Violence against women is one of the issues we have been working on since our foundation. It is very important for women to realize the violence in their lives, to be able to express the violence they have been exposed to, and to have the knowledge and space to find their own solutions against violence.
We work against violence against women in two ways that support each other: immediate response support in case of violence and information and empowerment activities for possible violence situations.
Immediate response support against violence starts with the woman contacting us about a problem or need. There are different ways to this. Women reach us mostly through our free consultation line, which can be reached every weekday. We established the Mavi Kalem Consultation Line during the Covid-19 pandemic, to be accessible to women who could not come to our offices and to gather all our counseling and support services in a single line. The woman calling the consultation line sometimes tells about the violence she has experienced, and sometimes we determine the violence situation through questions during the preliminary interview. After the preliminary interview, the woman who is subjected to violence is directed to the case team. The case officer conducts an in-depth interview with the woman, understands her needs better and informs her about her rights against violence and how she can use these rights. Depending on the woman’s preference, she directs her to our psychological counseling services or continues to provide counseling and guidance services so that a legal process can be initiated. At this point, women’s living conditions and how she wants to deal with violence lead the process. In cases where a legal process including steps such as issuing a suspension order and settling in a women’s shelter is initiated, counseling is provided outside of working hours if needed.
Another way we can provide immediate support in case of violence is when the women participating in our activities tell about the violence they are subjected to during or after the activity. We work to ensure that all activities where we come together with women are safe spaces where violence can be noticed and talked about.
The other part of the work we carry out against violence against women is the information and empowerment activities for possible violence situations.
Throughout 2022, we held many activities such as information meetings with women about gender-based violence, Women Write Beautiful Stories implementations, meetings on violence against women where we use the method of story writing, and common life meetings where we create messages against violence. With these activities, we aim to enable women to talk about an existing violence situation, and we also talk about what violence is, what rights they have in case of violence and how they can use these rights. We are trying to create an information and sharing space where every woman participating in our events can produce her own solution against violence.
Since our establishment, we have given importance to develop new methods by thinking from different perspectives in the fields we have been working in. We have developed different implementations on violence against women with this approach. Some of these activities are the Girls’ Empowerment Program that we have been implementing with girls aged 12-17 since 2015, the Male Participation for Women’s Empowerment Workshop Series and the Gender-Based Violence Awareness Meetings that we implement with adult men. We aim to increase the awareness of people participating in these activities about gender-based violence and the different behavioral options they have in situations of violence they have experienced or witnessed.
In addition, we support the transfer of knowledge from woman to woman, thanks to the voluntary networks of women participating in our work. Women sharing the knowledge about violence that they have gained from their own experiences and our activities, and about how they use this knowledge is a very valuable part of working against violence against women.