Recently, a trend has surfaced on Instagram where women nominate one another privately to post a black and white picture of themselves with the hashtag “challenge accepted”. However, the meaning behind these black and white images goes deeper than simple women’s empowerment. Aside from the “women supporting women”, the trend took shape to highlight a prominent issue of femicide happening overseas
VOA News reported a wave of anti-femicide protests in Turkey following the murder of 27-year-old Pinar Gultekin by her ex-boyfriend. Pinar’s death was only one out of the 120 murders of women in this year alone. Demonstrations began in protest against gender-based violence and “honor killings” which are intended to justify the killing of a woman by a relative to “preserve family honor.”
Activists and supporters took to Instagram to share what they see on a daily basis: black and white photos of women who were victims of gender-based violence. From their televisions to newspapers to social media, the faces appear almost as often as hash-tagged names in America. Iran also joined in protest of honor killings as recent victim Romina Ashrafi, 14 years old, was killed by her father who, by law, would not be severely punished.
We Will Stop Femicide picked up the task of keeping track of the amount of women killed. They reported nearly 500 women killed in 2019, over 100 in 2020 so far and 36 in July alone. While raising awareness around the rate of killings, activists are also applying pressure to the Turkish government to take part in the Istanbul Convention to establish legislation preventing gender-based violence and creating equal rights for women.
In conjunction with the gender inequality issue Turkey and other countries in the Middle East face, the pandemic only worsened issues by forcing women to stay in homes with abusive relatives and men. As women in American deal with similar issues, they also have the resources like shelters and hotlines to contact for help. How can we help our sisters overseas?
WWSF has multiple ways listed on their platform on how to contribute to their movement. Legal, social media and communications committees welcome women to participate in creating more noise around a severe issue that tends to get hushed. WWSF encourages women to build a public opinion around gender equality and the deservingness of protection.
Start where you are and spread awareness of the femicide to women you know. Educate yourself on the long-standing history of sexism and misogyny in the Middle East and where they stem from. Recognize the fight for women’s equality and rights is beyond Turkey and Iran. Look for ways to support women elsewhere suffering a similar fate.
Featured Image by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels