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Women Against Rape Initiative (WARI)

Istanbul Turkey
March 2011

Grant Description

In 2007 a woman was gang raped at Geber Spa in Turkey causing outrage amongst the feminist movement. Her case was initially thrown out because of a lack of physical evidence. Now, the case has been reopened and, if it were decided in the rape survivor’s favor, it would be precedent-setting and symbolic because of its reliance primarily on psychological evidence. WARI requested funds to hold a demonstration with activists from a wide variety of women’s groups at the site of the trial to demonstrate their solidarity with the woman and bring public attention to the case. More than 1,000 women attended the first trial and WARI wants to ensure they can mobilize even more women for this precedent-setting case. UAF advisors noted that a very strategic component of WARI’s legal justice campaign for sexual harassment and rape survivors is to prevent efforts of the male dominated judiciary to privatize rape and re-victimize women in the context of honor and cultural identity.

WARI was founded by a group of women who are survivors of sexual harassment and rape who now voluntarily support other women by providing counseling, legal advice and support to women pursing legal recourse. Furthermore, WARI plays an important role in Turkey for awareness raising and campaigning towards legal justice as the judiciary system in Turkey still very often rules in favor of the perpetrator(s) by denying survivors’ existing legal rights.

Impact Report

With UAF funds, WARI successfully mobilized a large sector of Turkey’s women’s movement to rally at the trial. While the trial will take some time to be resolved, the women activists’ perseverance ensured this precedent-setting case is not buried in the media. WARI noted that the UAF support ensured participation and actions at this trial that the public and judiciary system could not ignore.