Demonstrations have broken out in Turkey with thousands flooding the streets to protest the murder of a 20-year-old woman who was allegedly stabbed and beaten to death as she tried to defend herself against being raped.
Even more have taken to Twitter and other social media outlets to speak out against what many say is a culture in Turkey that breeds violence against women.
Authorities discovered the body of Ozgecan Aslan Friday outside the city of Tarsus after the student was reported missing two days earlier, according to a story from the Daily Mail. By Monday police had arrested 26-year-old minibus driver Ahmet Suphi Altindoken along with his 50-year-old father, Necmettin Altindoken, and a friend, Fatih Gokce, 20.
Reports from local media allege that Aslan was the last passenger on Altindoken’s bus Wednesday night when he tried to rape her. The woman reportedly tried to defend herself with pepper spray but the driver stabbed and beat her to death with a metal bar. According to local reports cited by The Guardian, Altindoken then enlisted his father and friend to help him hide the body.
Protests began as news of the story broke. Using the hashtag #sendeanlat, which means “tell your story,” women began sharing on social media their personal experiences with sexual harassment and violence against women.
Protesters reportedly took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, demonstrating against the violence.
President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife made a personal phone call to Aslan’s family on the day of her funeral to show their support, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The president made a speech Monday in Ankara acknowledging that violence against women is indeed a problem in the country’s patriarchal society. He promised justice in Aslan’s case.
“I will personally follow the case so that they will be given the heaviest penalty," he said. "I am already following the case. Violence against women is the bleeding wound of our country."