Imece Women’s Center celebrated March 8, International Women’s Day, with a special event on Zoom due to lockdown conditions. The Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees Ümmügülsüm Hepinstall gave the message, “We are everywhere and we will continue to be”. The service users, employees, volunteers and the members of the Board of Trustees attended the 8 March celebration.

“All institutions should work together to prevent violence against women.”

The 8 March event started with a panel titled “Being a migrant woman in the pandemic and the Istanbul Convention”. Anıl Göktürk from the Violence Against Women and Girls Service (VAWG) shared information on how the Istanbul Convention is implemented in Britain. Göktürk stated Imece gives training in schools and informs young people about healthy relationships within the scope of the efforts to prevent violence included in the convention. She said they also provide VAWG training to local authorities’ workers, police, and social workers. Göktürk reminds that women who have been subjected to violence in England have many rights, and the police also have the right to issue a restraining order for the perpetrator up to 1 month in addition to the court’s order. Göktürk underlined that all relevant institutions should work in close relationship with each other in preventing violence against women, and she added women experiencing economic difficulties have right to ask for free legal support in the UK.

“With the pandemic, migrant women
have become even more disadvantaged”

Dr. Funda Afyonoğlu from Selçuk University, drawing attention to the recent campaigns against the Istanbul Convention in Turkey, claims that the convention does not have any purpose such as “destroying the family” or “demoralize individuals”; on the contrary it aims to prevent violence against women and empower women. Opposing the idea that the Istanbul Convention did not work, Afyonoğlu stated that the femicide continues to rise in Turkey because the convention has not been fully implemented. Afyonoğlu listed the problems experienced in practice as follows: the fact that it takes longer than 24 hours to get a protection order, the woman can be subjected to violence again during this period, the protection order is notified to the perpetrator late, the imprisonment penalty is not applied in cases where the decision of protection is opposed, the lack of support services for women in ŞÖNİMs and police stations, the pressure on women to withdraw their complaints. Finally, Afyonoğlu said the disadvantageous conditions of migrant women have been deepened during the pandemic: “Immigrant women, who mostly work in the informal sectors, could not access protective equipment, had to work, and they face poverty if they quit their jobs”. Afyonoğlu pointed out hate speech against immigrants, care work and domestic violence have also increased during the pandemic.

Following the Zumba event, İmece’s 8 March celebration ended with the participants’ remarks:

“So glad I have you. Thanks to Imece, I was able to stand on my own feet, and I am free. I now have a home to shelter in. I suffered a lot; I was exposed to psychological, physical and financial violence. So glad I have you. “

“There was a day when I couldn’t find any bread to eat, but I resisted. I worked in 4 different jobs for 9 months; I managed to stand up again. The processes I’ve been through have taken me a lot, but I didn’t give up. “

“Ezidis have a proverb, “In our land, women wake up first, then the sun rises, because women give birth to the sun.
Roja Jinên Kedkarên Cîhanê, Û bi taybetî Roja Jinên Şoreşgeran pîroz be … # JinJiyanAzadî # 8M2021 # 8MarchWomen’s Day #No Violence Against Women ”