Stalking is Violence!

This year, KADEM addresses “Stalking”

in the week of November 25

to raise public awareness of violence against women.

The Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) said “Stalking is a form of violence and a crime” with the campaign developed for the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’.

 The campaign with the slogan “Hold on to the Law” reminds us that “Stalking” is criminalized this year with the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237 and laws stand by the victim also in stalking cases.

The Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) developed a new campaign to raise awareness of violence against women that continues to exist all over the world.

The theme of the campaign commenced during the week also covering November 25 the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” is “stalking”.

The association started the campaign with a public service announcement (PSA) within the scope of mandatory airing as in previous years. In the PSA which conveys the message “Stalking is a form of violence and a crime”, it is reminded that stalking has been defined as a crime in the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237 earlier this year, and the campaign aims to raise awareness of this issue in the society.

Perpetrators are reminded that they commit a crime while stalking.

Victims are assured with the slogan “Hold on to the Law” that laws stand by them when they are stalked.

The press launch of the campaign, which includes field and social media activities in addition to the PSA, took place at KADEM’s Women’s Support Center in Edirnekapı, İstanbul. The first screening of the PSA produced in cooperation with the Ministry of Family and included in the scope of mandatory airing was made at the launch event attended by KADEM Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar, KADEM President of the Board of Directors Saliha Okur Gümrükçüoğlu, and members of the board of directors.

Through the use of a phone screen and the glass barrier that symbolizes this screen, the 45-second ad demonstrates the feeling of being stuck and terrified from the perspective of a young woman who is stalked in real life and digital world. The wounds inflicted on the emotions of the young woman by the incoming messages and calls (stalking) are symbolized by cracks in the glass.

Breaking the glass, the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237, which considers stalking a crime, gives the message “Hold on to the Law”.

Please use the link to watch the ad:

Speaking at the campaign launch, KADEM Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar reminded that violence against women is a common problem across the world and stated that advocacy is one of the most important fields of activity of KADEM.

Mentioning the details of the campaign, Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar said, “Through our public service ad and social media content, we want to draw attention to the fact that stalking is a violation of rights and a form of violence and to make everyone know that stalking is a crime pursuant to the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237. We know that especially in recent years, women have faced stalking both physically and digitally, over the phone and on social media. Whatever the means, stalking is an act that frightens, unsettles, and suppresses women, disturbs their peace and tranquility, and causes them to be concerned about their security. We should also not overlook the fact that any act of stalking has the potential to turn into physical violence.”

Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar also addressed the solution to violence. She called on everyone to share this social responsibility by saying, “We cannot solve this problem only through laws, legal arrangements, and punishments. Violence against women is an issue that first of all requires everyone to adopt a humanitarian, moral, and conscientious approach… As a society, we have responsibilities in terms of tackling violence, educating ourselves, and taking steps that will ensure the transformation of the mindset underlying violence. We believe every single individual in society is responsible for fighting against violence and therefore invite everyone to take on this responsibility for the sake of relationships where women’s dignity is preserved and love and mercy rule, safe families, and healthy generations. We will overcome this affront to humanity with social awareness, legal arrangements, deterrent punishments, cooperation between the state and civil society, and, most importantly, support and contribution of all men and women.”

This year’s campaign by KADEM will include social media and field activities besides the PSA broadcast within the scope of mandatory airing. In the field, billboards and digital screens across the country will be utilized for campaign visuals; grab handles in public transportation particularly in İstanbul will be used to give the message “Hold on to the Law”. Young volunteers of KADEM will also take to the streets with gas balloons reminding the importance of the law.

Stalking as a Crime in Türkiye

A form of violence against women, “stalking” was added to the Turkish Criminal Code no. 5237 as a new type of crime on the date of May 27, 2022. In order for stalking to constitute a crime as per the law, any one of the following actions should take place:

  • Stalking someone physically,
  • Insistently trying to contact someone by using information systems, correspondence or communication devices, or third persons.

If stalking seriously disturbs the victim’s peace, the victim can easily file a suit against the perpetrator.

The person who commits the crime of stalking is sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months to 2 years, depending on the nature of the crime. The punishment can be increased by 1-3 years if this crime is committed against a child or a spouse who is divorced from the perpetrator or for whom a separation decision is taken, or it causes the victim to leave her/his school, workplace, residence, or it is committed by a perpetrator for whom there is a restraining order.

Previous November 25 Campaigns by KADEM

Every year on November 25 the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women”, KADEM organizes campaigns to raise awareness of violence that continues to exist all over the world. Asserting that “violence against women which is a human rights violation is a common problem of all communities regardless of language, religion, race, class, and gender”, KADEM moves toward its target of building a fair world where women can live with dignity through campaigns for creating social awareness beside advocacy and contribution to the scientific literature.

KADEM drew attention to this international issue by carrying out campaigns such as “No Room for Violence If You Are There”, “Don’t Be Blind to Violence”, “You Are Not Entitled to Violence” and “Love and Violence Can’t Coexist”.

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