The murder of a woman who tried to stop a man raping her has sparked mass protests in Turkey and prompted women to share their stories of sexual harassment, violence and fear in a growing Twitter campaign.
Twenty-year-old student Ozgecan Aslan was traveling on a minibus in the southeast seaside province of Mersin on Wednesday last week when a man tried to rape her, according to local media.
Reports said Aslan pepper-sprayed the man before he stabbed her and beat her to death with an iron bar. He then enlisted the help of his father and a friend to dispose of her body in a river in Tarsus, where it was found on Friday showing evidence of burns as well as the fatal injuries.
A 26-year-old man, Ahmet Suphi Altindoke, was arrested on Monday and confessed to the crime, the Hurriyet Daily News reported. His 50-year-old father and 20-year-old friend were also arrested.
Turkish women have taken to social media, in response to the murder and the alarming rates of sexual harassment and violence in the country.
Using the hashtag #sendeanlat (“tell your story”), women have told of their experiences of violence, intimidation and harassment, as well as tactics they have resorted to, such as wearing a wedding ring or getting off a bus early to avoid being the last passenger.
Turkish model Didem Soydan has shared a number of her stories, including of the abusive text messages she received after she gave her number to police when she witnessed a woman’s assault.
As of Monday, more than 440,000 tweets had been shared under the hashtag, and it was the third-highest trending topic worldwide on Sunday.
Another hashtag, #ozgecanaslan, was even more more popular, trending as the highest topic worldwide on Saturday and Monday with more than 2.5 million tweets, according to al-Jazeera.
Data on gender-based violence in Turkey varies. Last year, 56 percent of the 281 women murdered in Turkey were killed by a husband or partner, according to data compiled from news reports by Turkish press organization Bianet. The number of deaths was a 31 percent increase on the previous year.
Bianet said another 27 women had been murdered last month.
The organization also said 9 percent of those killed had previously filed a complaint or sought a restraining order against their aggressor.
A third of rape victims were between 12 and 17 years old, the group’s statistics show.
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