Turkish men show support for women's rights by donning skirts

Updated February 25, 2015

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Men wearing skirts come out to protest against the brutal murder of Ozgecan Aslan during a march in Istanbul on Feb 21, 2015. -AP
Men wearing skirts come out to protest against the brutal murder of Ozgecan Aslan during a march in Istanbul on Feb 21, 2015. -AP
This photo shows 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan who resisted a sexual assault by a bus driver before she was stabbed to death. Photo: Facebook
This photo shows 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan who resisted a sexual assault by a bus driver before she was stabbed to death. Photo: Facebook

As a strong wave of grief and outrage swept across the Turkish republic over the appalling murder of Ozgecan Aslan, Turkish men have opted for a unique way of registering their protest against the heinous act and manifesting their support for women’s rights—they took out to the bustling Istanbul streets in skirts, a report published on The Independent said.

Aslan, a 20-year-old student had been reported missing since Feb 11 when she boarded a minibus to go home, the Hurriyet reported.

She reportedly resisted a sexual assault by the bus driver with pepper spray before she was stabbed to death and was later set ablaze. Her body was found in a riverbed two days later in the southern province of Mersin.

Bloodstains and a hat were discovered from a minibus during investigation. The 26 year old driver was detained after Aslan’s father recognised the hat as his daughter’s.

The brutal murder led to a country-wide outpouring of anger and condemnation from top government officials.

Turkish women immediately took to social media to show solidarity with the slain victim. They initially tweeted out under the hashtag #sendeanlat – translated roughly as ‘tell your story’ – before men in neighbouring Azerbaijan began tweeting out images of themselves wearing skirts under the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy which translates to ‘wear a miniskirt for Ozegan’.

A man wearing a dress is seen during a march in Istanbul to support women's rights. -Reuters
A man wearing a dress is seen during a march in Istanbul to support women's rights. -Reuters

The tweet went viral within hours with an increasing number of men partaking in the campaign.

The idea behind the movement is to eradicate the conventional mindset among some men that a certain type of clothing can be a green light to sexually assault a woman.

A Facebook page promoting the cause wrote: “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!"

Earlier in November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sparked an outcry across the nation when he declared that women are not equal to men.

A woman shouts slogans during a demostration in Istanbul, against the murder of a young woman named Ozgecan Aslan. -AFP
A woman shouts slogans during a demostration in Istanbul, against the murder of a young woman named Ozgecan Aslan. -AFP

The Islamic-rooted government of Erdogan has long been accused by critics of seeking to erode the country's secular principles and limiting the civil liberties of women.

Erdogan has also drawn the ire of feminist groups for declaring that every woman in Turkey should have three children and with proposals to limit abortion rights and the morning-after pill.