Over the weekend, females gathered in Istanbul’s Maçka Democracy Park to protest against harassment other females have received for not dressing conservatively enough.

The Hürriyet Daily News reported:

Women shouted slogans, chanting, “Do not mess with my clothes, my shorts, my life” and “Women are powerful together.” People sitting in the park showed their support to the protest with applauses. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Selina Doğan also attended the protest.

The Incident That Sparked the Protest

Hürriyet Daily News also reported that an incident that occurred after a security guard confronted a woman at the park on Saturday:

The protest came after Çağla Köse, a 24-year-old designer, was subjected to verbal abuse by a security guard at the Maçka Democracy Park in the Şişli district on July 29.

Köse told daily Hürriyet that when she went to the park’s toilet at around 5 p.m., the park’s security chief, identified only as Savaş İ., told her, “You cannot wander around this way, you are disturbing people. There are families here.”

“I was in shock all of a sudden. I did not know what to say. I told him, ‘My clothes are none of your business, why are you looking?’ Afterwards, a man, whom I did not know, came and got involved in the argument with the security. He said, ‘Don’t mess with the girl, it is none of your business,’ to which the security personnel responded by saying, ‘In the event of a rape, you say who is going to protect [them],’” she added.

“Then young people there told him, ‘That is your perception. No one here looks at her that way.’ The discussion continued for a while and then calmed down. And I went back to the place where I was having picnic with my friend,” Köse said.

The Şişli Municipality released this statement:

“The reaction of a security personnel at Maçka Democracy Park, whose part of it is within our district’s boundaries but whose main responsibility belongs to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, against women’s outfits and the psychological pressure he showed is unacceptable. All colors have lived in Şişli for years, will continue to live arm-in-arm and respect lifestyles,” it said.

The Security Services Company fired the security guard.

The Protest

The women dubbed the march “Don’t Mess With My Outfit” and marched through the streets with clothes on hangers like shorts that “some men say they find unacceptable.” From ENCA:

“We took to the streets against rapes and sexual assaults in our country,” Nurcan Ucar one of the protesters said.

“We are talking. We will not remain silent and we don’t want to stop. We want to put an end to these incidents. Therefore I call on all women to take to the streets and I support them in defending themselves. Because if I stop talking, if she stops talking, everybody will stop talking and when it happens to us, we will ask, why didn’t we talk?”

Members of the LGBT community joined the march since authorities banned the gay pride parade in June.

The government has loosened the requirement of wearing a headscarf in Turkey, but many females have chosen to wear it and yes, men have even harassed them over their choice:

“Don’t meddle with my headscarf, shorts, outfits,” read posters held by participants.


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