Mor Çatı's activity report that gives information about the works of its solidarity center and women's shelter having been done in the first half of 2015 has been published!

Mor Çatı, in its 25th anniversary, keeps up solidarity with women and children who were subjected to domestic violence, in its solidarity center and shelter. Women who are struggling for building nonviolent lives reinforce themselves through social, psychological and legal supports they receive from Mor Çatı.

Mor Çatı, in its 25th anniversary, keeps up solidarity with women and children who were subjected to domestic violence, in its solidarity center and shelter. Women who are struggling for building nonviolent lives reinforce themselves through social, psychological and legal supports they receive from Mor Çatı.

724 interviews were made with 370 women and children who applied to Mor Çatı Solidarity Center in the first half of 2015. The ages of the applicants are between 0 and 80. The majority of the applicants were women aged 25-34. 88% of them informed that they were most subjected to violence by their male relatives or the men they were familiar with and most of all in their marriages. 

It is observed that the most common form of violence women were subjected to was psychological violence (45%). The forms of psychological violence commonly mentioned were insult, threat, humiliation, offensive words. One fourth of those interviewed mentioned experiencing physical violence. Some of them were temporarily wounded while others were permanently injured due to physical violence. The rate of those subjected to economic violence was 14%. The forms of economic violence commonly mentioned were seizing and managing woman’s salary, forbidding woman to work, indebting her by taking money from from her credit account and using this to threaten her. Those who were subjected to sexual violence (14% of those interviewed) mentioned that they encountered sexual harassment, rape and sexual humiliation both within marriage and otherwise.

In the experiences of the applicants in the first half of the year, it was observed that the units of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Family and Social Policies had some implementations which were not in favor of women. Those include boys older than twelve not allowed to stay in the shelter, women’s inability to receive necessary social services in the shelter, misbehaviors of the shelter officers and poor domestic hygiene, lack of sufficient protection of the health of women and children. Besides, it is observed that, due to the deficiencies in the confidentiality of the registers before, during or after their life in the shelter, the perpetrators were able to find them through the hospitals and schools.

It is observed that also the implementations in the police stations, where most of the women choose to apply to, were not in favor of the women. The unfavorable implementations there that women declared included the police officers not implementing the standard procedure although they were applied to, having a blaming manner towards the survivor, mediating between the survivor and perpetrator.

The malicious implementations women were exposed to during legal processes include verdict of non-prosecution for the perpetrators, and in case of lawsuits, impunity to the perpetrators, the prosecutors and judges using judgmental expressions and behaving judgmentally against women. The experiences of the applicant women indicated that a lot of difficulties have occurred since law enforcement officers did not have enough information about or they arbitrarily did not enforce the Law no. 6284 on Prevention of Women Against Violence.

Women applying in the first half of the year were asked whether they applied to any institutions for the violence they were exposed to. It is observed that 35% of women who stated that they applied to one or more institutions did this in order to file a divorce or criminal lawsuit or request a protection order. Other institutions the women applied to were Police/Gendermarie Station Commands, Violence Prevention and Monitoring Centers and related units of The Ministry of Family and Social Policies. It is remarkable that there were few applications to civilian authorities that have a lot of authorization and responsibilities due to the law and almost all these applications were made for financial aid.

The domestic violence experiences of women and children were received from a pro-women and no-tolerance-to-violence perspective. The applicants were informed about the social support networks they needed in order to avoid violence. Social examination reports on the applications were drafted.  The related institutions were contacted for the applicants to exercise their rights. For the applicant who needed to find a job, interviewees were organized between them and the employees. Mor Çatı’s voluntary lawyers and psychologists respectively gave legal and psychological support to the women and children needed.

11 women in need of shelter were placed with their children in Mor Çatı’s shelter in the first half of the year. Therefore, a total of 49 people (25 women and 24 children) received shelter service in this period.

Age, language, religion or race discrimination towards the applicant women was avoided during the admissions for accommodation and supply of any support needed.  Applicant women’s educational status ranged from primary school to university degree and their ages from 18 to 62. Ages of children ranged between 7 and 17. Moreover, boys who came to the shelter with their mothers could stay there regardless of their ages.

Duration of the accommodation of women and their children in the shelter varied due to the mutual decision made regarding women’s varying objectives. Therefore, the standard duration of their stay wasn’t determined beforehand.

Individual and group workshops were conducted for women, children and teenagers in the shelter, which enabled them to receive multi-purpose support. Every woman in the shelter met a social worker regularly, at least once a week. In these meetings, the first step to strengthen is to define the mechanisms of violence and to recognize that violence we experience is not our fault. In these private meetings, we assessed the objectives for a life without violence, discussed what was supposed to be done in order to achieve these and identified the difficulties faced.

Women encountered a lot of difficulties in their struggle to build their own life in the shelter and after, without violence. The major difficulty was their inability to access kindergarden and childcare services. Kindergarden, pre-school and study services are extremely restricted and access to the existing services were very hard. It’s observed that women’s inability to access those services constituted the biggest obstacle against their employment. For example, a woman left her job more than once because she couldn’t find any childcare service. When we directed her to İstanbul Provincial Directorate of Childcare Services, they replied that there were no kindergarden or study services for children over the age of six.

In the same period, the problems occurred about the confidentiality of school registers to prevent children and teenagers’ fathers who committed violence from detecting their location. A teenager couldn’t get the result of TEOG (transition from primary to secondary education) exam since her/his e-school account was confidential. İstanbul Provincial Directorate for National Education couldn’t give support apart from directing her/his to submit a petition to the Ministry. S/he is still waiting for reply from the Ministry. We are working on this issue to prevent this child to encounter further problems in the period of applications for selection of and enrollment to high schools.

Most women in the shelter were deprived of the eight to vote since there was no regulation
that enabled them to vote safely. Thanks to her own power and planning, a woman having stayed in Mor Çatı’ shelter was able to vote for general elections on the 7th June 2015. Depending on the protection order enforced by Law no. 6284 on Prevention of Women Against Violence, she requested support from the police station. Therefore, she could safely vote again in the school where she had voted before.

Women can be exposed to the discriminative words and behaviors by the state officers when they apply for the financial aid which is their legal right. When a woman preparing for moving to a house applied to Beyoğlu Provincial Directorate for Social Services for financial aid to her two children, she was told “women are coming here in order to waste the state’s money.” When another woman requested for a house for her 15-year old disabled son, she was replied, “Is the state so fool that it will provide you with a house? Apply to TOKİ (the Housing Development Administration) and wait.”

Women who have left Mor Çatı’s shelter can hardly get any support from any state institution of the state.

 

 

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