Two Businessmen Jailed For Raping and Murdering Colleague

 

A Turkish court on Wednesday jailed two men for raping and murdering a colleague in a case which became a rallying cry for in the campaign to end violence against women.

Wealthy businessman Cagatay Aksu was sentenced to life for the murder and sexual assault in May 2018 of 23-year-old Sule Cet, state news agency Anadolu reported.

His colleague Berk Akand was sentenced to 18 years and nine months for assisting in the crimes, the agency said.

The case sparked anger across Turkish society after the men claimed the university student committed suicide by throwing herself from the 20th floor of a building in Ankara.

There was also an attempt to suggest Sule was somehow to blame because she drank alcohol, and there was uproar at a hearing earlier this year when the defence lawyers speculated over Sule’s virginity.

At another hearing, Aksu reportedly told Sule’s father: “If only you’d looked after your daughter,” widely seen as criticism of his parenting.

“Femicides” have become a major issue in Turkey, where conservative attitudes still dominate in much of the country, with daily reports of gruesome murders of women, most often at the hands of current or former partners.

The “We Will Stop Femicides Platform”, a rights group, says 39 women were killed by men in November alone. The figure was as high as 53 in September.

While the government acknowledges the issue of violence against women, critics say not enough is being done to provide shelters and to address the broader problem of gender inequality which permeates society.

When women gathered to protest against the violence in Istanbul last month, they were teargassed by police.

Turkey ratified the 2011 Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic violence, but in some cases, defendants are still able to receive reduced sentences if they claim provocation or because of “good behaviour” in custody.

 

AFP

South African Protesters Demand Crackdown On Femicide

 

With placards stating “enough is enough”, hundreds of protesters marched in Johannesburg on Friday to protest at gender-based violence in one of the world’s most crime-ridden countries.

Demonstrations in South Africa have been mounting over the rising toll of murders, rapes and abuse of women and girls, and a sense of impunity and government failure that surrounds it.

“I deal with kids coming through my door complaining about rape,” said Tshego Modisane, a 27-year-old teacher from the township of Soweto.

“They say ‘I have been raped by my uncle, violated by my dad, my step-dad,'” she told AFP, clutching a sign that read “YES #menaretrash”.

“All these kids are vulnerable girls who have nowhere else to go.”

Police crime figures released on Thursday showed that sexual offences including rape rose 4.6 per cent over a year.

More than 40,000 incidents of rape were reported to the police between April 2018 and March 2019 – a figure likely to be far short of the true numbers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed to review laws and crackdown on perpetrators last week, after hundreds of women assembled on the sidelines of an economic summit in Cape Town to draw attention to the issue.

But frustrated by the pace of change, some 500 demonstrators – mainly women – gathered again in Johannesburg to demand “action not words”.

“It will not be business as usual,” they chanted, as police watched on the sidelines.

“The law just has to be stricter. There should be no bail for rapists, it’s ridiculous,” said Natalie Pool, 36, adding that she remained sceptical about Ramaphosa’s promises.

 

‘Hush Culture’

Blood-stained sheets and clothing were laid out in front of Johannesburg’s stock exchange in Sandton – one of the city’s most affluent areas – to call for more support from businesses and banks.

“Dear private sector, your silence is uncomfortable,” an organiser shouted into a megaphone, before inviting participants to observe a moment of silence for the latest victims.

South Africans have recently been shocked by the separate murders of three young women.

A 19-year old university student and a 14-year old schoolgirl were killed in Cape Town earlier this month – the former raped and beaten to death on her way to a post office.

 

Boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels, 25, was allegedly shot dead by her partner, who was a police officer, last month.

Their stories triggered outcry and soul-searching in a country that often appears numb to murder and sexual violence.

“There was a whole lot of hush culture when it came to abuse, particularly around gender-based violence and sexual issues,” Eden Bohulu, 22, told AFP at the protest.

“These issues have always existed but I think it’s only now that we’ve decided to fight.”

Siboso Mohlwayo was among the minority of men attending the event.

A young astronomy student, he was protesting in support of his sister, now in high school, who was sexually assaulted as a child.

He was disappointed by the male turnout.

“All of them should have come out as it’s their responsibility as humans to fight,” he said, the word “Amandla” – Zulu for “power” – printed on his T-shirt.

Their absence, he said, “shows how much disappointment we can expect from our own nation.”

Femicide Should Be Treated As National Crisis – South Africans

South African men have led a march to protest violence against women and confront men with the reality that they too must fight for women’s rights.

Hundreds marched through the capital, Pretoria to express their anger at rising cases of attacks on women and children.

“Men are providers; men are protectors of our families. We need to be man-enough. Enough is enough!” said protester, Floyd Cingca.

“It is time that we act. Stop tweeting, stop facebook-ing and go to the streets.

That’s where the problem is. It’s time that you and I come together and take action,” Kholofelo Masha, one of the organisers of the march.

One in five South African women older than 18 experience gender-based violence, a 2016 Statistics South Africa’s Demographic and Health Survey showed.

The report also found that four in 10 divorced or separated women reported physical violence by a partner, as well as one in three women in the poorest households.

These statistics have raised concern among gender rights groups that the government of South Africa is doing little to address what activists have called “a war against women”.

“We are dying… our humanity is taken away without even our consent, our bodies are violated that is what is happening so we are here to just pledge, we are here to display solidarity for the ones that we have lost already and to actually ensure safety in the communities, to beg for security from the law of South Africa because the justice system of South Africa, it keeps on failing us all the time. So we are begging for this issue to actually be concluded as a national state of emergency.

About two weeks ago, South Africa was rocked by the news of the brutal murder of 22-year-old, Karabo Mokoena. Her burnt body was found in a field in north Johannesburg, a day after she went missing. Her 27-year-old boyfriend has been charged with the murder.

Karabo’s death sparked outrage and discussion as women on social media shared their personal stories of physical abuse at the hands of men.

Her uncle, Tshepo Mokoena says Karabo’s family even in grieving, hoped her death would help to end the violence against women and force authorities to act.

“Her death came to me and brought a lot of pain into my heart. But the flipside of it, it has awakened the whole world. It has brought some bit of drop into killing. Even other men who were about to do it – I’m sure once they look at the news; they look at how women are angry and how the whole world is angry. Then I’m sure they would come to their senses and said, ‘you know what, maybe let me not do it,” he said.

“The biggest challenge in our country, is that we talk, talk, talkā€¦ and nothing happens. And six months down the line, what happens; there’s another man who kills a woman, there’s another man who assault a woman. So now, what we must do as men, we must stand up and go to government, and start changing certain laws,” he added.

“Whether we need to introduce more harsher laws or change the laws – this I think we must discuss. It’s a crisis in the country, the manner in which women and children are being killed,” South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said as he visited the family of a three-year old girl who was raped and killed last week.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime and has long been known as the “rape capital of the world”.

Women’s rights campaigner, Nondumiso Nsibande says the government and society at large are dangerously complacent towards sexual violence and gender based violence that some men are not ashamed to admit to it.

“A part of this could also be the way we’ve been socialized. Often time’s men are socialized to behave in a particular way. Men are strong; men are protectors; men should not be in touch with their emotions and all of that. And often times we find that it could actually lead to the situation where they express their anger and frustration by beating women and it’s not something that’s acceptable,” she said.

Activists are pushing for a clear plan on how violence against women can be addressed by government authorities, civil society and the private sector and urge every South African to take on the responsibility to uphold the safety of women and children.