Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A young Turkish woman has attempted to draw attention to violence against women and children by symbolically ‘marrying’ a famous Biblical mountain, considered the final resting place of Noah’s ark.
Sevgul Eraslan, 33, an art teacher who has been mountaineering for four years, carried out the symbolic ceremony at Mount Ararat in the Turkish province of Agri on 24th July to highlight violence against women and children.
Mount Ararat is a compound volcano and Turkey’s highest peak at 5,137 metres (16,854 feet) and is mentioned in religious texts, including the Bible, as being the resting place of Noah’s Ark.
Climbing Mount Ararat with a group of 30 people, Sevgul took out her wedding dress from her backpack and wore it when they reached the summit.
Sevgul told Newsflash that other climbers were surprised by the ‘wedding’, adding: “I first thought about it when I reached the summit on 14th July 2018. Mount Ararat inspired me very much. I waited a while and decided to do it on 24th July 2021.
“Only one person knew about my plan among the people who came to Mount Ararat with me. Other mountaineers were very surprised when I wore the wedding dress, and they congratulated me.
“When I shared the pictures on social media, people actually thought I was getting married to a man. A large number of people heard about it on national media, and many people wrote about it on social networks.
“Some people thought my idea was good, some found it surprising and clever, however some found it stupid. But they saw it mainly as a symbolic message and praised my courage. There’s a lot of talk about it right now.
“I wanted to condemn crimes and violence against children and women. As a part of society, we are aware of the fact that discrimination against women and various abuses against children are against human rights, that these crimes cause great suffering, not only to individuals who have been subjected to crime, but also to us, and that they cause moral harm to everyone.”
Sevgul told Newsflash: “For a bright future, I wish that women all over the world are stronger, and all children are safe and unharmed.”
Turkey recently announced it was leaving the Istanbul Convention which is the charter that guarantees the rights of women, saying that enough was already being done with local laws without needing an international charter to strengthen them.