“We are very well aware of these games that legitimize rapists and darken the lives of women for life ... From past to present, we exposed your wiles and defeated your "marry your rapist" laws; do not doubt that we will do the same today!"
Yesterday, when the negotiations on the Draft Law No. 438 were made in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, as votes for consensus were drawing to an end, six MPs from the ruling AKP proposed an amendment to the provisional article. The proposal brought amnesty to the perpetrator in child abuse cases if they were to marry the exploited child. The motion was accepted to the astonishment of the opposition, who looked stunned. In fact, this amendment was premeditated, planned well ahead of the motion the 6 AKP deputies had prepared. Justice Minister and the ruling party knew about the proposal. The Minister of Justice openly defended the proposal at the General Assembly, without hiding it was his party’s idea. To ward off reactions, this clause was not was included in the original draft but was added on as a last minute amendment to provide amnesty to rapists.
Today, "marry your rapist" laws of the Turkish Penal Code, which have been changed as a result of the long struggles of the women's movement and the feminist movement, is aimed to be brought back again. Moreover, now it’s children that are being discriminated against!
With the change of the law, those who exploit children to this day will avoid prison, if they marry their victims. Today they do not hesitate to use the Parliament and television to defend and legitimize child abuse that they have been trying to cover up with broadcast bans in Karaman, Adıyaman. We will never allow it!
We do not even want to think about what may happen if this whole draft is accepted.
- A person who exploited a 10 year old child will not be punished, if the perpetrator marries their victim when the minor is of legal marriage age. It will not matter whether the perpetrator is a minor or 50 or 70 years old!
- Judges will be able to rule that 13-year-old children are capable of being in a consensual relationship with 50-year-old perpetrators. It’s outrageous that consent can be sought in such relationships!
- Abused children will come under pressure to claim consent!
- Those who deliver their children to abusers in exchange of money will also be pardoned. Economic difficulties are one of the main reasons underlying child marriages. As it becomes legally and socially acceptable, economically crippled families will be more likely to resort to marrying their daughters off at an early age for a certain amount of money!
- Since marriage between the victim and the perpetrator will suspend the legal prosecution of rape, the abused children will be threatened to stay in the marital arrangement!
Child Age Marriage is a Lifetime of Perpetual Rape!
According to the Ministry of National Education, 97.4% of those who are unable to continue their education due to early marriage and engagement are female students. Most of the children who are dragged into early marriage are systematically exposed to physical and psychological violence by their spouse and his family throughout the marriage. Most such marriages take place between an underage girl and a man who is much older. Most such children marry without any sexual knowledge, are raped by the person they are married to, and they face a myriad of health problems. The leading cause of death in young girls between the ages of 15 and 19 is pregnancy and childbirth complications. Such children are isolated from their social environment by the people they are married to, are not sent to the school, and are not even allowed to leave the home. Many women who are married in childhood experience anger and numerous psychological disturbances as they get older.
If the provisional clause accepted in the Parliament yesterday is enacted and becomes permanent, it will only mean this: put the rapists out of prison and put abused children in prison with their perpetrators for a life time sentence!
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in the General Assembly that 4,000 people in prisons would be set free with this law. We would like to inquire: how many of the 4,000 people who will benefit from this provision are children, how many are adults? This "amnesty" will bring out a number of child abusers from the prison, just like the infamous "Huseyin Uzmez" case! Are there other "influential" child abusers you would like to "save" from punishment?
Unfortunately, it is not a secret that many AKP affiliates consider child abuse legitimate. As this draft was being discussed, AKP deputy candidate Vahdettin İnce was telling CNN Turk that 13-year-old girls are eligible for marriage! The dreadfulness of the situation becomes clear when we consider that the related sentences of the 230th article of the Turkish Penal Code, which enforces the punishment for conducting religious marriage ceremony without the civil marriage among them, have been canceled by the AYM (Constitutional Court of Turkey), we see that every punishment given to child abduction is removed from the marriage.
This amendment clearly violates the "Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse" and the "Istanbul Convention".
It is not possible to let child rapists go unpunished on the grounds consensual relations among minors and marriages between two minors. One can not solve victimization by marrying victimized children to their perpetrators, rape can never be justified!
The state must; not marry off minors who are victims of abuse; but ensure freedom, equal rights to education and health for all children!
The state must; must ensure rapist receive punishment they deserve!
As the People's Democratic Party, Parliamentary Women's Group, we never accept this proposal. In solidarity with all women, we will resist your rapist laws. You will not legitimize rape!
Peoples’ Democratic Party
Parliamentary Women's Group
November 18, 2016