The lawmakers in Turkey will soon pass a law that will allow men accused of raping underage girls escape punishment if they marry their victims. However, minor boys could face a term of 15 years for underage sex.
The 'marry-your-rapist' bill is expected to be tabled before the Turkish parliament by the end of January.
The bill has sparked massive protests from women in Turkey, who see it as a law that will not only legitimize child marriage and rape but will also increase child abuse and sexual exploitation of minor girls in the Islamic country.
The proposal according to the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's will help deal with the country's widespread child marriage problem. The women in Turkey but see it differently.
Fidan Ataselim, the general secretary of the activist group We Will Stop Femicide, who is among the scores of women who have taken to streets in Turkey in protest, said the new bill was aimed at destroying evidence of violence against girls and women; that been on the rise in the country.
The Erdoğan government had made a similar attempt back in 2016 with a law that too aimed at providing amnesty to child abuse perpetrators. But it was withdrawn following opposition from the Turkish women.
Dr Adem Sözüer, the head of Istanbul University's criminal and criminal procedure law department, said the new bill was likely to increase rates of violence against women and children because it "legitimizes the mentality that women are objects to possess or exist for sexual satisfaction".
In Turkey, the legal age for consensual sex is 18, and underage sex is considered rape. The Turkish lawmakers claim that the new bill is aimed at addressing the issue of child abuse. The draft, however, is riddled with loopholes that allow abusers to escape.
There are also several other issues in the new draft as even minors under the age of 15 could receive a sentence of eight to 15 years for engaging in sexual acts with each other.
As per the new bill those convicted of sexual offenses against minors, face a prison term of 40 years and it also presses for the introduction of chemical castration as punishment for offenders.