You may have seen black and white photos from the women you follow with #womensupportingwomen #womenempoweringwomen pop up in your feed recently.
We are seen many of non-Turkish people sharing black and white photos of themselves as a “challenge” but not knowing the reason or origin of the challenge.
So here is our attempt to explain the little following we have. Please share this information if you want to support this movement so the message does not get lost in translation and so that the challenge won’t lose its meaning.
Turkey is one of the top countries when in comes to femicides. Just on 2019 we have had almost 500 recorded femicides. Sadly many of them remain unrecorded and we have no real number as to how many women are murdered here every year.
Just this week, we have had several women murdered.
Turkish people wake up every day to see a black and white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens.
The black and white photo challenge started as a way for women to raise their voice. To stand in solidarity with the women we have lost. To show that one day, it could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets with a black and white filter on top.
Over 1000 women have been killed in gender-based violence since 2010. This year has been particularly difficult for Turkish women. The combined effects of social media trolling, a plummeting economy, deepening toxic masculinity and the COVID-19 crisis have escalated an already delicate situation.
Then came Pinar Gultekin, a university student who was reported missing on July 16th. She was last seen waiting for a bus in Mugla Province. When her body was exhumed, she had been beaten, strangled and buried in a barrel. Although her killer has been identified and taken into custody, many fear that he will be released soon or receive a light sentence. So women in Turkey started this challenge for raise awareness.
We have seen many of our international friends participate in this challenge without knowing the meaning. While we are aware that there is no ill will, it is important to remind ourselves why posting a picture with a black and white filter is a challenge to begin with.