A Turkish photographer beat up a client after finding out the bride was a 15 year old child. The photographer has since been applauded for taking action at the moment and for taking stance on the face of wrongdoing.
On July 5th, Onur Albayrak, the photographer was hired to photograph the wedding at Malatya’s Turgut Ozal Nature Park. When Onur reached there, he was puzzled to notice such a young bride which raised the red flag and followed his to ask the groom of her age, to which the groom replied 15 years old. Shocked and upset Onur reacted angrily and the two men got into a fight which left the groom with a broken nose.
Onur has confirmed that the reports are true on his Facebook account on July 7th, and he believes that what he did was right and does not regret his actions. Onur states, “A child bride means child abuse, and no force in the world can make me photograph a child as a bride.” Onur remarked that the first time he saw the bride, she was at the wedding, and he instantly knew she was a child. He felt her fear because she was trembling.
Onur has since then been hailed as a hero were many have thanked him for saving the child and not looking the other way around at the plight of this child in such situation and for stepping in.
Child marriage has been a pressing and persistence issue in Turkey. Many groups have been warned of the drastic numbers of child marriage and have raised campaigns on combating child marriage in Turkey. Girls Not Brides, a campaign against child marriage, has reported that 15% of the girls are married before the age of 18. However, the statistical value can be much higher than that since many child marriages get undocumented and are done privately amongst family. The campaign noted that the dramatic influx in child marriage has been caused by the civil war in Syria which has caused an influx of refugees into Turkey, and has led many young helpless girls to become a victim of child marriage.
A survey conducted by UNHCR in 2014 has reported that parents of these Syrian refugee girls have said that if they had the money then they would not have resorted into marrying off their young daughters. The report reveals that the average age of these Syrian refugee girls in Turkey who were married off was between the age of 13 and 20 years old.
In general, child marriage is always on the rise as a mean to survive in dire situations, where parents who are not able to meet household expenses or feed extra mouth in their house, decide that marrying off their young child is the best idea. In the light of poverty, and the bad environment, many parents marry off their young daughters to save their honour and save them from the violent environment. However, there are always other cases that child marriage takes place due to a money deal between both parties, where a girl is helpless to get married.
In Turkey, the Turkish law outline that the legal and minimum age to marry is 18, and therefore, marriage before the age of 18 is not legal unless in exceptional circumstances where a judge’s order allows marriage at the age of 17. Perpetrators are punished and granted a prison sentence for conducting an unofficial marriage with a child which deemed as child abuse in the Turkish Penal code.
In light of everything happening, we need a hero like Onur.