The Politics of Women's Empowerment: The Transformative Struggles of KAMER (Women's Center) against Violence

By Fulya Kama Ozelkan.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 26, 2014 $US5.00

Violence against women continues to prevent them from participating in social, economic, political, and cultural life as active subjects. A shift in gendered power relations is one of the key mechanisms for women to transform a life of violence into a life without violence. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the possibilities of feminist politics based on women’s empowerment, and its transformatory potential in women’s struggle against violence with a particular focus on a grassroots women’s organization, KAMER (Women's Center) from Turkey at two levels: on the level of individual women who are active in women’s organizations and on the level of an organization. I will discuss how the individual and collective empowerment strategies of women from KAMER open up a multi-dimensional and transformative space that is productive of lasting changes in women’s lives. How do women transform a life full of violence into a violence-free one? What are their empowerment mechanisms? A woman’s organizing around the shared grounds of oppression and subordination as well as violence lead women to question their lives as the first steps of their own empowerment processes. Therefore, they become “aware” of the “political-ness” of their “private” experiences. Becoming “aware” of one’s internalized oppressions along with the experiences of violence plays a crucial role on women’s empowerment and it is a recurrent theme of this study. With the recognition of women’s own powers coming from within and with the implementation of transformatory feminist politics based on women’s collective and individual empowerment, it becomes possible to create a new world free of violence.

Keywords: Violence against Women, Women's Empowerment, Transformation, KAMER (Women's Center)

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, October 2014, pp.61-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 376.043KB)).

Fulya Kama Ozelkan

Graduate Student, Department of Women's Studies, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

Fulya Kama Ozelkan has a BA in English literature from Bogazici University and a MA in cultural studies from Sabanci University. Currently, she is a graduate student in Women's Studies at Istanbul University. Her primary research interest and experience is in gender, with a focus on violence against women. Her specific research areas include women's organisations, women's empowerment against violence, and developmental projects on women.