My Letter to Özgecan

Violence against women has never really gone away. It remains a huge global issue that we all struggle with. Here in Jamaica, administrators, staff and students on our major university campus are currently seeking solutions after a brutal attack on a female student. At least ten women have been murdered this year already – several of them by former or current partners.
A fellow blogger who lived in Turkey for some years shared this eloquently written piece by another blogger who lives there. The case she refers to has sparked furious protests across the country, by men and women, as well as in social media. Özgecan Arslan, a 22-year-old psychology student, was kidnapped by a bus driver, who has confessed to her murder. As she fought off her attacker who attempted rape, she was stabbed, hit on the head with an iron bar and her burned body was found two days later in a riverbed. Turkey has its own concerns; according to government figures, the number of women murdered increased by 1,400 per cent between 2002 – 2008. In 2013, according to Al Jazeera, an estimated 28,000 women were assaulted.
Let us never lose our sense of outrage at this scourge of gender-based violence. As in Turkey, men and women of all ages must come together to make their voices heard. Enough is enough.


I never had the pleasure of meeting you Özgecan.  I never had the chance to hear you laugh with your friends or sing along to your favorite tune.  No I did not know you at all but I know you now.  Your name will forever be etched into my heart and into the hearts of millions of others here in Turkey and around the world who woke on Valentine’s Day, the day of romance, to the sickening news of your death at the hands of a monster.  We are shocked beyond words hearing of your suffering and of knowing that the simple task of stepping on a bus is no longer safe here in Mersin.


What happened to you happens to other women every day, all over the world.  Whether it is in New Delhi or Melbourne monsters can be found everywhere.  But with your death comes the news that tens of thousands…

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