Columnists,Shehara Ratnasinghe,Top Story l by Shehara Ratnasinghe l 2 Sep 2020     - 77

#ChallengeAccepted – Instagrammers Speak Out Against Femicide


The viral social media challenge that took over the Instagram world, #challengeaccepted or “Women Supporting Women Challenge” really did make an impact on so many social media users and this was proven successful by the millions of photos which were tagged under the hashtag #challengeaccepted on Instagram. But the scary truth behind these monochrome pictures will unquestionably be an eye-opener for each one of us.

Numerous celebrities namely, Khole Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo, Gal Gadot, Victoria Beckham, Demi Lavato too participated in this challenge which made this trend take control of our social media feeds in a split second.

This challenge was initiated to bring out awareness on the high rates of femicide prevailing in Turkey and shockingly, Turkish women wake up to hundreds of monochrome pictures on their social media, on a daily basis. Even though this thoughtful movement has been uplifting women due to nominating one another while standing in solidarity with other women, the original intent has been partially hijacked due to lack of clarification and information, especially among the younger generations.

What is Femicide?

Femicide can be defined as killing of women or girls, in particular by a man, on account of her gender, mainly as a result of domestic violence etc. and these rates have dreadfully spiked up during the quarantine period. Usually the causes of femicide are rooted in gender inequality, gender expectation and systemic gender-based discrimination. Moreover, Intimate Femicide which is also referred to as intimate partner femicide, is the killing of women by their current or former partners. It is reported to have high rates of femicide in places where there is drug trafficking taking place.

These hapless incidents can also be taken as similar to the shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician, on the 13th of March 2020 and the social media movement pertaining to the death, which was carried out as a part of the #blacklivesmatter movement drew public attention in no time. Comparably, the original cause of the #challengeaccepted movement is predominantly to highlight each and every one who was brutally murdered by reason of any sort of violence and this could be you, me or your sister at any future time.

Death of Pınar Gültekin (1993-2020)

Pinar was an economics graduate who was allegedly beaten to death by her 32-year-old former boyfriend Cemal Metin Avci, in Muğla, Turkey. This occurred around a background of increased allegations of other police abuse related cases in Turkey. According to Turkish reports, over 450 women have been murdered in the year 2019 in the country, mainly as a result of sexual abuse and reportedly over 400 women have been murdered in the year 2018 because of gender based violence in Turkey.

Public Awareness through Social Media

These deaths sparked this social media campaign and it undoubtedly took the social media world by storm and over 6 million posts have been uploaded under the hashtag #challengeaccepted and many of the posts also include the hashtag #WomenSupportingWomen while pairing the photos up with many women empowering quotes.

This is the first time Instagram was flooded with monochrome pictures after the campaign to raise cancer awareness in 2016 and the current trend is picking up among the masses conclusively and also it does spark an outrage among women while also enlightening the public in this regard. But, it definitely created global awareness as a result of surging of domestic violence concerns all over the world via this newly created platform to raise your voice on current societal issues.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shehara Ratnasinghe

Shehara Ratnasinghe is a post-grad and a freelance writer for Daily Mirror features and Daily Mirror Life, with a particular enthusiasm on writing about society, lifestyle and current affairs. She is a sucker for good books and poetry. When she is not writing, you can find her doing yoga or trying out new things. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at Shehara Ratnasinghe.

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