01-Mar-2008 00:07:54
In many parts of the world, women still face the prospect of being murdered to protect family honour. An estimated 5,000 women are victims of so-called 'honour killings' every year. Turkey is trying to do something about it, but some traditions – no matter how violent - are hard to change. UNTV
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1. Wide shot, Turkish countryside
2. Wide shot, store construction
3. Med shot, armed man standing
4. Wide shot, herd on hillside
5. Close up, man shaping wooden stick with knife
6. Wide shot, woman sitting
7. Close up, grave being covered with dirt
8. Med shot, Fatima in her kitchen
9. Close up, tray with coffee being served
10. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Fatima, honour killing survivor:
"I was forced to marry when I was ten years old. I was treated very badly. I was beaten and tortured. I lived violence everyday. I tried to bear it. They took all my gold and tortured me. They sent my children to another village and locked me behind an iron door so I couldn't escape."
11. Close up, stone wall, locked door
12. Med shot, Fatima and friends
13. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Fatima, honour killing survivor:
"I am afraid to sleep at night. Someone could come and kill me and my children. Sometimes I sleep for only one hour a night. I am terrified of any noise."
14. Med shot, Fatima walking in her apartment
15. Wide shot, herdsman moving sheep through town
16. Wide shot, crowded streets in Istanbul
17. Wide shot, mosque
18. Wide shot, Istanbul by the sea
19. Wide shot, crowded Istanbul street
20. Med shot, men sitting in park bench
21. Wide shot, approaching tram
22. Med shot, men playing cards
23. Close up, man playing cards, lighting cigarette
24. Close up, killer
25. Close up, killer's eyes
26. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Killer:
"When my sister ran away with a man, I had to cleanse our family's honour. I decided to hunt them down. I found them hiding in his uncle's house. I had to kill them both to finish this problem. I killed them with a rifle and I don't regret it."
26. Wide shot, man in Mardin, sitting, talking to woman
27. Med shot, women sitting down
28. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Man in Mardin:
"In our tribal tradition, adultery is a very dangerous act. It is halal (or religiously acceptable) to kill these people in this region. They should be stoned for twenty-four hours in a public place. After that if they are still alive, they will be let to live. This is called rajm in the Quran"
28. Med shot, two women sitting by their computers at Women's Centre
29. Close up, woman answering phone
30. Med shot, three women working at Women's Centre
31. SOUNDBITE (English) Gulay, Kamer Women's Centre in worker:
"I started shaking. When I came home, I asked my mother: "What did you tell my father? Did he call us? What did you say?" I called him and said: "Father I am home. I was on the bus and I was late, I'm sorry." I was afraid he had seen me somewhere with by boyfriend and was going to kill me."
32. Med shot, Ferda Miran standing by bookshelves
33. Med shot, Gulay sitting with Ferda Miran at her office
34. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Ferda Miran, lawyer:
"People perceive issues such as honour as private and want to solve these problems within the family. They prefer to solve it themselves rather than appealing to an outside source. Crimes committed in the name of family honour are tolerated by society. They call it a cleansing of the family honour. It becomes a source of pride."
35. Wide shot, elderly man and woman arguing
36. Med shot, woman in cemetery
37. Med shot, bakers making bread
38. Wide shot, woman in cemetery
39. Close up, grave
40. Wide shot, Sacide walking in cemetery
41. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Sacide, Kamer Women's Centre worker:
"Family members attacked her when she was seven months pregnant. She had three operations at the hospital. Her skull was crushed. She survived for seven months. She resisted while the baby was alive. When her baby died, she lost the will to live."
42. Various photos, woman in hospital
43. Med shot, young woman dancing
44. Close up, woman locked at home
45. Med shot, two women sewing
46. Close up, women sewing
47. Close up, women's hands sewing
48. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Leyla, victim's relative:
"I felt devastated when my brother killed my pregnant sister. I visited her in hospital. The doctors let me see her. She was in intensive care, her arm in a cast, the skull bent inwards. What can one think at that moment? I felt angry, powerless. Two lives were lost. One was dead; the other was a living dead."
48. Wide shot, Gulay walking in front of stone construction
49. Wide shot, market
50. Med shot, women choosing fruit at market
51. Med shot, women choosing vegetables at market
52. Med shot, old man sitting down
53. SOUNDBITE (English) Gulay, Kamer Women's Centre in worker:
"We must show all the women that they are equal and they have rights. Nobody has the right to make decisions for them and for their daughters also. We must start with this and with time the social change will be done, I believe it. But it will take time."
54. Wide shot, mosque exterior
55. Wide shot, men outside mosque
56. Med shot, men outside mosque
57. Wide shot, children sitting at table, drawing
58. Med shot, children sitting at table, drawing
59. Med shot, children sitting at table, drawing
60. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Teacher
"Both boys and girls get into dialogue. Everyone has the right to talk. For example, both a boy and a girl become responsible for the kitchen and prepare the table for their friends."
61. Med shot, children playing with crayons
62. Med shot, children having lunch
63. SOUNDBITE (Turkish) Judge Seniph, father:
"The school is clean, organized and the teachers are involved. My daughter has been enrolled here for two years. I am very happy with her development. She has become confident and self-assured."
64. Med shot, girls dancing
In many parts of the world, women still face the prospect of being murdered to protect family honour. It's estimated that as many as 5,000 women are victims of so-called 'honour killings' every year. Turkey is trying to do something about it, but some traditions – no matter how violent - are hard to change.

This old Turkish village lies in the province of Diyarbakir in the south east of the country. It seems idyllic, but behind its beauty lies a dark secret. In this conservative part of Turkey, women are sometimes killed by their own relatives for the sake of honour. The merest suspicion of improper behaviour can seal their fate. For survivors of attacks, it's a harrowing experience.

Fatima was accused of sleeping with her uncle. She was locked up, but managed to flee before she was condemned to death by her family. Fatima is now in hiding and lives in a basement. The trauma still haunts her. Fatima was lucky to escape. Others have not been so fortunate.

According to a recent parliamentary enquiry in Turkey at least four women are murdered in 'honour killings' each week. It's a huge problem for the country's government, which is trying to modernize Turkey and steer it into the European Union. Since 2004, lawmakers have been tightening punishments against those found guilty of honour killings. Perpetrators now face life sentences in jail regardless of their age.

But beyond the cosmopolitan areas like Istanbul, it can be hard to enforce legislation. In rural areas, old traditions often prevail, no matter how fateful the consequences.

This man committed an honour killing. But he served little jail time and is now free.

It's an opinion shared by many. According to the traditional view, women should not be allowed to bring dishonour to their families. In this traditional milieu, support groups are being formed to help victims of attempted honour killings.

The Kamer centre in Diyarbakir provides a telephone hotline for those affected, as well as legal and psychological support. Most of the workers in the centre like Gulay joined after painful personal experiences.

Ferda Miran is one of the few lawyers who dares prosecute honour killing cases. She works closely with the women's centre. And it is here in this cemetery where many victims of honour killings are buried. Some of these women were pressured into suicide by their families. Few dare visit these graves, fearing reprisals from the community. Sacide works at the women's centre and recalls one harrowing case.

For many women in the area, getting married is their last moment of joy. After that, they become subject to a life of seclusion and constant community scrutiny. Women like Leyla bear the consequences.

Activists face a difficult struggle in their attempts to change customary practices. According to one survey from a Turkish university, nearly 40% of respondents in Diyarbakir agreed a woman should be killed if she committed adultery. Changing these attitudes is a long process.

But the women's centre is seeing some success in the community – albeit slow. The Friday call to prayer, summons the faithful to worship. At the same time these children are being called to playtime at a kindergarten set up by the women's group. Here they learn about gender equality from an early age.

Fathers like Judge Seniph enrol their daughters so they may grow up in an environment that nurtures equality. Activists hope when these girls grow up, they will never face a situation where honour is more valuable than their own lives. But in a country of conflicting traditions and directions, it may be generations before honour killings are a thing of the past.