgecan Aslan’s name was also a trending topic worldwide, with over 2.5 million tweets. In 2014, 281 women were murdered in Turkey and their husband or partner reportedly killed 56% of them. In Aslan’s honor, rallies were held in many cities in Turkey and thousands of men and women came out to support not only her but also all women who are victims of violence.
Although this is a sad and tragic story, it has definitely caused a stir of interest in defending women’s rights. I am glad that women and men are both standing up and not only fighting for Aslan but all women in Turkey. I hope that only good will come from this and that the men involved are prosecuted for what they have done.