Last week, every other girl’s instagram story as well as WhatsApp status contained a black and white picture of her with a caption, “challenge accepted.”
This was in response to the rise in Gender Based Violence and femicide across the world, especially in Turkey, from where the challenge originated.Pinar Gultekin,a twenty seven year old woman, was found brutally murdered after missing for five days.
The authorities believe Pinar was killed by her ex boyfriend Cemel Metin Avci.Preliminary examinations confirmed that she was tortured before being strangled, her body was then put in a black plastic bag and dumped in a thicket from where she was found.
Black and white pictures of women in Turkey have been used to represent women who’ve been killed, the challenge being in response to Pinar’s as well as other women’s deaths, a way for women to stand in solidarity with those gone and raise awareness on what is happening.
It’s a way for them to be there for each other, to support each other in the real world as much as to show togetherness in the virtual world. To support women close to them, their mothers, their sisters,their girlfriends, those in abusive relationships, those facing GBV,those facing rape, those facing criticism, women being killed for being women.
However, the black and white challenge is not enough, activists and women support groups, as major and as noble as they are, are not enough. The law should be on women’s side, as should be society. There has been a 200 percent rise in gender based violence and women’s killings, yet the legislature has not enacted any law to protect women and punish perpetrators.
Let’s not teach our daughters to cower in fear at the sight of a man, to be utterly submissive. Such cultures are retrogressive and place them in peril as they don’t have the confidence to stand up for themselves.
Girls should be encouraged to be brave, to venture, to be all round, to be able to face challenges head on and most importantly, to not be afraid, or ashamed, to ask for help or to talk to someone.
This women’s month, as we encourage each other to sanitize and stay safe, let’s be there for each other. let’s not concentrate on fighting one war, the one against a raging virus but also that against women. We should fight gender based violence together.