Crimes behinds closed doors
By Baheega Hassan- A reporter
In her extraordinary novel “ The bastard of Istanbul”, Elif Safak, Turkish author, reveals what sort of crimes are committed behind closed doors. Crimes started by the father and his relation with his wife and daughters. A disturbed father , who has never hesitated to use his belt to hit his wife and children. He died, leaving behind him a frustrated daughter with a lasting question “ the leather belt with steel edges, is there any logic hidden to let that special belt hurts more than any other belt”. This hurting question discloses one of many sorts of family violence against women. Violence that gives the right to a father, a husband, a brother and all family males, . to hit with a belt with steel edges.
Violence is not limited to hurting or beating, but in many cases it can reach an “undisclosed” level, rapping. In the same novel, sister is rapped by her brother, at that moment, heir of their father position, he twisted her arm on her back, jumped over her and everything changed to became different, her first feeling was a feeling of shame..she immediately felt weak, attenuated and frozen, reminded her of her origins..however, a huge wave of panic swept away those indignity and humiliation feelings…In a blink he re-rose her up so she hit and slapped him, he returned her slapping vigorously…she heard her own screaming: STOP..A non human screaming but rather a scream of an animal being slaughtered”.
That was a real animal scream in a slaughterhouse surrounded by secrecy walls, crimes protected by norms, inherited from community culture and laws. Those same norms and community cultures that prevent battered woman to pursue defending her own rights, regardless how much violence she has been through, according to Article 60 of the provision of the Penal Code “the provisions of the Penal Code shall not apply to any act committed in good faith, pursuant to the right decision under the law of Shariaa.”
We leave Istanbul to listen to the voices of girls in one of Cairo poor neighborhoods, who have had to marry underage, and were exposed, behind closed doors, to all sorts of violence starting by beatings, to harassment and even rape. In a research concluded by the Egyptian Establishment on rights to development, one of the twenty girls of the research said about the motives behind early marriage: “ My father, brother, Uncle,and son-in-laws, all of them tried to rape me, so I preferred to get married and be raped by one man, my husband.”
We are facing a real disaster which necessitates unity, solidarity, struggle and changing community culture, in addition to enact laws to punish whoever prevents women from claiming their rights to litigation in case of domestic violence, and drop Article 60 of the Penal Code. A long and difficult road, but with solidarity and struggle we will go through it and achieve it to reach a free violence against women community.