#Sendeanlat means “You tell your story too.” It became the most popular hashtag in Turkey after the brutal assault and murder of Ozgecan Aslan.
Ozgecan was a 20 year-old woman from Mersin, a city in southeast Turkey near the sea. She was studying psychology in Tarsus, a neighboring town. On the day of the murder, February 11th, 2015, she went shopping and then took a minibus home – a common method of transport in Turkey. She was the last on the bus.
Her burnt and mutilated body was found later in the woods near Tarsus.
According to reports, the driver of the minibus attempted to rape Aslan, who resisted with pepper spray. The driver then stabbed her multiple times and beat her with an iron rod. Following the murder, he asked his father and a friend for help. The men burned her body, cut off her hands – for in her struggle, she had scratched the driver and he feared his DNA might be under her fingernails – and dumped her body in a creek. The minibus driver confessed, but has subsequently changed his testimony. All three men await trial.
Following Ozgecan’s death, the hashtag #sendeanlat took root. It has been tweeted more than three million times. Women throughout Turkey used it as a chance to tell their experiences with sexism, harassment, and violence against women. While remaining popular and gaining international attention, the hashtag garnered backlash from other Twitter users in Turkey, who have blamed secularization, westernization, and ‘provacative’ dress for the types of harassment cited.
According to a survey by Bianet, a Turkey-based NGO and news website, almost 300 women were killed by men in 2014, a nearly 31% increase in murders since 2013. 50% were killed by their husbands. 14% by their fathers. Very few of those women’s deaths recieved the outcry of Ozgecan’s. Ozgecan Aslan’s tragic murder, and the media attention, has brought the rising trend of violence against women in Turkey to both domestic and international attention.