Long Live Women's Solidarity for a World without Shelters

Women’s Struggle Against Violence and Mor Çatı

Like elsewhere in the world, violence towards women is one of the most common human rights abuses in Turkey. Recent researches show that 4 in 10 women are subjected to domestic violence at home by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence against women isn’t limited to physical violence; it has verbal, economic, psychological and sexual dimensions to it as well. The source of this kind of violence is the male domination which is evident at every level of the society in Turkey. It is well known that domestic violence also affects children. Not just physical injuries but also fear and loss of self confidence are among the damage inflicted as a result.

Women’s Struggle Against Violence and Mor Çatı

Like elsewhere in the world, violence towards women is one of the most common human rights abuses in Turkey. Recent researches show that 4 in 10 women are subjected to domestic violence at home by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence against women isn’t limited to physical violence; it has verbal, economic, psychological and sexual dimensions to it as well. The source of this kind of violence is the male domination which is evident at every level of the society in Turkey. It is well known that domestic violence also affects children. Not just physical injuries but also fear and loss of self confidence are among the damage inflicted as a result.

Men turn to violence in order to establish their domination or when they feel it is threatened. Murder is one of the most horrific consequences of this violence. Although we don’t have official statistics, the news in the media indicate that no less than 3 women are murdered by their husbands, boyfriends or their ex-partners every day. Once we agree that violence towards women stems from the inequalities between men and women in the society and undermines women’s right to live, it becomes obvious that we need to fight against it on many fronts.

Mor Çatı is one of the first organisations founded in Turkey to fight against violence towards women. It was established soon after the ‘Solidarity of Women Against Domestic Violence Campaign’ which was led by feminists and involved hundreds of women in Istanbul in 1987. This campaign is regarded as one of the turning oints in women’s struggle against male domination in society. It also highlighted the need for solidarity centre and a shelter run in accordance with feminist analysis.

Solidarity Centre

Mor Çatı volunteers have been in solidarity with women who have experienced domestic violence since 1990. On average 10 women a day approach our solidarity centre via telephone or visiting. The centre’s work focuses on establishing solidarity and a network of women against violence rather than helping individual women.

Our Volunteers

Volunteers are required to attend training workshops in order to work as a volunteer at Mor Çatı. Our volunteers would normally have a telephone conversation with the women who have been subjected to domestic violence first. Later, during a fece to face meeting, they look at the options available to them together emphasizing the fact that women are not responsible for their abuser’s behavior. We believe that these women will take the best decision for themselves.

Psychological Support

Mor Çatı provides psychological support for victims to overcome feelings of hopelessness, guilt, shame and fear and to move forward in their life. Professionals working in this field need to understand that women neither provoke violence nor deserve it. In short, those who would provide psychological support to the survivors need to have developed a women’s perspective.

Legal Support

Most of the women who are victims of domestic violence aren’t aware of their legal rights or how to exercise them. Our legal volunteers meet this need. It is often observed in the legal field that even some pro-woman clauses in law are not applied due to bias within the system and thus it is important that the legal volunteers have a women’s perspective.

Running the Shelter

Mor Çatı has carried out three different shelter projects so far. The first one was implemented between 1995 and 1998. This shelter helped 350 women and 250 children to begin a life free from violence. In October 2005, Beyoğlu Administrative District asked Mor Çatı to run the shelter they were going to build with a loan from the World Bank. A women’s shelter financed by a local authority and run by a women’s organization was an exemplary project which was also in-line with government policies in fighting against violence towards women and children (Government Circular no 2006/17). This Project lasted three years with the support of volunteer social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and lawyers. In December 2008, Beyoğlu Administrative District ended the Project, citing lack of resources as a reason. Since 2009 Mor Çatı has been running an independent shelter project with the support of Şişli Municipality, the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey and with the help of friends, supporters and volunteers of Mor Çatı. The number of women and children who have stayed in the shelter has reached 100 so far.

Sharing Our Knowledge and Experience at Workshops

In order to run the solidarity centre in accordance with feminist principles and create awareness about violence towards women we run two different workshops. One of the workshops is for women who want to volunteer for Mor Çatı and the other is geared towards the professionals working at the shelter and solidarity centre. We have received requests from more than ten municipalities, waiting to tap into Mor Çatı’s knowledge and experience, to run training workshops for them.

We Stand by Women!

Mor Çatı aims to increase awareness of violence towards women and works to influence the authorities by drawing attention to the problems in implementing constitutional law and international agreements. Our  joint campaigns with other women’s issues, sharing the information gathered by women’s experiences with others, are paving the way for change in favour of women.

Women’s Convention

Since 1998, with Mor Çatı’s initiative, there has been an annual women’s convention with the participation of women’s organisations, which are flighting against violence against women or running a shelter (or planning to run one), municipalities and SHCEK (Social Services and Child Welfare) workers. The Shelters and Solidarity Centres Convention demonstrates a united front in our fight against violence towards women and provides a valuable platform for sharing information and experience.

How Do We Operate?

  • At Mor Çatı, decisions are made through a collective process.
  • There are no hierarchical mechanisms and we avoid creating such structures.
  • Rotation of authority and responsibility is applied to ensure information limited to certain individuals only.
  • Projects are carried out on a voluntary basis by volunteers who are expected to fulfill their duties during their period of commitment.
  • Participation in the decision making and implementation process is as important as achieving the target. There is no voting, the aim is to reach common ground during discussions.

How You Can Help

  1. Donation

    In order for Mor Çatı to continue its valuable work in solidarity centre and shelter, you can donate u
    sing one of the following accounts:

    TL Account
    Vakıfbank / Beyoğlu Şubesi, Mor Çatı Kadın Sığınağı Vakfı Hesabı
    Branch Code: 26 Account No (TL): 00158007296077345
    IBAN: TR 9800 0150 0158 0072 9607 7345
    Swift Code: TVBATR2A

    Garanti Bankası / Halaskargazi Şubesi, Mor Çatı Kadın Sığınağı Vakfı Hesabı
    Branch Code: 701 Account No (TL): 701/6298915
    IBAN:TR81 0006 2000 7010 0006 2989 15
    Swift Code: TGBATRIS701

    EURO Account
    Garanti Bankası / Halaskargazi Şubesi, Mor Çatı Kadın Sığınağı Vakfı Hesabı
    Branch Code: 701 Account No (Euro): 701/9087406
    IBAN: TR90 0006 2000 7010 0009 0874 06
    Swift Code: TGBATRIS701

    US DOLLAR Account
    Garanti Bankası / Halaskargazi Şubesi, Mor Çatı Kadın Sığınağı Vakfı Hesabı
    Branch Code: 701 Account No (Dollar): 701/9087459
    IBAN: TR17 0006 2000 7010 0009 0874 59
    Swift Code: TGBATRIS701

  2. Become a Volunteer and attend workshop

    Mor Çatı carries out its fight against male violence with its wide-ranging network of volunteers. It is essential to attend workshop training, which is organised at certain times of the year, to become a Mor Çatı volunteer. Workshops concentrate on raising awareness of violence, the history of women’s struggle in Turkey, and necessary legislation. It also gives information on work carried out, in accordance with feminist principles, at the solidarity centre and shelters. Volunteering provides support to Mor Çatı but also contributes to the self development of the volunteers.

  3. Provide support in specific areas

    You can provide support in specific areas such as health, communication, IT,  translation and also help with archiving and updating information. You could dedicate certain times within a week or a month, even 1-2 hours may be enough.

  4. Provide corporate support.

    You can carry out your corporate social responsibility projects in relation to violence towards women jointly with Mor Çatı. One of the main problems for women who experience violence is to find a job which will help them to establish a life free from violence. As a company, you could provide work opportunities or training to improve their chance of finding employment.

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Download this brochure as PDF in German

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