Activity by KASAUM: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Women’s Studies Center of our University, KASAUM organized a Conference on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 23 and brought students and academicians together in an important activity. The participants who are expert in their field came together, in the conference organized on the concept of gender and violence against women within the scope of 20th Anniversary of our University. Women’s and children’s rightist Att. Feyza Altun, and Gender Specialist Zeliha Unaldi delivered a speech in the conference organized as the first step of the activities of KASAUM. Chairperson of KASAUM, Assoc. Prof. Gul Gunes made the opening speech of the conference. Att. Feyza Altun gave information about the perception of gender and shared her memories with the participants. She also mentioned the gender discrimination that particularly women, children and LGBTIs encounter in social life and emphasized the importance of raising awareness to give a reaction to the discrimination. Zeliha Unaldi put an emphasis on the importance of international cooperation and studies on the violence against women and drew attention to the fact violence arises from gender inequality:  “If the violence against women is an epidemic, inequality is its infection”.

While sharing her own memories, Att. Feyza Altun indicated that her father had an important role in the birth of her book “Kadının Fenni”. Having indicated that her father's patriarchal attitude in the family led her to struggle for the rights of all the women of the world above all, Ms. Altun emphasized that “a person is a person” and families play an active role under the skin of women rights violations in Turkey today and if even one person becomes conscious about this issue it will affect the society with domino effect and help the society become conscious in time. Stating that activist movements create the biggest effect in raising women’s awareness in this issue, Ms. Altun said “the important thing is to initiate consciousness raising movements in order to break down the prejudices built in family, school, workplace and society and let them break their shell”. She said that judicial decisions affect the perception of society to a large extent when asked by participants. She emphasized the importance of reacting to preparation of legitimate ground to violence by judicial decisions. Ms. Altun reminded the withdrawal of the motion tabled by the members of ruling party’s, after the reaction of the society and emphasized the fact that individuals created a social movement by taking strength from each other: “a person is a person and a person is everyone, in fact”.

The other guest of the conference, Zeliha Unaldi, UN Gender Equality Specialist shared the story leading her to specialization in this field. Ms. Unaldi mentioned her struggle against her environment claiming that living all alone as a woman in another city is difficult and she would be more comfortable in a big city like Ankara, if she got married. She also put an emphasis on the effect of family on raising awareness in gender equality. She indicated that her story started with the conscious attitude of her father trusting and supporting her to the end and objecting to the marriage advices given to her. Ms. Unaldi also stated that UN has a large number of sub-units acting within the scope of women’s rights and issues, and gender inequality lies behind every problem of women and the women’s rights have arisen from equality. She indicated that women do not expect positive discrimination or primacy and they only struggle for equality. She also said that there is much progress to be made while the effect of women in politics is very inadequate yet; however United Nations work quite effectively in order to create solutions. Zeliha Unaldi shared the content of the campaign “Paint the World Orange”. The global movement “Paint the World Orange: End the Violence against Women and Girls” has been launched under the leadership of UN Women on behalf of “UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign” by the General Secretary of United Nations. Orange representing a brighter future for women without violence was chosen for the campaign. Activities are organized all around the world during 16-day activism. The campaign will end on December 10 Human Rights Day.

The conference ended after Q&A section and the presentation of plaques to our guests. Afterwards, Att. Feyza Altun signed her book “Kadının Fenn” for the participants. Besides the conference, Atilim University Women’s Rights Community and KASAUM gave presents to participants about gender equality in Kadriye Zaim Library and the importance of raising awareness in this issue was reminded with one to one-to-one dialogs. Participants showed great interest to the foyer area where a cartoon exhibition took place.