Turkish men take to the streets and utilize social media, posting themselves wearing skirts to protest sexual violence and assault.
When Özgecan Aslan was mutilated and murdered for resisting rape in her home country of Turkey, enraged citizens – both male and female – banded together to protest the acceptance of sexual violence and assault. – Magazine.Good.Is
Women have been recounting their own stories of personal assault by raising awareness through social media platforms, sharing their story and using the hash-tag #sendeanlat, which means “Tell Your Story”. Men have taken a different approach, choosing to don short skirts and protest by holding signs that read #ozgecanicinminietekgiy, meaning “Wear a skirt for Ozgecan.”
Their protesting is in response to the rhetoric of rape culture, which assumes that women provoke sexual assault by dressing in a certain way or by wearing revealing clothes.
Bold men who have the gull to wear a skirt and speak on behalf of rape acceptance hugely impact the way society perceives these protests. Women are still not treated as equals to men in many Middle Eastern regions, and therefore their opinions on the matter are not weighted as heavily as a man’s might be.
“The women’s movement is trying to tell society: ‘My dress is not an excuse for your rape or sexual harrassment.’ But society doesn’t want to hear these voices,” said Turkish activist Hulya Gulbahar to CNN. “People try to find excuses for rapes and killings. But they didn’t find any case, because Aslan was very innocent, purely innocent. The protest shows that a short skirt is not an excuse for rape.
Aslan was pure in her refusal to submit to a bus driver’s sexual attempts, and therefore became victim to his wrath. He killed her, burned her body, and cut off her hands so she couldn’t be identified.
However horrible the event is, Aslan’s sacrifice has at least provided opportunity for enlightened individuals to take action and demand that the public change its perception of women, sexual assault, and how all people are treated.