“Free to be.” “Free to Live.”

by Jennifer Garcia

 Protestors in Turkey, following the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, gathered to bring awareness to violence against women and women’s rights. Hundreds showed up to march on Istanbul’s main avenue despite Turkish police announcing that the protest would not be allowed. Vibrant chants of “We won’t be silent” and “We are not afraid” simultaneously filled several Turkish cities.

FemicideMap, a monitoring group, report that at least 1,915 Turkish women were killed due to violent crimes over the past seven years. 995 were killed by their own husband or boyfriend. Tired of the violence they faced from Turkish police, husbands, fathers, teachers and clients, these women peacefully protested to attract media attention in order to voice their pain and need for justice. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, responded with an initiative to address violence and harassment against women in France. These plans are aimed to eliminate the shame brought upon women that invokes silence in victims and to change the sexist culture in France. President Macron claimed that 123 women died due to violence committed against them in France last year.

The awareness of violence against women is notably growing everywhere across the globe as women march through the streets of Rome, Turkey, France, America and many other places. They fight against the violence that has not diminished in Middle Eastern countries, the silence forced upon women in all countries, the rights they deserve such as more funding for shelters and other institutions. According to the United Nations, the cruel and brutal actions against women are some of the most “widespread, persistent and devastating” violations of rights across the world.