ISL International Campaign Against Violence Toward Women

By Celeste Fierro MST leadership

Since oppression and exploitation have no borders, neither does our internationalist struggle and solidarity. From the International Socialist League, we are promoting a campaign in which our different sections support the struggle that comrades in Turkey are carrying out against violence toward women.

For a few weeks, social networks around the world began to flood with black and white photos. Behind #ChallengeAccepted is the denunciation of the structural violence that women suffer. The use of black and white images meant to resignify the action of the media in Turkey that publish images of victims of sexist violence, with their date of birth and death, along with misogynistic messages.

This action began after the femicide of Pinar Gültekin, a 27-year-old girl murdered by her ex-boyfriend on July 21. This event also rekindled the struggle against femicides in Turkey, and it occurs just when the country’s exit from the Istanbul Convention is being discussed. This has been proposed by the AKP government, taking up the demands of the reactionary and fundamentalist sectors of the country who argue that this Convention attacks the structure, integrity and morals of the traditional Turkish family.

What does the Istanbul Convention say? Was it being fulfilled?

This convention is an agreement reached by the Council of Europe on preventing and fighting against violence toward women and domestic violence in May 2011. In its article 1, it defines the objectives of the agreement, which are:

a) To protect women against all forms of violence and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;

b) To contribute to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and promoting real equality between women and men, including through the autonomy of women;

c) To devise a global framework, policies and measures to protect and assist all victims of violence toward women and domestic violence;

d) To promote international cooperation to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;

e) To support and assist organizations and law enforcement agencies to cooperate effectively to adopt an integrated approach with a view to eliminating violence against women and domestic violence.

Although its articles are clear, as we always say, these laws and conventions, without a budget and political decision, are toothless.

The lack of a real State policies to eradicate violence against women and achieve real equality, means that, for example in Turkey, our comrades of Equality, the SEP´s women’s organization, denounce that in the first 8 months of the year, 430 women have already been murdered; that there are not enough shelters; that in 8 years 497 public kindergartens fell to 56. Or that only a third of all women have formal jobs. All this situation of aggravation of violence and inequality, paradoxically, occurred with the Convention in force.

The intervention of socialists in the mass struggle of the women’s movement

As we stated at the beginning, femicides and the exit from the Convention reactivated a great movement of struggle, in which our comrades are actively participating, as they did last August 5 in the mobilizations in Ankara and Istanbul, where in addition to demanding an end to femicides, they denounced the Erdogan regime, which is the one who carries out all the political, social and economic attacks against women and working people.

That is why their demands included the creation of public shelters for women, free kindergartens in workplaces and neighborhoods; they demand policies to improve female employment, with priority for divorced women, as well as economic support from the State for those women who cannot have alimony, as well as those who have no income.

The International Socialist League promotes a campaign in support of the struggle that our comrades are carrying out, and that is why, from our different organizations, from each country, we join the mobilizations through social media sharing our black and white images along with a flyer that read: “Stand up against violence toward women.”

The commitment of socialists is to continue promoting the fight against all violence and oppression, understanding that we will only achieve real equality when we have done away with with this capitalist system, the father of all violence.