The real reason being #challenge accepted
It seems like a good excuse to put up a good black and white picture, brownie points to you for empowering women all over the world. Turns out, this time the social media did not lose the sight of the real reason. Instagram’s “challenge accepted” trend has gone from harmless to tone-deaf and back again more than a few times this week. On one hand we have women posting glamour shots on their feeds to support women, while others are using this opportunity to highlight brutal crimes against women to bring awareness in their countries.
Since these challenges are modern day chain mails (You will get 10 years of bad luck if you don’t forward this message), the motive behind this challenge was a mystery when a few posts surfaced. This “challenge” has been used in 2016, to raise awareness for cancer and since then it has been used on and off to spread positivity. The trend gained momentum very fast because it tapped into the algorithm which was already familiar with the hashtag.
It started in Brazil, but now it’s for turkey
The earliest post connected to this “challenge” was on June 17, 2020 from a Brazilian journalist, Ana Paula Padrao. Turns out it was women empowerment all along. The hashtag owns more than 4.5+ posts now. But either way it has raised awareness. Even if the challenge didn’t originate as a plea for justice for the Turkish women killed in the country this year, it’s raised global awareness of violence against women there.
Recently, the killing of 27-year-old university student Pinar Gültekin, for which her ex-boyfriend was arrested, mobilized hundreds of Turkish women to protest violence against women perpetrated by men. Domestic violence surged during the lockdown, when everyone was encouraged to stay at home. The same concern troubled turkey as well. In June, 27 females were killed according to “we will stop femicide platform.” This group took up reporting the killing of women when the Turkish government stopped counting them in 2009.
What happens in turkey goes around the world
Almost 474 women were murdered in 2019, turkey most of them by current or former partners, family members, or unrelated males who wanted a relationship with them. Turkey was the first country to ratify a 2011 Council of Europe accord, named the Istanbul Convention, on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Turkey also adopted a law in 2012 to prevent violence against women.
However, the number of murdered women has more than doubled since then, with rights groups blaming the trend on the government’s failure to implement the convention and laws. A conservative section within Turkish media and social groups has been lobbying for Ankara to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, arguing it has a negative influence on Turkish family values.
As news of her killing spread, Turkish women began posting black-and-white photos online as a sign of solidarity with Gultekin and other victims. News claimed that, Turkish people wake up every day to see a black-and-white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens. Other women said they feared they could be next.
Iran is no different
These protests struck a chord with women in neighbouring Iran, still reeling from recent “honor killings.”
Under Iranian law, if the guardian of the victim forgives the murderer, he or she will not be executed. But as the legal system — which is based in Sharia law — considers fathers and grandfathers to be guardians of their children and grandchildren, they will not be severely punished if they kill their own children. The backlash to the recent femicides in Iran has pushed the government to accelerate the process of preparing a new bill for parliament to protect women against gender-based violence. Yet according to a draft of the new bill published by Tasnim News Agency in September 2019, a murderer will be sentenced to five to 10 years imprisonment if they are a guardian of the victim. The minimum imprisonment will be only two years longer than the current punishment.
In both Turkey and Iran, women are fighting to win more legal rights to protect themselves against gender-based violence.