“Women’s organization is the only way to prevent violence”
Academician Akdemir said that there is no other way to prevent violence other than the organization of women.
Nevra Akdemir, a member of Academics for Peace who was expelled from university through a governmental decree, said that women should believe and trust each other in order to become stronger. “Women should stay away from emotional manipulation. Self-defence is very important in an environment of violence where we live as if we were in a war.”
Akdemir spoke to ANF about the 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The academic stated that although there is a very long history of male-dominated violence, women's struggle for equal rights is not restricted to feminism which-she said- has emerged out of these struggles. She remarked that defining the types of violence against women and creating a legal order based on equal rights are still among the primary issues of feminism.
“The usurpation of women's labour force, the exploitation and subordination of women's bodies have a history that dates back to pre-capitalist modes of production. Capitalism creates capital accumulation cycles through similar oppressive relations. If there were equality between men and women, the mode of production would be very different from its current form. We can say that capitalism has permeated into this whole set of relations, that is, capitalism itself has been built on the patriarchal system, and systematic exploitation, including production of surplus value and invisible domestic labour of women is related to this inequality,” Akdemir said.
A SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE
Although half of society consists of women, violence continues, Akdemir said and pointed to the normals that rely on heteronormative (a woman and man establishing a permanent union to have children for the continuation of the species) family ideology. “For example, based on the concepts of 'love' and 'devotion', women are given the task of making those around them happy and taking care of them within the framework of this 'normal'. Whenever a woman defends her own labour force and wants to make a decision about her own life, in short, whenever she wants to be a subject, she is reminded of love and sacrifice, and "violence" emerges. This violence may not be just physical, for we see a spiral of violence which includes psychological violence.”
EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN'S LABOR
Akdemir remarked that women work mostly in the education and health sectors since they are assumed to have a natural predisposition and abilities. She noted that domestic workers are mostly women, and they receive lower salaries even if they do the same job. “Even in Germany, 70% of part-time jobs are done by women. Women get fewer retirement benefits than men. Unfortunately, women become dependent on men due to unpaid domestic work and caring activities. The fact that women's labour force is paid in the market and women have professions is something that empowers them under these conditions, but it should not be forgotten that they exist unequally and precariously in the labour market, and they might be exposed to violence there too,” she said.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE IS A STATE APPARATUS
Akdemir said that militarism in the Kurdish region, consisting of those who rely on the state power and know that they will not be prosecuted even if they commit a crime, illustrates another feature of male power. She added that harassment, sexual abuse, rape, that is, sexual violence against women is frequently witnessed in Kurdistan as a means of putting pressure against women.
The academic emphasized that sexual violence against women in conflict areas is always used as the state's disciplinary and obedience tools.
A COMPLEX SYSTEM
Akdemir pointed out that male dominance is not a system that can be understood from a single point of reference. “It is a complex system which includes emotional manipulation and sexual violence. Despite 5,000 years of exploitation, women have carried out tough struggles. Women manage to fight against the patriarchal capitalist system, and the struggle is gradually expanding. November 25 is a symbolic day for fighting male violence in a broad alliance. It is necessary to create a legal order against violence against women based on equal citizenship so that states of exception should not be introduced to target refugees and stateless people either. Regardless of the victim of violence, penal sanctions against perpetrators are also preventive. Violence against women has various dimensions. Women's struggle strives for equal citizenship and law because there is a need for constant struggle against the transformation of violence. Recognition of forms of violence is just as important as the recognition of rights. It limits man's so-called unconditional and innate right to use his 'right to bully', that is, to use power against women.
TO BE ORGANIZED IS THE ONLY SOLUTION
Akdemir emphasized that there is no solution other than to be organized to prevent violence against women. “No matter to what extent a woman is conscious or politically active, no one is safe in this system. Many consent mechanisms have been developed to discourage women from fighting for equal rights at all levels. Some women may even become perpetrators of violence. Since violence is political and structural, the fight against it cannot be carried out through a simple reversal. Women need a political struggle to fight against it. This struggle should strive for changing the structure, that is, the whole system, but also changing the person while transforming it. It is very important for women to empower each other and not feel alone in the fight against violence. They should first believe and trust each other to be empowered. Women should stay away from emotional manipulation. Self-defence is very important in an environment of violence where we live as if we were in a war. Women are strong together.”