At Çukurova University and Adana, we try to discover the difficulties of being a woman by asking young women.
We live in a time when it is becoming more important to discuss women’s problems and seek solutions. According to the data of the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, men killed 280 women in Turkey in 2021. After the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the fight against male violence in Turkey continues to be a matter of debate.
According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the rate of people who felt insecure when walking alone at night in their neighborhood in 2021 was 25.0 percent in total, while this rate was 35.5 percent for women and 14.2 percent for men.
In the 21st century, the age of science and technology, there is a picture in which women, who have been trapped into socio-cultural identities and exposed to various mobbing, harassment, and oppression in all areas of life, still have to defend their rights to live a safe life. In the shadow of all these problems, we talked with young women to discover the concerns and fears of women in universities, in short, the difficulties of being a woman at Çukurova University and Adana.
“As women, we cannot live without fear”
Ece described the harassment she faced on the city bus as follows:
“Being a woman at Çukurova University is, of course, more comfortable than in other parts of Adana, but I cannot say that we can live without fear as women in many cities and districts. When I was 17 years old, I took the city bus on the way home from the course, and a 30-35-year-old man sat next to me on this bus. This person wrote his number on his phone until I got off the bus, held it towards me, and pinned me in my seat. I wasn’t wearing anything revealing, as it was assumed. I was wearing a straight sleeve tank top and pants. I couldn’t react at that moment because I was terrified. During the ride, I looked outside without turning my head, waiting to arrive at my house. With time passing very slowly, I finally reached the stop where I was going to get off. I kept in touch with my mother and repeatedly checked my back until I got home. The worst part of the matter happened on the city bus, which was safe for us, it was a massive incident for my age, and I was affected by it for a long time. What I mean is that although I am luckier than people living in other parts of Adana, this does not mean that I am not harassed. Unfortunately, as women, we are in danger in this district. I am fortunate that that incident did not go further and he didn’t follow me, but not every women’s story is the same. As women, I hope the district we live in becomes safer.”
“We live in fear of “what will happen to me” all the time”
On the other hand, Beyza said, “The unsafe roads and the lack of lighting make it difficult to go home in the evenings. We try not to stay at the university late at night. The prejudice against female drivers in traffic is another problem. That can cause other problems as well,” she said.
Elif started her speech by complaining that all kinds of chores in the house are accepted as women’s duty only:
“When women are not fit in society’s beauty standards, they are exposed to various bullying and mobbing. In addition, it is a significant problem that women are constantly assumed to need the opposite sex and cannot handle their economic freedom. I think the fear of “what will happen to me” is one of the biggest challenges of living as a woman.”
“I reached the camera footage”
Tuğçe also described the harassment she faced as follows:
“While I was going to the market with a friend in Beyazevler, a motorcycle rider saw us on our way back. He approached us from behind and harassed me by touching me. We called the police right after the incident. However, when we went to the police station to report our complaint, the police didn’t take us seriously and mocked us by saying, “There are always things like this in the Beyazevker; why are you walking there?” The police said they could not help nor find any footage from the security cameras. However, I searched and found the footage. So I called the police station again and asked them to examine the footage. However, the police waved me off by saying, “Nothing comes out of these; the man’s face and license plate are not visible.” Even in Beyazev, the most lively district of Adana, the student hub, we cannot walk comfortably. No one cares when something happens to us. They say it’s very typical. Under these conditions, where we are excluded from the streets and avenues, all women should fight for the roads they belong to, without fear, by demanding a safe living space for women.”
As conveyed in the experiences above, women have the same problems no matter where they live. There is a situation where the safety of women’s lives is not ensured, where women are placed inside the house in daily life in cultural coding, and as within the scope of the responsibility of domestic work, the “producer” character is wanted to be killed. It is a definite fact that everything mentioned manifests the system’s positioning of women. In fact, it is an objective reality that instead of giving women their rights, they constantly attack these rights. Against all these problems and conditions, it is clear that women’s liberation is not independent of the women next to them. In other words, the only thing that will overthrow this dark order will be women who do not hesitate to fight for the light.