In this week’s episode, Shevonne talks about Melek Ipek, a Turkish women who killed her abusive husband in self defense.
You can find the entire transcript on https://podcast.femalekillers.com.
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Domestic violence is an awful thing that has been happening for too long. I remember one of the concerns during the pandemic was that victims of domestic violence would be stuck with their abusers and have no one to help them. In 2020, domestic violence cases increased around the world. In Argentina, it increased by 25%. Singapore saw an increase of 33%. In the United States, it was around 20%. In Turkey, Melek Ipek shot her husband in self-defense after 12 years of domestic violence and a hellish night where this man tortured her two young daughters and her and would have eventually murdered them if she hadn’t.
Melek Ipek would, unfortunately, meet Ramazan Ipek while she was in high school. At this time, Melek excelled in school and had dreams of becoming a Math teacher. Her dreams were trampled on by Ramazan Ipek. Her friends hooked her up with Ramazan after he saw her at a wedding. He had just returned from mandatory military service.
They were friends for a couple of months, and he started getting violent with her. Melek decided to end their three-month friendship.
After the insistence from friends, Melek went out with Ramazan for the last time. They went to the Eksili Pond. Eksili Pond is a beautiful place. It’s a lovely, tranquil pond surrounded by trees where people go camping, canoeing, etc. In this lovely place, Ramazan would sexually assault Melek. Melek did not tell her family that he had raped her. Ramazan then asked for her hand in marriage. Her father at first objected, but then he approved the union. Melek married him because of the rape, which is so sad. During the engagement, Ramazan would beat her but only in areas that she could cover-up.
This is even with him staying with Melek’s family cause his family kicked him out. Even at the wedding, his family did not come even though they were invited. This is a huge red flag that Melek’s family probably saw. Melek already knew that Ramazan was terrible news.
Melek’s family got them a house and even furnished it. Melek still dreamed of working, so she could get Ramazan to allow her to take the university entrance exam. A year and a half later, Melek had to drop out due to Ramazan and his jealousy.
When Melek got pregnant, Ramazan started his threats. He threatened that he would kill her parents and rape her sister.
Melek described in court that he would beat her for no reason. He would just flip. They would be joking around one minute, and then he would be beating her.
In her testimony, Melek says that she thought about filing a complaint against him even when her first daughter, nine now, was born. However, she didn’t because Ramazan would threaten her and exclaim, “If you obtain a protective measure, I will go to the commissariat for the interrogation, and when I come back, I will kill you and the child.”
Self Defense from Domestic Violence
Melek Ipek was severely beaten and raped by her husband Ramazan Ipek for 12 years.
He would even beat the oldest daughter. When he did, the daughter did not cry. She didn’t because she knew that if she cried, Ramazan would beat her even more.
Seven months before Ramazan was killed, she testifies that he beat her, and he said, “I will kill you right here and make dog food out of you. No one will find your trace.”
On January 7, 2021, Melek says that Ramazan sent her a Whatsapp message despite being in the same room.
His message read, “I want us to separate.”
Melek replied, “as you wish.”
He then sent her another message, “can you go in the other room”
Melek said she got up, took their two daughters, and went to another room.
The messages kept coming. She remembers him writing, “I want to talk to you about custody of the children. One of the two can stay with you, the other with me.
Melek responded to him, “let’s not separate them, keep them both; in any event, I will take them back later.”
When the kids went to bed, which was around 10:30 PM, Ramazan came into the room with a hunting rifle usually hanging in the living room. He then said, “I am going to kill you. Say sssssssyour final prayer.”
Ramazan would then aim the rifle at Melek while she pleaded with him not to kill her. Remember that this was in front of their two young daughters. Those poor girls were hugging each other and crying. Melek did what any protective parent would do. She got in front of her daughters. Melek pushed the rifle barrel away, and that is when Ramazan shot.
Melek says that the bullet went into the window.
Ramazan then aims the rifle at the girls. He then said, “First I will have you live the pain of your children, then I will kill you.” Melek tried to shield her daughters, and Ramazen proceeded to hit her with the rifle.
She describes how she was wounded.
Her face, eyes, arms, shoulder.
Ramazan didn’t stop there. He then grabs her by the hair, beats her with punches, and kicking her. He even hit her with her phone. Melek started screaming, probably thinking he was going to end up murdering her daughters and her. Ramazan grips her throat and tells her to shut up. He then proceeds to start strangling her. Even while she felt like everything was going dark, Melek could get away from him and run. But, he grabbed her and continued to beat her. He then strangled her again, and she passed out.
When she woke up, Melek found that she was tied up in a fetal position in the bathroom. Her neck was tied to her hands and those to her feet with a nylon cord that Ramazan used for hunting. He comes into the bathroom and starts spraying her with cold water. She felt pain and realized that he had forced himself on her while she was passed out. The walls were covered with Melek’s blood, and this fuck was naked and showering.
While he was doing that, he was making sure to wash away any traces of her blood. When he cleaned himself and the bathroom, he left her alone cold, wet, tied up, and in pain.
Ramazan comes back with a Rambo knife and says to her, “If I knife you a bit lower, it will go into your lungs, if I knife you a bit higher, I’ll make a hole in your heart, but if I knife you here, you will die in worse suffering.” Melek continued pleading with him, and he responds to her, “I will kill you, I will lay out the children too, here.”
All of a sudden, Ramazan unties her and tells her to take a shower. Melek showered and wrapped herself with a towel. They went into the living room, and Ramazan tied Melek up again. They had a sofa bed, and he opened it up. He took off her towel and told her to lie down. She told him that she couldn’t because her hands were tied in her back. He said, “Lie down in silence, or I’ll throw you out through the balcony. I won’t kill you in the darkness of night but in the full light of day and put you to pieces.” Throughout all this, the girls were in their room quiet. Melek says she thinks he probably threatened them to remain quiet. But then the older daughter was heard vomiting. Instead of being concerned, Ramazan yells, “get to bed and sleep, don’t get yourselves killed.” He then changes the way he had her hands tied from her back to her front. Usually, sofa beds have a space between the mattress and sofa, and he had Melek lay in there, and then he went to sleep.
When he woke up the next day, he says to Melek, “Wait here for me to come back, when I come back, I’ll finish what I started.” He then tells the kids, “When I come back, I will kill you and your mother. Don’t leave the house.”
While he was gone, the older daughter tried to untie her mother’s handcuffs but couldn’t. Melek desperately tried to find a way to stop him from killing her. Melek’s daughter covered her mom in a sheet, and it seems Ramazan didn’t lock the apartment, so Melek went to their neighbors Turgut and Semra Yaraşlı. Semra opened their door and said to Melek, “what state are you in?”
Like many people in domestic violence situations, Melek downplayed the situation and said, “we had an argument again.” Melek then asked if they had her rifle, and Semra said she didn’t. Melek then went home.
Melek and her daughters went back home. The girls kept asking Melek, “will our daddy kill us?” The eldest daughter even peed her pants. After sitting there in fear, they heard Ramazan’s car. The girls started crying and saying, “Mommy, daddy is here, is he going to kills us?” Melek left the kids in their rooms and went into the room at the entrance o the apartment. While Ramazan was coming up the stairs, this guy was cursing and yelling that he would kill them. He kicks in the door and starts yelling.
Melek was trying to hide in a corner when she saw a shotgun that was used for birds.
She was still handcuffed, but she was able to get the gun. Melek says that the ties kept her from reaching the trigger. Ramazan found her and saw her holding the gun and said, “you are going to kill me?” They struggled, and the gun went off. Melek says she thought she was the one who got shot, but Ramazan was on the floor covered in blood when she looked down. Melek took his cell phone and called 122, which is 911 in Turkey. She told them that she had shot her husband.
The police and ambulance arrived. I said I had shot my husband and that they needed to call an ambulance. The police took off the handcuffs, and Melek got dressed. She was then taken into custody.
Melek says, “I am sad and regret everything that happened. But if such a misfortune had not occurred, I and my two daughters would be dead. I killed my companion who tortured me all night, I cleared my honor.”
In prison, Melek Ipek was not given any healthcare or psychiatric evaluation. Remember that she was severely beaten, tied up, threatened, sexually assaulted, and no healthcare, at least for physical injuries.
Also, during the indictment, Ramazan Ipek was depicted as a family man, and Melek Ipek like the villain who didn’t go and try to find help for her daughters and her.
Instead of reaching out to her neighbors and police, she decided to murder her husband.
Melek’s case caused activist groups that advocate for women to rally around her. A Turkish rights group called We Will Stop Femicide Platform said that in 2020, over 300 women were murdered by their families or partners.
In March 2021, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to pull the country out of the world’s first binding treaty created in 2011 to end violence against women.
The 2011 Istanbul Convention set preventative measures and protections for survivors and punished the perpetrators who committed violence against women. Countries that signed the treaty have made some changes to help women. For example, many countries changed their legal definition of rape that better matched the treaty, including Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Croatia, and Greece.
Erdogan did not give a reason for pulling out of the treaty, but government officials stated that domestic law would protect Turkish women, not outside forces. Other countries are also wanting to leave the treaty, like Poland. The reason? They think that it promoted LGBTQ rights?
“To suggest that this treaty, for example, promotes homosexual marriage — which is one of the items listed by [governments] — is simply not true,” said Daniel Höltgen, the spokesperson for the Council of Europe’s secretary-general “The word ‘gender’ seems to irritate and lead to wild speculations [...] The treaty is not promoting anything else. There is “no other agenda” besides eliminating violence against women.
Even with the reversal of protection for women who have suffered violent crimes from partners and others, it was a pleasant surprise that on April 28, 2021, a Turkish court ruled that Melek Ipek acted in self-defense. It was even more surprising because it has been said that the courts usually rule against women when they act in self-defense in domestic violence cases. Also, the judge applied the 2011 Istanbul Convention treaty to Melek Ipek’s case.