Domestic violence is not a problem confined to one country or state, instead it’s a worldwide problem felt by people in all walks of life. From super wealthy CEOs to fast food workers barely getting by, domestic violence can impact anyone, anywhere.
In Turkey, the problem is especially pressing with around forty-percent of women saying they’ve suffered from domestic violence. In many cases, these women face a tragic ending.
Turkish artist and graphic designer Vahit Tuna decided to shed a light on this problem by creating a haunting memorial in tribute to all of the women in his country killed by their own husbands in the last year.
Not only is the monument a beautiful tribute to the lives lost, but it’s something that cannot be ignored or overlooked.
The artist arranged 440 pairs of shoes on the wall of a building in Istanbul, Turkey.
Each pair represents one of the 440 women who were killed at the hands of their own husbands in the last year in Turkey.
The artist was inspired to create the wall after seeing an increasing number of messages about the problem on social media.
Sadly, he noticed that the stories tend to disappear just about as soon as they start to gain attention.
As a result, Tuna felt a strong desire to create something that wouldn’t just disappear – something people could not overlook or ignore.
He selected high-heels because they symbolize feminine power and independence, something he wishes all women had.
The artist felt strongly about using high-heels instead of flats, sneakers, or any other kind of footwear.
Largely because of the aesthetic punch they provide but also because they are a symbol of women being employed and self-sufficient, not dependent on their spouses.
While the high-heels used in the project never belonged to the victims, they serve as a cultural gesture. In certain parts of Turkey, it is a tradition to place a person’s shoes outside after they pass away.
According to the artist, knowledge is power but in order to tackle a problem head-on, one must know it exists.
In order to change the system, it takes a lot of separate movement. This is something Tuna is very familiar with. After all, his projects all circulate around social and economic issues experienced in Turkey.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, in 2018, 477 women were murdered in Turkey. 120 were killed by guns, 89 by riffles and 132 with sharp objects. The remaining 136 women were choked or beaten to death.
You’ll find the art installation set up in a central location of Istanbul where the shoes will remain on display for six months.
Some interesting statistics about domestic violence:
85% of domestic violence victims are women, and 6% are children.
One prosecutor in Ankara estimated that every prosecutor in Turkey has over 10,000 cases directly related to domestic violence. The problem is so pressing in Turkey that the Justice Ministry is considering establishing domestic violence courts.
One in every four women will become a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life. Women between 20 and 24 years old are at the greatest risk.
Domestic violence is most common between 6 pm and 6 am.
The total cost of domestic violence each year is staggering, totaling over $37 billion. These costs come from law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment, as well as lost time at work.
Sadly, around 324,000 women every year will experience domestic violence from their partner during their pregnancy.
If a male witnesses domestic violence growing up, he is two times as likely to abuse his future partners as well as his children.
Domestic violence is the most common cause of injury to women, it is more common than car accidents, rapes, and muggings combined.
Fifty percent of all homeless women and children in the US are on the streets as a result of fleeing a violent partner.
While you were busy reading this, a handful of women were assaulted. In fact, one woman in the US is assaulted or beaten every 9 seconds.