The rape and murder of Italian artist-activist, Pippa Bacca, shocked Turks and aroused anger that so many men feel justified in using violence against women in order to assert their power. Turkish art critic Beral Madra voiced the strong feelings of many women in noting: “Turkey is proud of those men who have license to kill because they are considered the guardians of honor in the country. This is acepted by the masses and has been polished by the religious-oriented politicians since the 1980s, by the TV culture since the 1970s, and before that by the Yesilcam cinema sector.” Until the Turkish penal code was changed n 2004, if a man charged with raping a minor married the vicim, charges against him were dropped, and the penal code still recognizes “unjust provocation” as a cause to reduce punishment in cases of violence against women. One assumes “unjust provocation” was some behavior on part of the woman that “caused” the male to act in a violent manner.
In some areas of Turkey, female politicians like Mayor Gulcihand Simsek, have negotiated with trade unions to ensure if a man behaves violently toward his wife, she is now entitled to receive part of his wages, and he can lose his job if violence continues. An ongoing problem is when a woman goes to the police all she encounters are men. There is need for more female members of the police, particularly in units dealing with family violence.