Is Turkey legitimizing "child marriage and rape"?

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Is Turkey legitimizing "child marriage and rape"?

2020-01-25 12:46 GMT
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Independent story falsely claims that Turkey gives amnesty to rapists if their victims marry them, but reality is much different

The Independent recently published an article with a title “‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill to be introduced by lawmakers in Turkey”. It accuses Turkish government of legitimizing “statutory rape”. But is it true?

The article covers the latest bill proposal as if legitimizing “child marriage and statutory rape”, while providing allegations of the rise in the violence against women in Turkey. Yet, there are several essential points that was not touched upon in the article.

Firstly, the measure has retroactive effect only for the consensual marriages of the females who were older than 15 years old at the time of the marriage. In the vast majority of the cases, the women also had civil marriage once they reached of age. So, it is a measure for the people who are already married, althoug in defiance of the law. Additionally, it is not going to affect the status of possible future marriage of minors either.

In such cases, the husbands were still subsequently arrested for the statutory rape charges. Wives actually protested for the arrest of their husbands. Actually, the bill proposal was first brought in 2016 by the families and the wives themselves to provide relief for their situation, backed by a member of parliament in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Turkey. The CHP also previously backed the proposal.

It is stated that more than 5000 fathers are currently in jail because when they were married, the wife was below 18 year-old. Therefore, their union was considered as statutory rape. This practice happened mostly in the rural areas where women was not participating in the workforce, therefore depending on the man for providing the needs of the family. That’s why, the measure caused bigger issues for those women, instead of protecting their rights.

The charges brought after years of marriage when the couples already built their family caused aggrievement for all members of the family, including the wife. Although the marriage of the minors is not naturally desired, draconian measures of applying the law harmed the rights and interests of women further.