The Turkish government is planning to introduce a new law that will allow men accused of raping underage girls to avoid punishment by marrying their victims, a move which has outraged women’s rights campaigners who say the law will pave the way for ‘child exploitation and legitimize child marriage and statutory rape.’
The “marry your rapist” bill is set to be introduced to parliament at the end of the month. Although, the Turkey’s opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party has called for the bill to be axed.
Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a campaigner for Equality Now, told The Independent: “I applaud the brave work of women’s rights campaigners in Turkey who are taking a stand against this discriminatory bill and pushing back again regressive forces that are seeking to remove current legal protections for girls.
“Similar ‘marry-your-rapist’ legal provisions have been on the statute books of countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
“Thanks to years of campaigning by women’s rights activists and lawmakers, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestine have all removed these loopholes in recent years.
“Rather than attempting to introduce legislation that harms women’s rights and protections, Turkish lawmakers should take heed of these advances in repealing gender discriminatory laws.”
The UN say 38% of women in Turkey have suffered physical or sexual violence from a partner.