Last year, in an effort to strengthen its application to the European Union, Turkey tightened its laws for punishment in honor killing cases. This has had an unforeseen effect on the country: an increase in honor suicides. In order to avoid long prison sentences and harsh punishments for men who commit honor killings, families are pressuring girls to take their own lives. The pressure can be created through verbal statements alone, or through locking the girl in a room with a gun, rope, or poison for days.
The article focuses on cases in the city of Batman, a town in the Southeast region of Turkey where every few weeks a young girl attempts suicide. Of the 165 suicides and suicide attempts in the city over the past six years, 102 of them have been by women. The United Nations sent a special envoy to the area to investigate the situation. The investigation concluded that not all of the suicides were authentic; some were honor killings in disguise.
Ka-Mer, a local women’s group, has become a resource for women whose lives are in danger. The organization has a hot line open to women, helps them find new housing, and aids in the process of applying for restraining orders to protect them from their threatening relatives.
Compiled from: “How to Avoid Honor Killing in Turkey? Honor Suicide.” New York Times 16 July 2006, accessed 18 July 2006.