In the wake of the gruesome murder of 20 year old Ozgecan Aslan, who was killed for fighting her rapist, the men of Turkey have taken to the streets wearing miniskirts, as a show of their solidarity and support for women’s rights in Turkey. In a chilling series of events that were eerily similar to the gruesome rape that took place in Delhi in December 2012, Ozgecan Aslan, a student, who was the last passenger on her bus home was brutally murdered by the driver who attempted to rape her, after which he disposed of her body.
Once news broke on 13th February, thousands of women in Turkey took to social media with the hashtags #OzgecanAslan and #sendeanlat (which in Turkish, means “tell your story”) to share their own tales of harassment. Over the next few days, the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy (meaning “wear a miniskirt for Ozgecan”) was born, with Turkish men posting photos of themselves wearing skirts. The hashtag went viral, after which men took their protest offline and marched in the busiest streets of Turkey wearing skirts.
The BBC reported that the Facebook Page for the cause states: “If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if [wearing] a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity, if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!"
What sets this protest apart is the fact that it has been led by men, and that is something that we wish would happen in India. Although a similar protest happened in Bangalore in 2013, when 25 men wearing skirts joined activists in Cubbon Park to protest against rape in India, we are yet to see a mass movement where men have taken up the cause for women’s safety and their rights! There is really only one active “male” social initiative in India in support of women’s rights - MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination), launched by actor-director Farhan Akhtar.
Today, with the increasing incidents of rape and abuse in India, women’s rights and safety are issues of more importance than ever, and the time has come for all of us (men included!) to stand up and fight for the equality that rightfully belongs to us.