Breaking the silence, easing the pain: efforts, challenges and hopes of feminist organizations in Turkey and India working with survivors of incest
Misra, Akanksha (2011) Breaking the silence, easing the pain: efforts, challenges and hopes of feminist organizations in Turkey and India working with survivors of incest. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1379280 (Table of Contents)
In recent years, incest and child sexual abuse has been gaining increasing media and civil society interest in Turkey and India. Yet the voices of the many adult survivors, a lot of whom are women, continue to be lost and silenced in both these countries. The purpose of this ethnographic study is to analyze how three feminist organizations, Mor Çatı and KAMER in Turkey and RAHI in India, work within and against the existing media and legal discourses to break the silence surrounding incest and provide support to adult women survivors. Most anthropological and sociological studies on incest are based on research in Europe and the United States. While it is becoming increasingly possible to find statistics of sexual abuse and other such "data" from countries of the Global South, academic analyses of the experience of incest and the struggle against it continue to be scarce. This thesis first contextualizes issues such as the status of women, the discourses on the family, and the history of the feminist movements in Turkey and India; and then continues with an analysis of the media and legal discourses along with the existing legal provisions on child sexual abuse in Turkey and India, within and against which the three organizations function. Based on interviews with mental health professionals, lawyers, and activists, this thesis analyzes the ways in which dominant discourses on family sanctity, gender, survivorship and justice are challenged, and new methods and philosophies of struggle against incest are developed in Turkey and India. This research shows that despite the differences between their organizational philosophies and methods, with Mor Çatı and KAMER being more involved in developing a feminist critique of the public discourse on incest and challenging existing laws on the issue, and RAHI focusing more on mental healing of survivors, all three organizations provide support for survivors and contribute to breaking the silence surrounding incest and sexual abuse in Turkey and India.
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