Nine civil organisations and trades unions took to the streets on Saturday to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The march began at Kuğulu Park and ended at the Lokmaci border crossing. A play about violence against women was performed by the Baraka Theatre outside the Assembly building.
The march was supported by the Akdoğan Fikir Art Workshop, Independence Road, Baraka Cultural Centre, Municipality Employees ‘ Union, Women’s Education Collective, KTAMS, Turkish Cypriot Secondary Education Teachers’ Union (KTOEÖS),Turkish Teachers’ Union (KTÖS), and the Social Risk Prevention Foundation (SRÖV).
A joint statement was read out by Cansu Nazil of the Women’s Education Collective.
She said that cases of violence against women in the country were increasing. There had been a record numbers of women murdered in 2017. This year, five women had been murdered by their husbands and yet there were still no women’s shelter provided, she stated.
In the statement it was demanded that the state provide women’s refuges and that police be trained to handle complaints against violent attacks against women. They did not want police to act as mediators or to intimidate complainants with court proceedings.
The state has a responsibility to protect women so that they feel safe at home, in the streets and in the workplace. There need to be women’s refuges in every district, Nazil said.
Additionally, the dedicated emergency helpline ALO 183, was only staffed by one person. There had to be more people operating the helpline and on a 24 hours basis. The Social Services Department says that there are no concrete and functional steps the state can take in case of a call to the Women’s Violence and Child Abuse Hotline or the Panic Button.
There has to be a change in the mindset of society, where violence against women is no longer tolerated or deemed to be acceptable, she said.