If you open Instagram, you will probably be bombarded with black and white pictures of women participating in a new viral trend called ‘Challenge Accepted’. Women across the world have joined the cause, posting black-and-white photos of themselves on Instagram and nominating another woman to take up the challenge with hashtags such as #WomenSupportingWomen, #WomenEmpowerment and #ChallengeAccepted. Also Read - 'Challenge Accepted': Here's Why Women Are Posting Black and White Selfies on Instagram | All About the Viral Challenge
The basic motive of this trend seems to be promoting female empowerment and a way for women to support each other. However, the campaign is much more than that and not many know what sparked this viral challenge- the growing atrocities against women in Turkey.
The trend has also been criticised by many for burying the actual issue in a barrage of mindless black and white photos. So, let’s try to understand the specific reason behind it:
Femicide in Turkey
Shedding light on the alleged origin of this challenge, many Turkish women have taken to social media to explain that this trend was started as a mark of protest against femicide in Turkey.
According to WHO, Femicide is the term used for the masses of women who are abused and murdered at the hands of their partners. The black and white photo was apparently meant to represent the victims of gender violence whose photos were broadcast in news media.
The incident that triggered the latest viral challenge is the murder of Pinar Gutelkin, a 27-year-old woman, who was allegedly killed by her jealous ex-boyfriend, who first strangled and then tried to burn her.
Her death sparked widespread outrage across the country, throwing light on the country’s high femicide rate. Women’s rights activists have taken to the streets and are calling on the government to take a stand against the widespread domestic violence problem in the country.
What further intensified the protests was the Turkish government’s efforts to withdraw ‘Istanbul Convention’ – legislation that sought to protect women from gender-based violence.
All this injustice also turned into a social media campaign to raise awareness about the number of women being murdered in the country.
According to reports, a whopping 474 women were killed in the country in 2019, due to gender-based violence and abuse, which is the highest number recorded in the decade, according to The Guardian.
Explaining the actual issue, a Twitter user wrote,” Turkey is one of the top countries when it comes to femicides. Most often the murderers barely get a slap on a wrist or no charges at all… Our government is trying to abolish certain aspects of [the] Istanbul Convention which is a human rights treaty that protects women against domestic violence…”
”Turkish people wake up every day to see a black and white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens. The black and white photo challenge started as a way for women to raise their voice. To stand in solidarity with the women we have lost. To show that one day, it could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets”.