Bu makaleyi alıntılamak için: Gül Yaşartürk, "Domestic Space and Violence in Turkish Cinema: My Violence is Because of My Love," Fe Dergi 4, sayı 1 (2012), 14-27.

Domestic Space and Violence in Turkish Cinema: My Violence is Because of My Love

Gül Yaşartürk1

According to a research conducted by the Turkish Republic Prime Ministry Directorate General on the Status of Women in 2008, the most common type of violence encountered by women is violence inflicted on them by men with whom they have a romantic relationship. According to the same research, the violence committed by their lovers or spouses is more common than the risk of harassment or rape by an unknown person or an acquaintance. In this respect, it is particularly important to study the films which are about domestic violence or mention this subject in Turkish Cinema in order to analyse how the violence under consideration is interpreted by directors.

The films which are considered to mention domestic violence in Turkish Cinema in the last ten years can be chronologically listed as: "İtiraf" (Zeki Demirkubuz 2001), "Gönül Yarası" (Yavuz Turgul 2004), "Banyo" (Mustafa Altıoklar 2005), "İki Çizgi" (Selim Evci 2008), "Vicdan" (Erden Kıral 2008), "Üç Maymun" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2008), "Sıcak" (Abdullah Oğuz 2008) and "Geriye Kalan" (Çiğdem Vitrinel 2011). The purpose of this paper is to analyse which reasons are presented in these films as the source of violence committed by men in the domestic space and if this violence is justified by those films by the medium of politics of representation. The concept of honour killing is also included in the analysis since the female characters in two of these films, Gönül Yarası and Vicdan, are killed.

Keywords: violence against woman, domestic violence,, Turkish cinema, domestic violence in Turkish cinema

Türkiye Sineması'nda Ev İçi Alan ve Şiddet:  Şiddetim Sevgimden

Başbakanlık Kadının Statüsü Genel Müdürlüğü'nün  2008 yılında yaptığı bir araştırmaya göre kadınlara birlikte oldukları erkekler tarafından uygulanan şiddet; kadınların yaşamlarında en çok karşılaştıkları şiddet türüdür. Araştırmaya göre kadınlara sevgilileri ya da eşleri tarafından uygulanan şiddet, yabancı ya da tanıdıkları kişiler tarafından taciz ya da tecavüze uğrama durumundan da yaygın. Bu bağlamda Türkiye Sineması’nda aile içi şiddeti doğrudan konu edinen ya da değinen filmlere bakmak, söz konusu şiddetin yönetmenler tarafından nasıl yorumlandığını analiz etmek açısından önem kazanıyor.

Son on yılın Türkiye Sineması’nda ev içi alanda şiddete temas ettiği düşünülen filmler sırasıyla "İtiraf" (Zeki Demirkubuz 2001), "Gönül Yarası" (Yavuz Turgul 2004), "Banyo" (Mustafa Altıoklar 2005), "İki Çizgi" (Selim Evci 2008), "Vicdan" (Erden Kıral 2008), "Üç Maymun" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2008), "Sıcak" (Abdullah Oğuz 2008) ve "Geriye Kalan" (Çiğdem Vitrinel 2011) olarak karşımıza çıkar. Söz konusu filmlerde erkek karakterlerin ev içi alanda uyguladıkları şiddetin hangi nedenler çerçevesinde sunuldukları, filmlerin temsil politikaları aracılığı ile söz konusu şiddetin meşru kılınıp kılınmadığı araştırılırken, Gönül Yarası ve Vicdan filmlerinde kadın karakterler eşleri tarafından öldürüldüğü için namus cinayeti kavramı da analize dahil edilecektir.

Anahtar Sözcükler: Kadına yönelik şiddet, aile içi şiddet, türk sineması, türk sinemasında aile içi şiddet


In 1987, Çankırı Court of First Instance rejected an application for a lawsuit made by a woman who wanted a divorce as she had been abused while being pregnant to her fourth child on the grounds that there may be disputes now and then in marriages - as in the saying - "One mustn't spare the rod from the back, nor the baby from the stomach, of a woman." Thanks to the great efforts made by women’s organisations, a great number of amendments in both the Civil Code and in other laws have been made since then. However, "the unjust provocation factor" is still in the current situation a cause for serious sentence reductions for the men on trial.2 According to the report on Violence against Women prepared by the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association between 2005 and 2011, sixteen out of every hundred women in Turkey became a victim of sexual violence and four thousand one hundred and ninety women were killed. Furthermore, three thousand seventy four women were raped.3 As hinted by Sema Çalışkan, there are serious problems not only with regard to the laws but also their implementation.4

Violence based on a social gender is fundamentally a breach of a constitutional right. The crimes which include sexual violence were defined as crimes committed against human rights and fundamental freedoms as per the new Penal Code adopted in 2004 and enacted in June 2005. Ayşegül Altınay and Yeşim Arat state in the introduction part of their research paper entitled "Violence against Women in Turkey" that they had initially determined the main scope of their research as the gender-based violence but that once they had observed the situation, they found out that the major axis of fight against gender-based violence in the society should concern domestic violence.5 Most of the women’s organisations fighting against violence state that the most insecure place for women is their domestic space6 and that they are exposed to violence mainly by their own husbands.7 Domestic violence is more common than outside violence; and violence inflicted on women by those who are the closest to them crushes their lives especially when they are vulnerable and unprepared, leaving them unable to acknowledge and face the situation .8 Within the scope of the survey "Violence against Women in Turkey," a thousand eight hundred women were interviewed in fifty six cities in 2006 and 2007. According to this survey, one of every three women and above all two-thirds of the women who are better paid than their husbands are exposed to physical violence. The survey proves that violence does not only concern women who have low level of education and income.9

According to what is put forward by feminist researches in 1970s, it is impossible to analyse domestic violence without considering the power relations between men and women within the framework of patriarchy. Domestic violence is related to the universal patriarchal structure. In other words, "it is closely related to the gender policies which result in men’s asserting dominance over women as well as the sexual apartheid which suggest superiority of men over women."10 The ones who are responsible for domestic violence are mainly spouses, brothers, fathers or sons.

When we have a glance at the Turkish Cinema over the last decade, we can often see the domestic violence inflicted on women characters by their husbands or boyfriends. This type of violence can be particularly observed almost in each film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Zeki Demirkubuz. In this study entitled "Domestic Space and Violence: My Violance is Because of My Love" in Turkish Cinema, films which focus on the relationships between spouses or lovers have been selected and in representation of the filmographies of both Ceylan and Demirkubuzone, one film for each of these directors has been included within the scope of the study.

Violence, Violence against Women and Domestic Violence: Definitions

It is possible to mention violence in the event that one of the partners in a mutual relationship directly or indirectly harms the physical or spiritual integrity, properties and cultural values of the other regardless of its degree.11 Violence is "making a person subject to the other’s willpower by forcing him/her and without taking his/her consent; a kind of conduct demonstrated by a person with the intention of hurting or injuring the other (…) and an act of abuse which is visible or covered, direct or indirect, physical or emotional, legal or illegal, individual or social."12 Violence can show itself in many different forms: It includes not only behaviours which humiliate someone or hurt one’s dignity but also direct or indirect acts which harm others psychologically. In brief, violence might be physical, economic or psychological. Another point which requires attention is that the norms of the society determine the definition, understanding and evaluation of the violence; "each society shapes in its own way the form of violence with its own realities, culture, rules and social understanding unique to itself."13 Therefore, it is possible to see, in Turkish cinema, the reflection of violence which is experienced by the Turkish society in its own way.

According to the definition made by the United Nations, violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. Briefly, it is a kind of violence which is directed to a woman just because she is a woman or which affects only women.14 With a feminist point of view, it is "all kinds of behaviours which include force or pressure and which aim to make the hierarchical gender relations permanent within the society."15 While violence is considered by men to consist of physical abuse and insults, for women, being reprimanded or being hindered to work are also included within the scope of violence.16 When committing violence on women, a man "objectifies the woman with certain mechanisms which isolate the woman from her own personality" such as insults since it is hard to commit violence on one’s own equal.17 Violence results in loss of value attached by the woman to her own body. Furthermore, the woman who is the victim of violence becomes lonelier and deals with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as anxiety, depression, distrustfulness, suicidality, and nightmares.

Acts of violence that are systematically inflicted by men in different forms such as psychological pressure, abuse, rape, sexual harassment or even murder have been most frequently happening at home and inside the family; "The results of a great number of surveys and researches made all around the world indicate that women are abused by men who happen to be their husbands or cohabiting partners and this abuse occurs regardless of classes, ethnicity or socioeconomic status."18 The ‘reasons’ why men resort to violence in domestic violence cases include disobedience, dissidence, delay in dinner preparation, questions about money and female friends and refusal of sexual intercourse by women.19 Domestic violence is a reflection of the man’s desire to have the authority and control over the woman. According to the power and control wheel, the forms of violence can be using the children against the woman, using the male privilege, using economic abuse, minimizing, denying and blaming, using isolation, using emotional abuse, using intimidation, and using coercion and threats.20

As emphasized by Emek Çaylı, the expression of "domestic violence" should not be considered as defining the violence faced in public or in private life as two different forms of violence; a woman who is exposed to violence at home will surely bring the effects of that violence happening at home to the public life as well.21 Therefore, the feeling of insecurity and fear will follow her wherever she goes - from home to all public activities. For this reason, it should be borne in mind that the analyses conducted on domestic violence do not only concern private or domestic spaces.

Domestic Violence in Turkish Cinema

Violence, violence against women and domestic violence can be seen in Turkish Cinema from its very first days. The period between 1960 and 1975 when melodrama is commonly used is the time when women are significantly confronted with violence in our cinema culture; in 1970s, the male protagonist solves the problems by using force in the films which can be depicted as "men’s films."22 In Yeşilçam melodramas, the institution of marriage and family, the superiority of the men within this institution and domestic violence are not questioned. The frequency of the scenes in which "a woman is slapped in the face" is a clear reflection of sexist ideology.23

Nilgün Abisel goes to important conclusions about violence against women in Turkish Cinema in her article entitled "Violence against Women in the Representation of Women in Yeşilçam Films" based on a hundred and three melodramas she studied. In only seven out of a hundred and three films, no display of violence is observed whereas two hundred and sixty-three acts of violence against women are detected in the others. This means each film includes approximately three acts of violence.24

In the plot line of these films, the real formula for dramatic disputes and tensions is the punishment of women who make a "wrong" act, envy being independence, go out of her own living space mostly without intending to do so and who rejects to act according to what is expected from her: "The female characters who are not contented with what they have and who have a desire for a comfortable and different life style and therefore who take part in the men’s world, who question, do what she knows as the right thing to do, who want to obtain what she desires function as an instrument to prove that it is wrong for a woman to deviate from her own life style and to display the acts which bring unhappiness."25 In these films, there are three types of male violence: the first is that the man becomes furious and cannot control himself and has to resort to violence; the second is that the woman character deserves the violence with regard to punishment; and third is that violence is an indispensable part of male identity.26

Violence inflicted by men against women in Yeşilçam melodramas always has some well-worn 'excuse'. These excuses include such situations as where the female character protests or objects to something instead of being dignified and obedient, where the villain of the film lusts after the female character, where the female character is with someone else or she ends her relationship, or where that the male character feels jealous due to some misunderstandings or wants to take revenge and ‘restore his honour’. However, the female characters who act within a set of determined roles and who are self-sacrificing and patient are idealised and glorified in Yeşilçam melodramas. The female characters are usually single; they did not have any relationship in the past. Otherwise, they are married and mothers. A divorced female character cannot be a protagonist in the melodramas of 1970s; "a divorce is not deemed as an appropriate act for women."27 Female characters do not have a goal of having a profession. They do not even work as a teacher or nurse – professions which are traditionally accepted.

Violence, in the social context, reveals itself as a reflection of unbalanced relationships whereas male characters who makes threats of violence or who inflict it are "presented as the implementers of a social responsibility."28 Violence is explained with rage in films, reminding the "unjust provocation" element used in the media or sentence reductions. At this point, it goes without saying that the question of who gets furious at what is closely related to the definition of masculinity in our society and the cultural codes; the intervention of men to all kinds of situations which would jeopardise the authority of the male characters is legitimized and becomes ordinary.29 The female characters, which are presented to deserve the violence within the context of the films’ discourse, consider the violence as a proof of love and masculinity, do not question and surely forgive it. Violence is a ‘natural’ act of a male character who was humiliated and thus who cannot control his rage.

As stated by Abisel, "examining films in terms of the representation of women and of violence against women is particularly important since they help us understand what kind of determined identities women are expected to fit in and how the extent of meeting such expectations is controlled by using violence or threats of violence."30

In this context, "İtiraf" (Zeki Demirkubuz 2001), "Gönül Yarası" (Yavuz Turgul 2004), "Banyo" (Mustafa Altıoklar 2005), "İki Çizgi" (Selim Evci 2008), "Vicdan" (Erden Kıral 2008), "Üç Maymun" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2008), "Sıcak" (Abdullah Oğuz 2008) and "Geriye Kalan" (Çiğdem Vitrinel 2011) have been selected since they mainly revolve around the relationship between male and female characters. Based on the eight films studied, the study aims to analyse the type of violence against those female characters, the pseudo-causes of violence and its results, the places where it occurs, whether the female characters stand up to this violence, whether the act of violence is legitimised or not as well as the profiles of both the male and female characters (their ages, their social classes and professions).

Presentation of Domestic Violence in the Sample Films

"İtiraf" (Zeki Demirkubuz 2001)

"İtiraf" is the story of Harun who is an engineer; hence, who belongs to a high social class and his wife Nilgün whose profession is not mentioned. The relationship of the couple which has been married for seven years is based on the fact that Taylan, Harun’s best friend and Nilgün’s first husband, is cheated. They got married after Taylan had committed suicide. Harun has never trusted Nilgün for all those seven years and has always been scared of experiencing the same things as Taylan.

Domestic violence in "İtiraf"

The violence Harun inflicts on Nilgün is both physical and psychological. The psychological violence is pictured as Harun never trusts Nilgün all those years during their marriage and lives with the fear of being cheated and reflects such a prediction to Nilgün. The film begins with Harun’s suspicion of being cheated is at its peak and the director leads the viewers to take Harun’s side by proving such infidelity. Harun first inflicts psychological violence on Nilgün to make her ‘admit’ her affair and he insults her and threatens to kill her while they are eating at a public place, a restaurant. After a short while, he uses physical violence in their bedroom and tries to kill Nilgün by choking her. Nilgün packs her suitcase and wants to leave home after she has been abused, but Harun prevents her. That Nilgün says "He knew you would act like a jerk one day and I would be overwhelmed by my passions; he committed suicide not because you had been screwing me but because he had pride" about Taylan and "Forgive me Harun" while she is leaving home makes the viewers believe that she deserves the violence she is exposed to. On the other hand, Harun kisses her feet after he inflicts violence, attempts suicide after having been left and proposes Nilgün – who is expecting a child from her lover – to be together again at the end of the film – which all serve to affirm masculinity and acts of the male character.

"Gönül Yarası" (Yavuz Turgul 2004)

Nazım is a retired primary school teacher. He comes from Diyarbakır to Istanbul. And while he is working as a taxi driver, he meets a night club singer Dünya who comes from Gaziantep. Dünya was raped by two men when she was thirteen and met Halil, a master repairman, when she was working at the night club and got married with him. Her daughter Meryem who witnessed the violence within their marriage stopped talking. However, when Dünya gets divorced and comes to İstanbul, Halil also comes after her.

Domestic violence in "Gönül Yarası"

Halil inflicts both physical and psychological violence on Dünya. Dünya is subject to the insults of taxi drivers as she works at a night club. Halil comes to the night club where she works and tries to take her with him by forcing her. However, when Dünya objects by shouting, Halil breaks bottles on two waivers’ heads and threatens Dünya by saying "Speak nicely to me or I will scratch your eyes out!" Dünya slaps Halil in the face after such a threat, but when Halil hits her in the face, it makes her fall. The second physical and psychological act of violence in the film is Halil’s trying to abduct Meryem in the Samatya Square. All the acts stated in Dünya’s question directed to the Police Officer at the Police Station, "Aren’t you take him into custody because of attack, scaring a child and injury?," are all committed by Halil. Halil threatens Dünya with his statement of "You’re flying so closely to the fire, just be careful or you will be burned" while they leave the police station. The third act of violence is also physical; yet, the viewer only witnesses the outcomes of it, not the act of violence itself. Dünya, who meets Nazım at Gaziantep Terminal to go to İstanbul, has a black eye and some scars on her forehead. The song sung by Dünya while looking at Nazım is the reason of her death. Halil first shoots her and then himself. Halil’s effort to control his ex-wife Dünya is closely related to the fact that a married woman is deemed to be a property and an element of honour of her husband. Divorce does not change this fact. And a man who has a relationship with a married woman is considered to usurp someone else's property.31

In a sense, the film legitimises violence by not making the viewers witness the violence inflicted on Dünya by Halil, and thus making them feel sympathy for Halil. The violence used by Halil resulting in their three-year old daughter becoming completely silent and how Dünya has a black eye or a scar on her forehead are not demonstrated in the film. Instead, we watch Halil looking at Dünya on the balcony with admiration in a scene with a full moon, buying her deserts on her birthday, crying and saying her "don’t leave me." Therefore, the film approves the well known relationship between love and violence as we are familiar in the film "İtiraf."

"Banyo" (Mustafa Altıoklar 2005)

The film depicts the relationships of three married couples based on infidelity and violence and bathroom is used as the space of the film. No information is given about the professions of these six characters. Nesrin and Necmi, Hülya and Sinan, and Süreyya and Adnan are married, respectively. Hülya and Adnan are neighbours and having an affair. Nesrin and Hülya have met at a bar. Since Nesrin was drunk the previous night, she passed the night at Hülya's home. When Hülya is with Adnan next door, Nesrin and Sinan encounter each other in the bathroom but locked inside. Necmi comes back to pick up his wife and breaks the door and gets into the bathroom only to find Nesrin and Sinan naked in there. While Nesrin escapes from her husband’s violence and runs into the bathroom next door, Adnan finds himself with Necmi and Sinan although he has wanted to flee at first place. The director of the film aims to engage in a competition on "masculinity and femininity" on the basis of their penis and breast sizes by bringing male and female characters together in two different places. However, this competition ends up with the death of all characters.

Domestic violence in "Banyo"

In this film, Necmi inflicts physical and psychological violence on Sinan, Adnan and of course his wife Nesrin. And the place of violence is the bathroom. Furthermore, Adnan abuses Hülya both physically and psychologically; Sinan rapes Nesrin. And while Süreyya uses physical and psychological violence on both Nesrin and Hülya, Hülya inflicts violence on Nesrin. The cycle of violence in the film follows a hierarchical line from the most powerful to the least. Necmi and Süreyya are the characters who are at the top of this hierarchy. There are two reasons of it: one is moral because Necmi and Süreyya are not the ones who cheat, rather, they are cheated. The other is because Necmi is more ‘masculine’ compared to the other male characters in the film in respect of the physical proportions of his phallus; whereas, Süreyya is more ‘feminine’ than other female characters on the basis of the physical proportions of her breasts, which are emphasized as the femininity organ. In other words, masculinity and femininity in the film become meaningful over morals and biological superiority. Power and authority, on the other hand, are only masculine concepts within the context of the film. The violence which is directed from Süreyya towards Hülya and Nesrin and from Hülya towards Nesrin approves this kind of masculinity.

"İki Çizgi" (Selim Evci 2008)

The film tells the story of Selin who works at a big company but whose profession is not mentioned exactly and of Mert who is younger and interested in photography. Their monotonous relationship in which Selin wanted to get married and have children whereas Mert is still interested in other women becomes more mature after a trip they set off together and reaches a level that is desired by Selin.

Domestic violence in "İki Çizgi"

There is no violence at first stages of the relationship between Selin and Mert. The violence in Selin and Mert’s relationship will come to the surface with the fact that Selin believes she can do everything Mert does. With the trip they made by car following the coastline in İstanbul, Mert aims to follow two young women who are their neighbours across. They run into each other on the way, Mert gives their auxiliary fuel tanks to these women and chats with them for a long while and then goes back to his car joyfully. However, when their fuel finishes and they have to stop in the middle of the road, Selin gets on a car she has stopped and gets away. Nevertheless, she comes back in the same car after a long time. We do not see the face of the man who drops Selin there, but that he is more ‘masculine’ than Mert is emphasized in a symbolic manner. From there on, Mert abuses Selin both physically and psychologically.

The film continues as the couple stops by a pension and plays a game based on the roles of a ‘prostitute and her customer’ after their conversation about a sex worker who works at the pension. However, Mert gets furious at Selin’s taking pleasure to play the ‘prostitute’ in this game and he rapes and inflicts violence on her. The space of the violence is a bed. On the other hand, Selin does not try to escape and sleeps in the same bed with Mert after the rape and continues the way next morning as if nothing happened. Furthermore, the viewer is made to feel that Mert is ready to assume the responsibility of a more serious relationship, is more ‘masculine’ and more self-confident. Selin trained Mert and ensured him to be a man who is ready for marriage by showing him that she could cross the line if he is not ‘masculine’ enough. Therefore, the film tells us the story of Mert becoming a man who would not be dominated by Selin, who is older and at a better position than Mert in financial terms, and a man who could be a husband to Selin.

"Vicdan" (Erden Kıral 2008)

Vicdan tells the story of Songül, Aydanur and Mahmut who are childhood friends. They all work at a bricks factory in a town of İzmir. Although, Mahmut had a relationship with Aydanur for a long time, he married to Songül but has continued his relationship with Aydanur. Songül, who learns about their relationship, reconstructs her relationship with Aydanur and causes the relationship between Aydanur and Mahmut to end. However, being friends with Aydanur sounds the death knell for her as well.

Domestic violence in "Vicdan"

In this film, Mahmut commits violence against the two women he has a relationship with. Mahmut inflicts psychological violence against Songül to whom he is married, but in the end he kills her just because he thinks she has been behaving dishonourably. What should attract attention here is that "a married woman is considered as the property and an element of honour of her husband"32 as in Gönül Yarası. Mahmut checks the hours when Songül comes in and out of home, tells her not to come home late in the evening and does not like her drinking any alcohol. When Aynur rejects sleeping with him, he tries to choke her saying "i am fucking in love with you." However, within the context of the film, physical violence is a part of sexual intercourse. Mahmut and Aydanur start to have sex. The reason why Mahmut kills Songül is that one of his friends warns him saying "Songül goes to the house of a woman called Sultan Ana’s with Aydanur at almost all times. It does not fit us, I can only say." Shahrzad Mojab states that a rumour is an important source of warning for an honour crime to be committed.33 Songül and Aynur dancing flirtingly with each other at a wedding is the reason of the murder. The film makes us view this dance of the two women becoming more and more erotic from the perspective of third persons and feel us disturbed and ashamed. Mahmut, however, ends this situation with an act of violence. The viewers identifies themselves with Mahmut, thus Mahmut’s act is legitimized. Mahmut goes near the two women with a brick in his hand. When he is looking at Aydanur, at the same time he hits the brick on Songül’s head. After stumbling a little while, Songül falls down. At the end of the film, Mahmut, who has had a conditional release out of prison, is killed by Aydanur.

"Üç Maymun" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan 2008)

"Üç Maymun" tells the story of a deputy candidate, his driver Eyüp, and Eyüp’s wife Hacer who works as a worker at a big kitchen and their 17-year-old son İsmail. Eyüp takes the blame for an accident caused by his boss and goes into prison.

Domestic violence in "Üç Maymun"

In the film, Hacer is subject to both physical and psychological violence from her husband and son. In addition, her lover Servet uses psychological violence on her. After having witnessed the relationship between his mother and Servet, İsmail inflicts physical violence on his mother. However, as he doesn’t want to jeopardise the money to be given by Servet, he does not hurt him. Instead, he first shouts at his mother and then slaps her in the face for four times. He advances on her and goes out of home hitting her. In response to violence, Hacer says "don’t" only once and starts crying. She seems to be acknowledging that he is right. The space of violence is home. The second act of violence against Hacer is inflicted by Eyüp at home on the bed in their bedroom on the day when Eyüp is released from prison. The ringing of Hacer’s mobile phone all the time, how she received five thousand lira from Servet and the red lingerie Hacer is wearing are the causes of violence. The violence scene continues for about seven minutes. Eyüp tries to choke Hacer, pulls her hair, and knocks her about and as all of these happen on their bed, we feel tense feeling Hacer might be raped any minute. Hacer first laughs at the incident of violence and then cries. She does not try to escape or does not object to it because she is ‘guilty’. Therefore, the attitude indicating that a woman who is ‘guilty’ does not have the right to object to it. Hacer is also exposed to Servet’s insults when she goes to meet him. The psychological violence inflicted by Eyüp on Hacer continues until the end of the film with sentences such as "fuck off, go jump down there" indicating a woman is so worthless.

"Üç Maymun" uses one of the most cliché reasons for violence committed by men towards women in the Yeşilçam melodramas: the villain of the film has his eye on the female character. However, the biggest problem in the film is that Hacer comes out as an unreliable person who actually seemed to be ‘faithful’ to her husband and to love him. Hacer becomes happy after she has heard that Servet says ‘I can do everything for you’. She likes being liked and desired. The film asserts that "one should not trust women and they are always ready to be derailed" as in "İtiraf."

"Sıcak" (Abdullah Oğuz 2008)

Yusuf works for a company which surfaces the sunken ships. His pregnant wife Meryem also sets off with him during one of these works of ship surfacing. During their trip, Yusuf hits Adem who is doing his military service and kills him. He buries the body although Meryem always protests against it. Then, Meryem finds out Yusuf’s affair which has been going on for a long while. Niko is Adem’s best friend and a diver. He finds out about the murder and is also killed by Yusuf. However, this time, Meryem reports the murder to the police.

Domestic violence in "Sıcak"

Meryem is exposed to physical and psychological violence by her husband. The psychological violence is observed since the beginning of the film. While they visit Conkbayırı, Gallipoli, most of Meryem’s sentences are not responded and she is snapped at;

Meryem- It is so peaceful, isn’t it?

Yusuf- It’s OK but we’ll be late.

Yusuf starts to smoke a big cigarette although he knows that his wife is pregnant. It causes the woman to vomit. He also puts pressure on Meryem so that she won’t work as she is pregnant now. He wants their child to be a boy. He considers Meryem as ‘faulty’ just because they couldn’t have children for a very long time. While Meryem is video recording, he feels contempt for her and says "leave it, you are just doing nonsense." Even though she is disturbed by all of these insults, abuse and isolation efforts, she does not argue against it, she believes there is not a problem. However, after having found out that she was cheated, she implies that she is having an affair with Niko and starts packing her suitcase. We know Yusuf has drunk a big bottle of an alcoholic drink before the beginning of the scene. Yusuf pushes Meryem onto the bed and tries to choke her and then leaves her inside locking the door. Therefore, alcohol and drugs are presented as the causes of violence inflicted by Yusuf. Yusuf and Meryem set off for return next morning as if nothing happened like in the film "İki Çizgi." Nevertheless, when Meryem finds out that Yusuf has killed Niko, she reports that to the police. On the other hand, she does not stand up against the violence inflicted on her.

"Geriye Kalan" (Çiğdem Vitrinel 2011)

The film tells the story of Cezmi, a doctor at a private hospital, his wife Sevda, a housewife, and his lover Zuhal, who works at the accountancy department of the same hospital. However, Sevda will kill Zuhal in order not to lose the comfort of a small family and the life standards of the upper middle class.

Domestic violence in "Geriye Kalan"

Cezmi and his wife Sevda inflict both physical and psychological violence on Zuhal. When he realises that Zuhal wants to break up with him, he goes into Zuhal’s office, threatens her by holding her arm and shouts at her. However, Zuhal stands still decisively.

- Pull yourself together. We are in a hospital. You have nothing to worry about but I need this job. What are you doing? Leave me! It’s not the right time, we’ll talk later. I told you we would talk later! Can you leave my room now?

Cezmi leaves the office slamming the door behind. In the evening that day, Cezmi goes to Zuhal’s flat and he first insults her in the kitchen and he puts both hands on her face, squeezes her head and then breaks the window. Zuhal shouts decisively: "Get out of here!" On the other hand, Sevda has previously got into Zuhal’s flat and made her suspicious and scared her by making small changes in there. However, this time, she gets into the flat after Cezmi, and without saying anything she shocks her with a shocker and causes her to faint. Then she drowns her in the water in the bath tub. The reason why violence is inflicted on her is that she wants to pursue the life style of the upper middle class she has and she thinks she deserves. From the violence committed by Sevda against Zuhal, it is possible to observe the reflection of the power occurring from the class differences between these two women.


When the films "İtiraf," "Gönül Yarası," "Banyo," "İki Çizgi," "Vicdan," "Üç Maymun," "Sıcak" and "Geriye Kalan" are evaluated in terms of violence, the following conclusions can be made:

Female characters are subject to both physical and psychological violence. The perpetrators of the violence are spouses, lovers and sons. The space of the violence in the films "İtiraf," "Üç Maymun," "Sıcak" and "İki Çizgi" is the bedroom and the bed itself. The use of a bed as the place of violence demonstrates how a place with a meaning of sharing and love with regard to the relationship turns into a place where violence is inflicted. The use of bed by the man for the act of violence means in a way that the woman is blamed for her sexuality. On the other hand, the space of violence in the film "Geriye Kalan" is the kitchen. The use of such a place which can be considered as a private space for a woman is a sort of assault. In addition, the space of violence in the films "İtiraf," "Gönül Yarası" and "Vicdan" is public places. The use of violence by a man in public indicates that he considers the woman as his own property.

The causes for violence are presented as follows; having a relationship with somebody else in the films "İtiraf," "Üç Maymun," and "Banyo"; loving someone else, having an affair with somebody else and protesting against violence whereas in "Gönül Yarası"; acting against the honour of a man and crossing the line that is drawn for women in "Vicdan"; the desire to break up in "Geriye Kalan"; implying that the woman has an affair with another man and the desire to break up, in "Sıcak"; crossing the line and stepping beyond the bounds of what is allowed for women and implying that the woman has an affair with another man in "İki Çizgi,"

The reaction against violence is interesting because only in the films "Gönül Yarası" and "Geriye Kalan," the female characters object to the violence whereas the other female characters do not even question the violence and they do not state that they do not deserve such violence. However, as the man is stronger than the woman, objection by the female characters does not make any difference. Dünya is divorced; Zuhal is having an affair with the man who inflicts violence on her and she is not married. At this point, it is only more striking that the female characters that do not stand up to the violence are married to the perpetrators. Therefore, the woman who objects to the violence is either "divorced" or a "mistress."

It is not possible to observe clear results of violence since women accept violence and don't protest. Nilgün has an affair with someone else in the film "İtiraf" so she leaves home during the night when they argue and when she faces violence. In "Gönül Yarası," Dünya objects to violence every time she faces it but she is murdered by Halil eventually. Halil also commits suicide. On the other hand, all the characters die in the film "Banyo" whereas relationship continues in the films "İki Çizgi," "Üç Maymun" and "Sıcak" although in Sıcak, Meryem reports her husband to the police when she realises that her husband committed the second murder. In "Vicdan," Songül is killed by her husband and in "Geriye Kalan," Zuhal stands up to violence and finishes her relationship but is killed by her lover’s wife.

As for the presentation of violence, in all the films other than "Geriye Kalan," we happen to see that violence is legitimized by making the viewer identify himself/herself with the male characters and ensures they are justified. The identification of the viewer with the male characters, in the film "İtiraf," is carried out through Harun's showing affection at the same time he uses violence, his crying, trying to commit suicide after seperating from his wife and, ultimately, his proposing to his ex-wife once more. In the film "Gönül Yarası," we only observe the results of the violence Halil perpetrates against Dünya. The director, instead of picturing the male character turn to violence, chooses to show scenes that emphasize his love for the female character. In the film "Banyo," the legitimization of violence is implemented through the two characters', who lead the chain of violence, being those cheated on rather than those who cheat. In the film "İki Çizgi," the male character Mert is, so to speak, crushed due to the female character Selin's being older and financially stronger; and it is emphasized that he regains his authority, and thus his manhood, by resorting to violence. In "Vicdan," the male character Mahmut finalizes the dance scene, which makes us feel ashamed as we view it from the third person perspective, by murdering his wife. Thus, the viewer can relax, and violence is legitimized. In the film "Üç Maymun," Hacer's, who faces violence inflicted by her son, husband and lover, remaining silent as if accepting her "guilt," her trying to "seduce" her husband Eyüp notwithstanding her desire to be with Servet are tools to legitimize violence. And, in the film "Sıcak," Yusuf, who cheats on Meryem, turns to violence when he implies that she is cheating on him. Alcohol and drugs are presented as the cause of violence.

1Yrd.Doç.Dr Akdeniz Üniversitesi, İletişim Fakültesi

1 This text, is a shortened version of the presentation at the Gender / Violence International Conference at Izmir University of Economics on April 4-6, 2012

2 See. " Facebook Tahrik Unsuru Sayıldı" (Facebook Deemed as a Provocation Factor) April 20, 2011 Radikal.

3"Yedi yılda 4 bin 190 kadın cinayeti gerçekleşti" (4 Thousand 190 Women Killed in the last 7 Years) http://haber.sol.org.tr/kadinin-gunlugu/yedi-yilda-4-bin-190-kadin-cinayeti-gerceklesti-haberi-46617.

4"Katillerimizin Yanına Gönderiliyoruz " (We’re sent back to our own murderers) October 5, 2011 Radikal.

5Ayşegül Altınay and Yeşim Arat, Türkiye’de Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (İstanbul 2008), 16.

6In this study, "domestic space" and "domestic" will be used interchangeably. And the concepts of "family" and "domestic" are used in the meaning of relationship of a man and a woman either married or unmarried.

7Altınay and Arat, Türkiye’de Kadına Yönelik Şiddet, 16.

8Emek Çaylı Rahte "Aile İçi Şiddet ve Medya Gündüz Kuşağı Televizyonunda Şiddetin Görünürlüğü ve Yeniden Üretimi" Gazi Üniversitesi İletişim Fakültesi İletişim Dergisi (2010 s:30) 184.

9Altınay and Arat, Türkiye’de Kadına Yönelik Şiddet, 59-61.

10Fidan Korkut Owen and Dean W Owen Kadına Yönelik Aile İçi Şiddet (Kadın Statüsü Genel Müdürlüğü 2008), 7.

11Yves Mıchaud Şiddet çev: Cem Muhtaroğlu (İstanbul: Cep Üniversitesi İletişim Yayınları 1991), 8-9.

12Seçil Büker and Ayşe Eziler Kıran Reklamlarda Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (İstanbul: Alan Yayınları 1999), 16, 23.

13Büker and Eziler Kıran, Reklamlarda Kadına Yönelik Şiddet, 19, 22.

14Korkut Owen and Owen, Kadına Yönelik Aile İçi Şiddet, 12.

15Pınar İlkkaracan, Leyla Gülçür and Canan Arın Sıcak Yuva Masalı (İstanbul: Metis Yayınları 1996), 22.

16Korkut Owen and Owen, Kadına Yönelik Aile İçi Şiddet, 16.

17İlkkaracan, Gülçür and Arın, Sıcak Yuva Masalı, 27 and 28.

18İlkkaracan, Gülçür and Arın Sıcak Yuva Masalı, 21.

19Korkut Owen and Owen, Kadına Yönelik Aile İçi Şiddet, 25.

20Korkut Owen and Owen, 2008, 15, İlkkaracan, Gülçür & Arın, Sıcak Yuva Masalı, 26.

21Çaylı Rahte, Aile İçi Şiddet ve Medya Gündüz Kuşağı Televizyonunda Şiddetin Görünürlüğü ve Yeniden Üretimi ,184.

22Ruken Öztürk and Özgür Erdur Baker "Kadına Yönelik Şiddetin 1990 Sonrası Türk Sineması’nda Temsili" Eastern Mediterranean University, Center for Women's Studies, Second International Conference on Women's Studies, Breaking the Glass Ceiling, April 26-28 2006, Gazimağusa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

23Nilgün Abisel, Türk Sineması Üzerine Yazılar (Ankara: İmge Yayınları 1994), 195.

24Nilgün Abisel , Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet In Nur Betül Çelik (Ed), Televizyon, Kadın ve Siddet (pp.173-212). (Ankara: Dünya Kitle İletişimi Araştırma Vakfı KIV Yayınları 2000), 191.

25Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet,191, 177, 178.

26Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet. 197-198 .

27Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet, 182.

28Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet, 190, 178.

29Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet, 198.

30Abisel, Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet, 174.

31Filiz Kardam Türkiye’de Namus Cinayetlerinin Dinamikleri Eylem Programı için Öneriler ve Sonuç Raporu (Ankara: Nüfusbilim Derneği 2005) 29.

32Kardam Türkiye’de Namus Cinayetlerinin Dinamikleri Eylem Programı için Öneriler ve Sonuç Raporu, 29.

33Shahrzad Mojab "Namusun Tikelliği ve Öldürmenin Evrenselliği: Erken Uyarı Sinyallerinden Feminist Pedagojiye" In Shahrzad Mojab and Nahla Abdo (Ed) Namus Adına Şiddet (pp 17-43) çev: Güneş Kömürcüler, (İstanbul: Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları 2006), 23.


Abisel, Nilgün, "Yesilçam Filmlerinde Kadının Temsilinde Kadına Yönelik Siddet" In Betül Çelik N. (Ed), Televizyon, Kadın ve Siddet (pp.173-212). (Ankara: Dünya Kitle İletişimi Araştırma Vakfı KIV Yayınları 2000).

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Altınay, Ayşegül and Arat Yeşim, Türkiye’de Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (İstanbul 2008).

Büker, Seçil and Eziler Kıran Ayşe, Reklamlarda Kadına Yönelik Şiddet (İstanbul: Alan Yayınları 1999).

Demiray, Emine, Şiddetin Ailedeki Görüntüleri: Yengeç Sepeti In Büker S. (Ed), Sinema Yazıları (pp. 69- 77) (Ankara: Doruk Yayıncılık 1997).

İlkkaracan, Pınar, Gülçür Leyla and Arın Canan, Sıcak Yuva Masalı (İstanbul: Metis Yayınları 1996).

Kandiyoti, Deniz, Ataerkil Örüntüler: Türk Toplumunda Erkek Egemenliğinin Çözümlenmesine Yönelik Notlar In Sirin Tekeli (Ed) 1980’ler Türkiye’sinde Kadın Bakış Açısından Kadınlar (pp. 367-382). (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları 1995).

Kardam, Filiz, Türkiye’de Namus Cinayetlerinin Dinamikleri Eylem Programı için Öneriler ve Sonuç Raporu (Ankara: Nüfusbilim Derneği 2005).

Mıchaud, Yves, Şiddet çev: Cem Muhtaroğlu (İstanbul: Cep Üniversitesi İletişim Yayınları 1991).

Owen Korkut, Fidan and Owen Dean W, Kadına Yönelik Aile İçi Şiddet (Kadın Statüsü Genel Müdürlüğü 2008).

Mojab, Shahrzad, Namusun Tikelliği ve Öldürmenin Evrenselliği: Erken Uyarı Sinyallerinden Feminist Pedagojiye In Shahrzad Mojab and Nahla Abdo (Ed) Namus Adına Şiddet (pp. 17-43) çev: Güneş Kömürcüler, (İstanbul: Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları 2006).

Öztürk, Ruken and Baker Erdur Öözgür, Kadına Yönelik Şiddetin 1990 Sonrası Türk Sinemasında Temsili Eastern Mediterranean University, Center for Women's Studies, Second International Conference on Women's Studies, Breaking the Glass Ceiling, April 26-28 2006, Gazimağusa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Rahte, Çaylı Emek , Aile İçi Şiddet ve Medya Gündüz Kuşağı Televizyonunda Şiddetin Görünürlüğü ve Yeniden Üretimi Gazi Üniversitesi İletişim Fakültesi İletişim Dergisi (2010).