Although our association was officially founded in the summer of 2014, we have advanced and expanded in our struggle against sexual violence since 2009 through our initiatives and regular meetings as activists of Women’s Platform Against Sexual Violence (CŞKKP). CŞKKP came a long way throughout the years. As agents of struggle against sexual violence, the spark created by women who were exposed to rape* opened a “discussion” about all the taboo aspects of sexual violence as women in the feminist movement started opening up on the subject. A closed initiative paved the way to awareness and visibility projects by deciphering forensic medicine reports and injustice towards survivors of sexual violence, building up women’s solidarity by keeping track of lawsuits, search for solutions, draft law projects and rape crisis centers that we demanded in the GNAT (The Grand National Assembly of Turkey).
We also developed new needs in the course of our projects that draw from these and our individual experiences; the need for becoming an association that includes LGBTIQA+ individuals and all living creatures exposed to sexual violence, focuses on sexual and gender-based violence among all and questions and transforms at the most basic concepts before all else.
The Association for Struggle Against Sexual Violence (CŞMD) emerged as a result of the gender binarism constricting our life and our space for struggle, the gender practices we are forced to live through, the need to stand up against the stereotypical perception of sexual violence in collective memory and to have a space for our bodies, words, sexuality and our silenced voice and fury as survivors of sexual violence.
We are trans and non-trans women, trans men and gender non-conforming individuals of various sexual orientations, questioning the gender binarism and actively participating in the feminist, LGBTİQA+, ecological and animal liberation movements and children and immigrant rights organizations and platforms. As an anti-hierarchical organization, we defend queer imagination, feminisms, solidarity and collective production.
Why are we queer and feminist?
We are aware that sexual violence is a systematical oppression of women in the whole world found in all layers of society from the legal system to the streets. Without forgetting or discarding the reality of this, we also see through our own experience that everyone can be exposed to sexual violence. We recognize and experience the masculinity that silences men, the corrective rapes performed on lesbians, trans people threatened by all kinds of violence, bisexuals who are accused of being indecisive, the invisible asexuals, gay men punished for their betrayal to masculinity, intersex people whose bodies are violated as soon as they are born, young people who are bullied because they do not conform to binary gender norms and all other forms of sexual violence used to control bodies. Our objective is to fight all forms of sexual violence in different appearances without forming any hierarchy among them, for we know that these different experiences are caused by the same authoritative source feeding on the patriarchy, public moral, gender binarism, racism, nationalism and similar mechanisms of power. Therefore we embrace a queer and feminist standpoint in our methods which makes both similar and different areas of struggle accessible.
Association for Struggle Against Sexual Violence’s Approach to Sexualized Violence
- Rather than a mercifying, victimizing, judging, embarrassing social language; it embraces and advocates for an empowering, solidarity promoting and rights-based language and approach, while addressing the survivors of sexual violence. It combats the social perception blaming the survivor of violence and acquitting the perpetrator.
- It works to make the forms of sexual violence that are less visible in society, to be visible and does not establish hierarchy between different forms of sexual violence.
- It adopts the idea that each individual may be the subject or the survivor of violence. It does not use a language that marginalizes or alienates sexual violence; it does not polarize persons as “we” and “they”.
- It emphasizes the importance of individual transformation in the combat against sexual violence and advocates for “Change Starts with Me”.
- CŞMD does not aestheticize violence, does not reproduce it, it avoids consuming it.
* We do not describe people who were exposed to harassment, rape or abuse as victims. Instead of “rape victim” we use definitions such as “survivor of sexual violence” or “survivor”. Since these definitions are not widely used in Turkish yet, we wanted to explain that they will be used in all texts regarding our association.