Share your story: Why the murder of Özcegan Aslan proves there is still a long way to go.

How many more times is this going to happen before things start to change? Thankfully it isn’t now as prevalent in the UK but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about it when it does happen abroad, so here I go.

For anyone not aware, a week ago today, a young woman named Özcegan Aslan was killed as she attempted to fight off a rapist in the province of Mersin in Turkey. She was the last person left on the bus on which she was travelling, and this despicable human being (he is lucky I deign to call him that) has taken this as an opportunity to rape, and then to kill, a young woman whose whole life lay ahead of her. And for what? Dominance? A feeling of power? Sexual satisfaction? None of these even begin to qualify as an excuse, let alone a viable reason.

Turkey has had a troubled history of gender equality, with it only really being tentatively approached in very recent memory. Their politicians send mixed signals about it, and often attempt to reinforce gender differences in their speeches. Thankfully, however, the country’s attitude appears to be shifting with the younger generation. There was a mass protest in Turkey last weekend, and people shared their many disturbing stories of abuse and times when they felt in danger.

This, this is why feminism remains so important. This is why getting caught up in arguments in the logistics of feminism is relatively trivial, and why caricaturing feminists as feminazis is beyond unhelpful. While people still see women as property that can still be taken as they please and women all over the world have to live in fear and take extra precautions to travel home with a companion, the movement has a long way to go. This is no longer the struggle of individual countries, but one that the world has to face up to, and quickly.

There is an ideological shift that must occur. Misogynists out there need to come to the realisation that no human should hold dominion over another’s life in this manner, whether that be their wife, their girlfriend, or a perfect stranger. We are all human and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and seen as equals.

To those that treat others as inferior I say this. How dare you? You are nothing more than sexually repressed, amoral creatures with a superiority delusion. Nobody has the right to take what they please, when they please, and no, there is no debate about this, there is no situation where that is justifiable. To kill a young woman for daring to defend herself against the most brutal and vile attack shows nothing but moral destitution, and I hope you realise this and grieve for your actions for the rest of your life. It is nothing short of barbaric.

I hope not to be forced to write about this sort of thing ever again, but we must not let the suffering that some are put through by those morally bankrupt criminals pass us by.

Every survivor must be cherished, their recovery aided, and their examples used to show the world that, sadly, this is still a problem that needs to be addressed, and urgently at that. As long as women are not equal to men in even the simplest of ways, society cannot begin to move forward. This is, in my view, the most important basis of advanced society, the more equality between the sexes, the farther forward we can move as a species. Let’s get the basics right, and start with women not being seen as property, not an item that can be treated with disdain and tossed away. That’s when we can talk about specifics, but for now, can we just get that right?

Unfortunately, this has been a somewhat hurried reaction to a very serious topic, as I have been away from newspapers travelling around, but I just felt I had to get my thoughts out there. Obviously it is a gross simplification and an emotional response, but I hope you will forgive me for that. Please do feel free to share your opinions on the matter below if you are interested.

Özcegan Aslan, may you rest in peace, and we can only hope that your horrific suffering may help us raise awareness and thus create a better world. Possibly a naïve way of looking at it on my part, but I can only hope so as not to weep.

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