Submitted to AAI for our member’s consideration; translated by Google:
I am 40 years old. I live in Istanbul, Turkey. And I want to share with you my experiences as an atheist woman.
In 2003 from Gaziantep, I was constantly insulted by my family because of my religious views. When my father learned that I was an atheist, I saw more violence. My father locked me in the room. They beat me for days and tried to force me into marriage. My uncles, uncles, aunts and aunts all gathered together and said, ‘What is the girl’s part to do with such things.’ One day, I left the locked room and ran away from home and came to Istanbul in 2003.
I went to the courthouse in Istanbul and testified that my family wanted to marry me by force, they were using violence, I did not have security of life, and I lived by keeping my address secret for years. My family has been looking for me for years. And instead of protecting me, our state delivered me to my family at the first opportunity.
I found a way and managed to escape again. I escaped to Istanbul and hid. In 2006, I married a flame. Again, I did something my family didn’t want. Because they excluded Alawite and Kurdish people and behaved badly. I had one daughter from my marriage in 2008. I worked for years and after a while my husband started to force me in line with his Alevi belief. When I answered in line with my belief that there is no god, I always saw violence and humiliation and contempt in response. He was finding emptiness from the absence and unacceptance of my family. He threatened and beat me every time I said I wanted to leave. In 2015, he said that if I gave him custody of my daughter and gave him my money that I had saved for years, he would get a divorce. I did what he said. But I took my daughter. Officially, he has custody. Then I opened a custody case and it took 5 years. I got custody of my daughter.
I did not talk to my family for years, I did not talk, I always hid my address. I’ve been dating for the last 3 years. After finding out that I was divorced, my father and brothers were even more enraged. You have ruined the honor and honor of our family, atheist, infidel Godless – we know how to correct you without God. My family started to apply more pressure, saying, “You can either turn to Islam, tie your hijab, marry a Muslim, or come to us this time, you can’t leave the house.” They want to force me to marry again. What are you going to do with your young daughter in a place like Istanbul, atheist, hypocrite…. marry the man we said don’t make our name worse there, or they threaten you by saying that your end is in our hands this time. I changed my address and I am trying to live my life as an atheist because I don’t want to be a religious person as they want.
I am fighting for my daughter’s life to get a more scientific education under these difficult Islamic conditions. I am fighting against the threats of my family. And the attitude of the state, which is governed by the political Islamic system, towards women’s rights is not positive at all. The ruling party governs the state and society with the argument of religion. Our President is threatening the society by targeting us as atheists. When people realize that you are an atheist, you are faced with either swearing, violence or exclusion, being fired from the workplace, being threatened by neighbors, being mistreated.
In return for all this, I continue my struggle for life with my daughter. I hope that our future generations will form more advanced societies under the leadership of science when the whole world is cleared of religious bigots and the religion-god phenomenon disappears and is enlightened in the light of science. It will give me and my daughter courage and strength if you include my story.