Azerbaijani filmmaker: "Rape all women dressed inappropriately"
Film director Tural Safarov, known in Azerbaijan under the pseudonym ‘Pantural’, addressed users on social media and called them to “rape women in revealing clothes”.
Several prominent Azerbaijani figures as some social media users supported his call. Safarov’s controversial appeal did not go unnoticed by law enforcement agencies either.
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“I urge everyone to rape those who dress revealingly … wherever you meet them”, film director Tural Safarov posted on his social media.
This call sparked a wave of controversy on social media in Azerbaijan. The majority of users condemned the director’s appeal, however, some supported his calls, including the popular singer Nadir Gafarzade. He even called for a “moral jihad” against women in revealing outfits.
Almost immediately, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reacted to the unrest on social media and it has been announced that the police would investigate Pantural’s statements.
While the editorial staff of JAMnews was preparing this material, another video message of “Pantural” was circulated on social media, in which he apologizes to the public. Tural Safarov admitted that he made a mistake and asked for forgiveness from the Azerbaijani people.
“I think such statements are quite dangerous”
In an interview with JAMnews, gender activist Gulnara Mehdiyeva shared her thoughts on the filmmaker’s call:
“I consider such statements to be quite dangerous for the Azerbaijani society because they normalize violence and sexual harassment so the culture of violence becomes common. This is also supported by traditional culture.
These speeches shape public opinion. He is a public figure, he has a residual number of followers. The support he has received or this statement creates the impression of a normal attitude of a part of society towards such phenomena.
What serves a rape culture? Blaming the victim herself, portraying a woman as a sexual object, etc. Pantural did exactly that”.
Gulnara Mehdiyeva notes that the filmmaker openly called for sexual harassment and rape.
“This should be considered a crime. In all cases, the perpetrator himself remains out of focus, is not innocent, and if the victim is a woman, she is blamed for what happened to her. Such an impression is created and that leaves women in a helpless position.
Such people should be subjected to public condemnation and legislation against such cases should be strengthened. At least the laws that already exist should be applied.
He apologized, but this may be his own initiative, I do not consider an apology a kind of punishment. There are crimes that cannot be corrected with an apology.
Instead of cultivating a tradition of apologizing, people should face real punishment. Only in this way will they stop taking such steps. The speeches of people like Pantural come from the fear of losing control over women”, Mehdiyeva added.
“Direct violation of human rights”
Lawyer Vafa Rustam approached the issue from a legal aspect. According to her, Pantural has a sufficient number of readers, and for this reason, his speech should be regarded as a serious offense.
“The video message of Tural Safarov is directly aimed at violating human rights. Freedom of speech has its own clear boundaries and this type of freedom should not violate the rights of others, but if it does, then there can be no talk of freedom of speech.
Pantural agitates gender discrimination against women, uses expressions that humiliate women, and insults them. One of the examples in this address, his words “are you a fool?” This is a speech full of dislike and directed against women.
This is a serious offense that could result in violence against any woman in revealing clothing. Tural Safarov creates a myth that such clothes are contrary to their nature. According to him, if a man gets aroused, he can rape anyone. This is, of course, a criminal thought and absurdity.
The second myth is that a man can control a woman and punish her because of how she dresses. He openly says that women themselves are to blame for crimes against women. This often leads to femicide”.
According to Wafa Rustam, from a legal point of view, this is a crime based on hostility:
“We support the European Convention on Human Rights, and according to that convention, violence against women is unacceptable. The opposing party must be punished. According to the 154th article of the criminal code of Azerbaijan, the right to equality is violated, and according to the 283rd article of the same code, a person must be punished for spreading social hostility through social networks.
Both Pantural and Nadir Gafarzadeh, who supported him, should be brought to justice. At the same time, women can apply for compensation for moral damage to the courts and demand that they be brought to justice. I even suggest that women unite and go to court with such a collective statement”.
Supporters and complainers
In a day, a countless number of comments appeared on social networks about Tural Safarov’s appeal. The vast majority condemn the filmmaker, but some supported it.
One of those who support Pantural’s opinion wrote:
“Let’s see what will happen in 4-5 years. Walked around the city yesterday. Saw girls aged 11-13, their shoulders and belly are not covered. They walk as if nothing had happened. And when they turn 18, they will join the feminists with a child in their arms”.
Femkulis’s Instagram page has launched a campaign of complaints against Pantural. In a short time, almost 10,000 people left their data in the comments with a desire to sign a collective statement to the court against Tural Safarov.
Singer Nadir Gafarzade was also widely condemned for supporting Pantural. The film director was also supported by another popular person from the local show business – producer Tarikh Aliyev.
After Tural Safarov apologized to the people, Nadir Gafarzadeh denied his own words: “I am a performer, what violence are you talking about ?! Let everyone dress the way they want. What does it have to do with me? Go, mind your own business”.