Turkish film shines light on child brides

Eylem Atakav
Updated 16 October 2016
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Turkish film shines light on child brides

LONDON: Child brides in Turkey are often raped, beaten and forced to undergo virginity tests, according to the director of a new documentary which aims to break the silence on the taboo issue.
“Growing Up Married,” which will premiere in London on Oct. 30, examines the impact of child marriage on four women who were wed as teenagers in western Turkey.
“When hearing some of their stories I thought to myself ‘how are you still alive?’,” filmmaker Eylem Atakav said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“There are lots of stories about child brides, but very few that look at what happens to them after,” said Atakav, a lecturer in film and television studies at the University of East Anglia in Britain.
The Turkish-born director said her filming trip to Izmir in July revealed survivors felt an urgent need to speak out.
“I had spent the day interviewing two of my parents’ neighbors about their experiences,” she recalled.
“Then there was a knock on the door — three women from the neighborhood came to ask if I was making a film about child brides and said that they wanted to talk about their experiences too.”
The women in the film, now in their 30s to 50s, were married between the ages of 14 and 17.
“They put a wedding gown on me one night and took me to some place I had never seen before — I (have) remained silent ever since,” one of the women says in the film.
Another describes how she used to dread night-time because her husband would drag her to the bedroom where he “took pleasure out of pulling my hair.”
I used to collect all my hair from the floor and pillows every morning. Then I started cutting my hair so that he couldn’t hurt me as much.”
Atakav said the film also revealed more “insidious” forms of abuse.
Only one of the four women in the film is still married to her husband, said Atakav. Two are divorced and one has remarried but her former husband has banned her from seeing her daughter.
“These women have somehow managed to go on with their lives but you can see the pain on their faces,” Atakav said.
Campaign group Girls Not Brides says Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe, with an estimated 15 percent of girls married before the age of 18.
The minimum age of marriage in Turkey is 17 years, although marriage at 16 can be allowed with court approval.
Atakav hopes her documentary will raise awareness of “this invisible issue, and be a tool for women’s voices to be heard everywhere.”
“What I’d really like is to go show the film in Turkey,” she said. “Only privileged families, if anyone, have access to these types of films when those who most need (to see) them don’t.”


Weinstein reaches deal to settle civil proceedings for $44 million: report

Updated 24 May 2019
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Weinstein reaches deal to settle civil proceedings for $44 million: report

  • The deal, which has not yet been signed, aims to cover all civil proceedings filed against the fallen Hollywood mogul
  • The settlement does not exempt Weinstein from the criminal proceedings brought against him for sexual assault

NEW YORK: Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has reached a provisional $44 million settlement with alleged victims and creditors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The deal, which has not yet been signed, aims to cover all civil proceedings filed against the fallen Hollywood mogul, including those in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Weinstein’s spokesperson denied to comment.
The settlement does not exempt Weinstein from the criminal proceedings brought against him for sexual assault, for which he will go on trial in September.
Weinstein — a catalyst for the #MeToo anti-harassment movement — has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial, which could last five weeks.
In addition to the alleged victims and creditors, the settlement covers the proceedings started by former New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has been succeeded by Letitia James.
The proceedings aim specifically to guarantee the alleged victims will be compensated.
James’s spokesperson also declined to comment.
The settlement amount will be paid out by insurance agencies, the Journal reported, several of which count The Weinstein Company, the production company Weinstein co-founded, among their clients.
Since October 2017, Weinstein — one of the most powerful men in Hollywood before a cascade of sexual misconduct allegations precipitated his downfall — has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 80 women.
Among his accusers are prominent actresses such as Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.