A Turkish court recently gave its verdict on a very important domestic violence case, concerning a famous Turkish singer and a famous Turkish actor. Famous Turkish pop singer Sıla Gençoğlu, better known by her stage name Sıla, had filed a complaint against her ex-boyfriend, actor Ahmet Kural, a couple of months ago. She claimed that she was beaten and injured by Kural. She had witnesses and traces of injury on her body.
The case became a hotly debated topic in Turkey lately and attracted a lot of attention. Unfortunately, the number domestic violence cases are still high in Turkey but they often go unreported. It is unusual that such complaint came from the upper circles of the society and, more interestingly, from a famous female public figure.
As soon as Sıla made her complaint, the advocates of the patriarchal system started to malign her. She was called a liar, trying to get attention or destroy the good image of her actor boyfriend, because of jealousy.
Despite all these, Kural was finally sentenced Monday to 16 months and 20 days in prison for insulting, threatening and deliberately injuring Sıla.
I think that this verdict is good evidence of how women are being empowered in Turkish society. At the same time, this will raise awareness of violence against women. It gives us the idea that the common view towards women's issue can also change in the judiciary. Rights groups say Turkish laws to help victims of domestic violence have improved.
Often traditional and patriarchal attitudes prevent women from speaking out. However, in recent years, the numbers of women who dare to speak have increased. In that sense, a well-known name like Sıla taking a stance, filing a complaint and receiving a just verdict is important.
Following the court's ruling, Sıla told reporters that she was very happy and thanked the Turkish judiciary. "The ruling is reassuring for all women who have been in this position or can be in the future. This was a very hard and traumatic period for me," she said. "I have been exposed to all kinds of slanders," referring to previous claims that she was lying about being physically and psychologically abused by Kural. She continued by saying that "Silence is not acceptable. I advise everyone to be courageous. I believe that the justice system is very fair."
I should stress that it is very meaningful coming from Sıla, who is known for her oppositional views toward the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. So hearing words of praise from her about the fairness of the justice system should be noted.
To sum up, this case shows that despite the fact that the numbers concerning violence against women are still quite high, more and more Turkish women dare to speak out and the judiciary is becoming more pro-women, which I think will necessarily have a positive impact in the struggle concerning issues related to violence against women.
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