Tuesday, May 1, 2012


By: Dan Bilefsky and Sebnem Arsu

Published: The New York Times, April 25, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com (Google the text if you have trouble with the paper)

Level of Difficulty: ** For the reading, task but can be done at any level as a prelude to writing.

Thanks are due, once again, to my friend and colleague Kerem Özkan for this interesting text.


1.       How common is corporal punishment in your country?

2.       What are the most common reasons for the prevalence of corporal punishment?

3.       How common is domestic violence?

4.       What, in your view, are the reasons for domestic violence?

5.       Is domestic violence more widespread in certain societies in your view; if so, what kind of societies?

6.       What are the ways in which the problem can be tackled?


1.       It is implied that Gokce has turned prematurely gray because of ………………………….(Be very brief).

2.       What did Gokce accuse the government of being?

3.       Current figures concerning instances of domestic abuse are unreliable since ……………………….

4.       Despite the above, rights groups feel there is an increase in domestic abuse due to the following two reasons:

5.       Although the current changes in laws concerning compulsory education bring Turkey in line with international standards, it is feared these changes will …………………………………………………..

6.       What does “their” refer to in the phrase “With their rise, rights groups say…”?

7.       In what shameful respect does Turkey top the US and Europe?

8.       Does the current legal framework facilitate domestic violence or not? How do you know?

9.       What proof does Nigar Goksel offer to the fact that family integrity takes precedence in Turkey?

10.   What amendment still needs to be made to enable more women to join the work force?

11.   A lot of legislation friendly to women has been passed in the last ten years; however, the problem of domestic violence still persists because ………………………………………………………..

12.   How is the conclusion that finding protection is proving elusive reached?


The following solutions may be gleaned from the text. Before you start writing, you may want to think about how to order or organize them to provide transition and to make your piece of writing look like a well reasoned essay. One possible suggestion is dividing them into two groups: immediate and long term solutions and having a four paragraph essay. There are others however. Also, you might be able to think of solutions yourself which you may want to incorporate.

1.       Providing protection when needed by opening more shelters (The law states that every municipality with more than 50.000 people is required by law to have at least one women’s shelter) and encouraging reporting.

2.       Empowering women by making it possible for them to seek employment and by opening subsidized day care centers

3.       Making sure the existing laws are enforced by campaigning to change hearts and minds( Via the media, schools and mosques)

4.       Speeding up the training of police officers and establishing special units to deal with domestic violence perhaps with more female officers.


As stated at the beginning, this activity could be handled as a challenging reading task at beginner and pre intermediate level, or as a prelude to writing at intermediate and advanced level. Related videos off tedtalks or other websites would add color to the proceedings. Students could make notes as they view the video and include this information in their essays as well.One video you could use is the one accompanying the video related writing activity on domestic violence in the writing files.

  1. Her abusive husband. Class time is teaching time. They will try and give you a two paragraph answer but there is no harm in helping them locate the summary phrase.
  2. The number one enemy
  3. There is serious underreporting of domestic violence.
  4. Turkey’s flagging prospects for EU membership, a Muslim inspired government which is increasingly embracing the conservative values of the Arab world it seeks to lead.
  5. Encourage the practice of taking child brides.
  6. An ascendant class of religious conservatives.
  7. With respect to the incidence of domestic violence against women
  8. It doesn’t. The current laws mentioned in the text.
  9. Rising domestic violence and women’s slow participation in the workforce.
  10. Subsidized childcare needs to be provided.
  11. It is not enough to change mentalities in an abidingly patriarchal nation and to ensure that the new laws will be fully implemented.
  12. The first two sentences of the previous paragraph.

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