Ministry plans to open men's shelter in İstanbul

If opened, the men's shelter will be a first in Turkey to be sponsored and run by the state.

Ministry plans to open men's shelter in İstanbul

World Bulletin / News Desk

Minister of Family and Social Policies Fatma Şahin has said her ministry is planning to open a shelter in İstanbul to accommodate men who are subjected to physical and psychological violence at the hands of their spouses.

“Such incidents [of men subjected to violence by their wives] are announced in the media from time to time. There are men who are subjected to violence. There are applications by men to our ministry and security forces for protection against domestic violence. We are planning to open a shelter in İstanbul that will welcome men who are subjected to violence by their wives,” announced Şahin on Sunday via a post on her Twitter account.

If opened, the men's shelter will be a first in Turkey to be sponsored and run by the state. There is one such shelter in Konya, opened by Şefkat-Der (Compassion Association). The shelter has so far accommodated 300 men.

In an earlier interview, Şefkat-Der head Hayrettin Bulan said men are subjected to psychological violence rather than physical violence at the hands of their wives, but there are also men who are beaten by their spouses. “Women encounter physical and men encounter psychological violence. There are also some among the men who have encountered physical violence, but this proportion is small in comparison to the number of women [who have encountered physical violence],” he said. Most of the men at the Sefkat-Der shelter left their spouses and came to the home as a result of ill treatment and psychological pressure.

The state-sponsored men's shelter in İstanbul will host 30 men, according to Şahin. “I am not only the minister for women. I am also the minister of men and children. It is my duty to protect and defend the rights of men and children as well as women,” she stated.

Asked why the new shelter will be based in İstanbul, the minister said most complaints from men come from İstanbul and this is why her ministry chose İstanbul as the location for the men's shelter. The shelter will not only accommodate men but it will also offer health and legal services to its guests.

According to the minister, the men's shelter will be protected by the police. Its location will be kept secret and photos that may reveal the location of the building will not be published in the media. The building will not be opened with an official ceremony so that its location will not be revealed. The building will have a garden so that its guests may enjoy in their free time, but it will not carry a sign to indicate that it accommodates men as a shelter. Its windows will have bars. The guests will have the opportunity to call the police if they feel themselves at risk.

The idea of opening a male shelter is not new. Şahin raised the issue in May of last year and said her ministry is evaluating complaints coming from men and is looking into possibilities to open a shelter for men who are subjected to violence by their wives. “There are serious applications coming to our ministry from men. We are assigned to protect men, as well. Men mostly complain of psychological violence. They complain that their wives do not allow them into their houses because they cannot find a job and look after their families. We [the ministry] have to evaluate all complaints and applications. If there is necessity, we may open a men's shelter, too,” she stated.

The issue of domestic violence, both physical and psychological, is a major problem in Turkey.

A recent survey has shown that both men and women are subject to violence, with the former group usually victim to psychological abuse and the latter to physical abuse. One woman is killed by her spouse almost every other day in Turkey. Thirty-nine percent of women in Turkey suffered from physical violence at some time in their lives, as stated in the UN Women report in 2011. In comparison, this figure was 22 percent in the US and between 3 to 35 percent in 20 European countries. Turkey has more cases of violence against women than the US and EU member countries; in fact, the only countries that exceed Turkey in the report are those of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2013, 17:58
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