- Published on Saturday, 15 September 2012 06:56
This article, written by Elif Shafak, appeared on The Guardian on September 09,2012
In Turkey, outside big cities, social life concentrates on coffee houses, that is, if you are a man. This week, the customers of a coffee house in a village in the Mediterranean region saw a young woman carrying a bloody sack. Inside was a severed head. She hurled the sack towards them and said: "I saved my honour. Do not talk behind my back any more."
The woman was 26-year-old Nevin Yildirim, a mother of two. Her husband had been away working at a seasonal job in another town. In his absence Nurettin Gider, aged 35 and a father of two, had raped her repeatedly, taken photos of her naked, and blackmailed her. She had become pregnant. He had been boasting about his visits to her house to his drinking buddies, and there were people in the village who knew what was going on.
She shot him 10 times, stabbed him in the abdomen and cut off his head. She turned herself in, and told the police she would rather die than have the baby. Her seven-year-old daughter was about to start school this autumn. She said she didn't want anyone to call her children "the whore's kids". Instead, they would be seen as "the children of a woman who had cleansed her honour".
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