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Turkey opens first rape victim centers

Aug. 5, 2010 at 7:41 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Organizers of the first centers for rape and sexual assault victims in Turkey want to encourage victims of the seldom-reported crime to come forward.

Three hospitals in Istanbul will have rape centers to counsel victims, offer legal advice and collect accurate physical evidence of alleged sexual assaults, Hurriyet newspaper reported.

"It is not easy at all for victims to speak about their experiences," center founder Professor Ersi Abaci Kalfoglu said.

"The center is necessary because the victims' feeling of shame and social pressure they face contribute to the difficulty for victims in speaking about the experiences," he said.

The centers, founded by Yeni Yuzyil University, will be dedicated facilities where victims can be sent after reporting to the police or a state hospital, Kalfoglu said.

Lack of expertise at state hospitals was one reason for the centers, he said.

"Doctors (at state hospitals) cannot view the matter from the angle of forensic medicine," Kalfoglu said.

"A gynecologist would know how to attend a childbirth, but he or she would not know how to collect evidence from a rape victim."

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