Turkish women hold sex strike for water system repair, 2001

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Timing
Time Period:  
Time period notes: 
Exact start and end dates are unknown.
Approximately Mid-July
2001
to
Approximately Mid-August
2001
Location and Goals
Country: 
Turkey
Location City/State/Province: 
Siirt
Goals: 
To prompt the government to either repair the water system or to allocate supplies for its repair.
 

In 2001, in a southern Turkish village near Siirt, the water lines connecting to the public water supply broke down. This was not the first time that the 27-year-old system had malfunctioned and left the 600-person village without running water for a period of months. Women in the village were obligated to walk to a small public fountain in order to collect water to carry home—a distance of several miles, in some cases—in order to have water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. 


At an unknown date in mid-July 2001, women in the village began a sex strike to force their husbands to demand the water system be repaired. The strike was reportedly suggested as a joke, in reference to a popular Turkish movie from 1983 in which women held a sex strike to oppose unequal division of labor between men and women. The strike was ultimately taken up in earnest, particularly as the lack of running water prevented women from being able to bathe after sex—something which was traditionally required of Muslim women.

While there are no estimates of the total number of participants, within one month the men of Siirt began asking the municipality and the local governor Mehmet Capraz to either fix the water system or to supply the materials necessary for the villagers to make the repairs themselves.

On 15 August, news agencies in Anatolia, Turkey, began reporting that the government had agreed to supply the men of the village with enough pipes to construct the five-mile connection needed to ensure water supply for the village.

The men of the town reportedly began building the pipeline; however, the women vowed to continue the protest until the work was complete.

Research Notes
Influences: 

Reports say that the strike was inspired by part by a popular Turkish film from 1983, in which women held a sex strike and refused to labor in the fields while their husbands relaxed.

Sources: 
Fraser, Suzan. Angry over busted water system, women in one Turkish village enforce a sex boycott. The Associated Press News Service. 14 August 2001.

Fraser, Suzan. Turkey village sex strike continues. The Associated Press News Service. 14 August 2001.

Fraser, Suzan. Turkey sex boycott may end. The Associated Press News Service. 15 August 2001.

Hamilton, Greg. Turkish women learn to move municipalities. Hernando Times. 28 August 2001.

Staff, The Ottawa Citizen. Turkey: Sex strike does the trick, town OKs new water system. The Ottawa Citizen. 16 August 2001.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Mar Firke 13/04/2014