Gender-based violence is still one of the most prevalent issues in Turkey today. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, 2,337 women have been murdered by husbands, fathers, or sons in the last ten years – 78 lives were claimed in February of this year.
Rape and child marriages are still all too commonplace. Women continue to be discriminated against in the workplace and, in some regions, in education. Approximately 70 percent of the female population are homemakers – this includes women who have pursued education opportunities but are expected to give up their careers to have children and raise families.
These statistics paint a rather gloomy picture. However, programs like Homemade on SAT-7 TÜRK are encouraging women to dream for a better future, be proactive in their talents, and ensure they feel valued and loved. Programming Manager Cuneyt Arıkan explains:
“The ethos of SAT-7 TÜRK is that everyone deserves to know God’s love. We want to tell women that we care, we’re behind you, and we want to help you.”
AFFIRMATION EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING
Homemade presents a vibrant, life-affirming perspective as it invites viewers into an on-set living room and kitchen where presenter Şemsa Deniz Tolunay starts each show with a Scripture and then talks with guests from all walks of life. Chef Alp Tolunay, Şemsa’s father, introduces what he is going to cook and gets busy in the kitchen. Then actors, psychologists, lawyers, writers, and other professionals join Şemsa on the couch – either to talk about their work or to grapple with a host of practical issues, including addressing violence against women.
The show’s producer says, “We want our audience to be inspired by these courageous women, who stand on their own two feet despite the struggles they have faced.”
Şemsa shares that many “people call into the show, crying, and say ‘God speaks through you!’ When I talk about God, I feel wonderful. God uses that to bring healing.”
HEALTHY EXAMPLE OF FATHER-DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP
Alp and Şemsa are the only father-daughter co-presenters of a Turkish women’s TV talk show. Viewers have expressed that they like seeing the bond that father and daughter share on screen. The audience recognizes this wholesome, healthy relationship is formed out of love and respect, and its central point is Jesus.
This example of a respectful connection between a man and woman is encouraging female viewers to be affirmed in their capabilities, while male viewers are inspired to change their ways from the societal norm.
Some men are sending Şemsa thank-you messages saying they “see the love of God in your eyes, in your father’s eyes.” Men are also texting into the show to talk to Chef Alp, writing things like “tell us the recipe again because I want to surprise my wife/sister!”
SAT-7 programs like Homemade are essential for modeling Christ-like family relationships, tackling gender-based violence, and changing the future for women in the Middle East and North Africa. You can continue to inspire change in the region today.