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A cloak of darkness hangs over the opening of this film, directed by Chloe Fairweather, as a young woman takes the camera crew to the place where her ex-husband shot at her in a fit of rage. Such painful anecdotes recur throughout this stirring documentary which examines the correlation between gender-based violence in Turkey and the country’s political turbulences.
Following the court cases handled by the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, a Turkish feminist advocacy group, the film closely captures how women are being systematically failed at every institutional level. Married off according to traditional custom at the age of 14, Arzu was shot multiple times by her husband after asking for a divorce, leaving her paralysed. In another case, Kubra, a former Bloomberg news presenter, was hit repeatedly on the head by her husband, causing a brain haemorrhage. Despite the cruelty of these attacks, the victims and their lawyers cannot rely on the justice system for fair punishment, since domestic violence cases often result in reduced sentences. The healthcare system is also complicit; traumas sustained from domestic abuse are written off as either self-inflicted or casual injuries. In 2019 alone, more than 470 women were killed in Turkey, their names honoured on the screen as the film’s ending lends a humanity to the shocking statistic.