New law on sexual crimes in Turkey

Women’s associations in Turkey are fighting a new law which looks like it will result in reduced sentences for criminals:

The platform underlined seven main objections regarding the law:

–    The draft law contains new arrangements providing “reduced sentences” for violence during rape and sexual abuse.

–    It lacks a legal provision that could prevent the reduction of sentences on the grounds that a victim may have allegedly “provoked” her assailant.

–    It also lacks a provision that will consider the testimonies of the victims as fundamental and ascribes the obligation of proving the contrary to the assailant.

–    It limits the time for filing a complaint to a barely six months after the attack.

–    The draft law also accentuates the risk of harsher sentences for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 engaging in consensual sexual intercourse.

–    It brings a separation between “attack” and “abuse” in cases of sexual crimes against children, which leads to potential reduction of sentences.

–    It also mentions the possibility of a “cure” for assailants, which constitutes according to the platform an attempt to define sexual crimes as a disease, rather than a crime.

This should be read in the context of a large increase in reported sex crimes in Turkey over the last nine years:

Some 32,988 files were reportedly opened on sex crime charges in 2011, while the number of files was just 8,146 in 2002.

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