“We are breaking through the wall of silence of those exposed to violence”

15 March 2019

15 March 2019, IstanbulA ‘’Workshop of Project Companies’’ organised within the scope of the project of ‘’Business Against Domestic Violence’’, a project that is supported by the United Nations Population Fund and Sabancı Foundation and executed by the Corporate Governance Forum of Sabancı University in cooperation with TÜSİAD was held in Istanbul on 15 March 2019 with the financial contribution of the British Embassy.

The workshop where representatives over 25 companies participated provided a productive discussion environment. The workshop used the technique of ‘’search conference’’.  “Search conference’’ is defined as a conference type that allows companies participating in a project come together, get to know each other and exchange their views.  

Lorraine Fussey, Deputy Consul General at the British General Consulate

One of the speakers in the workshop was Lorraine Fussey, Deputy Consul General at the British General Consulate. She said: ‘’Every employer can have employees who have been subjected to domestic violence. Sometimes they are victims or witnesses, sometimes perpetrators of violent acts. Private sector has a role of importance in respect of combating and preventing all types of domestic violence. Employers in the private sector and public sector have certain legal and ethical responsibilities and economic priorities in terms of ensuring the health and safety of their employees and combating all the risks, be it concerning the working environment or not. When employers demonstrate that they are aware of the domestic violence and duly inform their employees about the related accessible services, they would help their employees break through the wall of silence of domestic violence that hinder many employees to seek help.’’ and added: ‘’We are pleased to support related programmes in Turkey, as we do it in many other countries. The British Embassy also appreciates having been able to support such an important event’’.  

Karl Kulessa, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Representative in Turkey

Karl Kulessa, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund Representative in Turkey, held a speech at the opening of the workshop. He said: ‘’The Turkey Office of the United Nations Population Fund has been cooperating with the private sector to address the issue of gender equality by means of the Project of Business Against Domestic Violence particularly in the past six years. We note with great satisfaction that 53 companies have participated in the project, among them some of the biggest companies in Turkey with tens of thousands of employees. No doubt that this project has priority for the United Nations Population Fund. The violence employees experience at home and the related health problems and psychological disorders affect their working life, reducing their motivation, causing increased absence from work place and a serious decline in their performance.’’  

The participants of the workshop shared their observations concerning the transformations experienced in their companies after the inclusion in the project. Thereby the participants had opportunity to discuss diverse experiences, for instance, that people have begun to challenge the roles of men and women in their company, and that men have also begun to take part in meetings held to talk about the issue, and also that women employees still have difficulty to talk about the violence they have experienced. Other experiences discussed were that chaos prevailed in the company because of the lack of clear information on some notions, and that women were still defined not as an individual, but as an actor within the scope of the family.  

About the Project of Business against Domestic Violence

The project of Business Against Domestic Violence (BADV) is a project designed by the Corporate Governance Forum of Sabancı University. It s aim is to pave the way for the creation of support mechanisms against domestic violence at work places, in an effort to make the violence against women more apparent. The project defines the measures and support mechanisms, which the business community can take and create against domestic violence on the basis of their administrative and organisational skills. The project that was launched in 2013 thanks to the grants provided by the General Consulate of the Netherlands and UNFPA aims at creating awareness at work places on the rights of women and ensuring, by improving the work environment of women, that women assume a more active role at work places.

UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund

The UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund was established in 1969 and as the biggest aid source with international funding in the area of population operating around the world. UNFPA operates in more than 150 countries for creating policies and strategies that support sustainable development. Having started its activities on a project basis, UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund has been working on reproductive health, encouraging social gender equality, collecting, using and distributing data about development and humanitarian aid in Turkey since 1971. Within this framework, the first Country Program lasted from 1988 to 1992 and now the Sixth Country Program (2016-2020) is being executed.

UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. To this end, UNFPA focuses especially 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); 

SDG 3: Good health and well-being, 

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

SDG 17: Partnerships for Goals

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