What law can put an end to unconscionable violence? - YASIN AKTAY

What law can put an end to unconscionable violence?

There are such moments in life, where you experience incidents that all of humanity experience and all eyes bear witness to. It is said that an experience is more of a lesson than countless advice. Calling it a lesson would be putting it lightly, because as a result of the pain caused by this lesson, nothing will ever be the same.

You would also think that such events will never happen again in a society that bears witnesses to such incidents, because it is as if this incident did not occur for the victim to feel and experience their own pain, but to show all of humanity the gravity of it, to open the eyes of those who have been indifferent, to involve them in the matter and make them bear witness.

Those moments happen like a holy verse about our state and our future that electroshocked our heart, to tell us, “enough,” to ring the “awakening” bell, to make us think that we are going down the wrong track and that this is also a matter that concerns us.

Do hearts develop further familiarity with evil when we are shown through such incidents the flaws of humanity, the extent of the lowliness to which humanity can stoop?

In how many people’s hearts was baby Aylan able to sprout compassion with the enormous tragedy he experienced? Had the seeds of compassion he sowed in hearts was not spread on arid lands, would it not have prevented other Aylans bodies from washing off along the shores of the Mediterranean today, every day?

What did we witness yesterday through a child crying out, “Mommy, please don’t die”? What about the mother who helplessly called out to her saying, “I don’t want to die”? How many hearts, in which the seed of compassion failed to sprout, were crushed by that mother’s struggle for life, who shortly died in front of our eyes?

At the time this incident occurred yesterday, another woman, a mother of three, was stabbed to death in 20 places by her husband in a similar incident in another Turkish city. Among the numerous common characteristics in both incidents was their murderous husbands’ statements: “I loved her, we got into an argument, I would not have wanted it to come to this point.”

No matter where you look, we are modernizing. We are making greater leaps by the day in modernization. Those committing the murders and the victims of murders are more and more educated and city-dwellers compared to the past. The current issue of violence against women is not a rural matter but an urban one. In fact, we are living in an urban-modern world in which the woman’s position is being further improved legally and privileges are granted under the name of positive discrimination against women.

What is strange is that despite the woman’s legal position being very developed, incidents of violence against women are further escalating.

What is happening?

Are all these laws incapable of adequately protecting women? What more could it be?

The lack of demand for the gravest punishment for those committing violence against women is out of the question. In other words, there is no shortage in terms of the community condemning, scorning and cursing violence against women. After the woman dies, voices rise from the community, demanding for the murderer to receive the harshest punishment. You would think these voices are enough. Voices that have taken their lesson, that will never allow such an incident to happen even if by their own means. Yet, despite all these voices, there is no promising development to prevent such incidents from ever reoccuring.

Do not think this is Turkey’s problem alone, but what concerns us right now is Turkey and in this region, which has always been fertile land for compassion, we are increasingly receiving serious signals of desertification in terms of compassion.

It is as though, in a place where everything is bound by laws, in other words, where the conscience is not openly trusted, it is exacting its revenge in the harshest manner and invalidating laws. If it was not for the conscious, compassion, responsibility, which law could protect the woman against man, the child against the tyrant parent, the woman against woman, the young against the old, the employee against the employer?

It all starts by approaching the incident as violence against women. The problem is the lack of control displayed by people with respect to using their power irresponsibly. The problem does no consist of man’s violence against women alone. This is a problem concerning strong social ethics about how those who are powerful need to treat those weaker than themselves, how those who are rich need to treat the poor, and those who are older need to treat those who are younger than themselves. When a man is stronger than a woman, enough to apply physical violence against her, to what extent and by what reason must he control his urges?

You can also apply this for all other human power balances. When a woman is strong, what will prevent her from abusing this power against women who are weaker than herself, or against her own children?

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