Turkey to Reintroduce Controversial ‘Marry-Your-Rapist’ Bill

A second attempt at a law allowing men accused of abusing and sexually exploiting underage girls to avoid punishment by marrying their victims, is set to be introduced in the Turkish Parliament, according to a report in The Guardian.

This is the second attempt by the ruling party of Turkey, after an attempt was made in 2016 to pass what was termed the ‘Marry-your-rapist’ bill was defeated after global outrage.

The proposal by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has sparked an outcry with critics accusing the proposal of legitimising rape, child marriages and casualising sexual exploitation and child abuse.

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Turkey has been subjected to continuous scrutiny for its proposed marriage laws and alleged child marriages. According to a Hurriyet report published in 2018, an estimated 4,82,908 child marriages took place in the country over the last ten years, despite the fact that the legal age of consent is 18 in Turkey. Moreover, in 2017, around 21,957 pregnancies were recorded among underage girls.

Marriage Rape Exoneration Laws Repealed by Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon

As reported by The Guardian, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the proposal has been wedded to the idea of solving the child marriage problem.

In 2014, Erdoğan in Istanbul while delivering a speech had said that women and men cannot be in equal positions due to their nature. Equality among men and women is, therefore, against nature, in his view. A campaign group called We Will Stop Femicide estimates 2,600 women were murdered by a partner or a family member in the country in the previous years and there is still a continuous rise.

As specified in The Guardian report, UN data records that physical or sexual abuse have been suffered by 38 percent of Turkish women at the hands of their partner.

Globally, several Latin American countries, the Philippines, and Tajikistan are among countries that retain such laws. While countries like Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon have reformed and revoked their Marry-your-rapist clauses, Turkey, on the other hand, is moving towards the opposite spectrum.

Turkey abolished its original marriage-rape exoneration laws in 2005. The bill which is being reintroduced in the Parliament will once again give amnesty to rapists to marry their victims.

In 2017, the Turkish government also approved a law that allows Islamic muftis and other religious civil servants to conduct civil marriages leading to child marriages in what was viewed as an attack on secularism.

‘Beyond Depressing’: Twitter on ‘Marry-Your-Rapist’ Bill

Following the news of the proposal, here is how people on Twitter reacted:

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