VAN – Selvi Elma, who was married as a child in Çaldıran, refused to marry for the second time despite all the pressure after her husband died. 22 years of living alone, “I live alone and live freely’’ she said. According to the villagers, ‘’a woman cannot live without a man.’’Selvi summarized with the words ‘’a woman can live as she wishes without a man’’ and says that she has not re-married for 20 years.
While the discussion on the ‘Abuse law’ that will pave the way for child marriage to take its place in the second judiciary package continues, thousands of women are fighting against this mentality.Children who have been abused under the name of “marriage’’ due to the imposition of masculine mentality and gender roles face systematic violence. The struggle for survival of each woman against all of these is an example of resistance.
Selvi Elma (70), who lives in Yukarı Sağmalı (Nuşar) village of Çaldıran district of Van, lost her father when she was 8 years old and her mother was made to marry her uncle. Selvi who has been subjected to systematic violence for years starts to tell what she has been through; ‘’I was married at the age of 11 as the victim of my uncle.’’
‘I didn’t know what it was’
“I didn’t know what it was. I got married and subjected to all kinds of violence until I grew up. I was subjected to violence by my husband’s family and I wanted my own home with my husband. We went to a separate house and again I was exposed to violence. Because I couldn’t have children, I was subjected to violence from my husband. Selvi gives birth to a girl 10 years later.
‘How can I accept violence for the second time? ’
When Selvi was 48 years old, the man she was married with loses his life. This time, people around her pressure on Selvi to marry again. ‘’The villagers did their best so that I don’t live alone. But I didn’t accept it. I have encountered many difficulties, but no difficulty can be as bad as the violence of a man. How can a woman who has suffered so much from male violence in time can be able to withstand a second violence” she asks.
‘Without a man we can live comfortably ’
“ Only years later I could breathe’’ said Selvi, who has been living alone for 22 years because her daughter grew up and moved to Istanbul. Selvi said that she was very pleased with this situation and said I live in my own house comfortably and free. According to the villagers ‘’a woman cannot live without a man.’’ But she says ‘’a woman can live as she wishes without a man.’’
‘I got 20 years younger for not getting married ’
Selvi stated that the man she married to prevented her from even going to her neighbor, “But now I am 70 years old and I look 50 years old because I don’t have a husband. I have no problems or discomforts. I sleep, wake up, and sit in my neighbors as much as I wish. People in the village despised me for not having a second marriage, but I broke the perception that a woman cannot live without a man. They now accept it. Women always bring me bread and food. I feed my own sheep and produce my own dairy products. No woman should say that she cannot live alone, because if she struggles, she will live.’’