Dr Eylem Atakav’s documentary on child brides gets global media coverage

A ground-breaking film by a British Turkish academic about the hidden abuses women made to marry young face has received international media attention.

News about Dr Eylem Atakav’s Growing Up Married has appeared in the Daily Mail and The F-Word (both UK), New York Times (USA), Gulf Times (Qatar), Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), and many other leading titles from around the world.

The 30-minute film, which has its debut London screening this Sunday, was written, produced, and directed by Dr Eylem Atakav. In it she captures the traumatic experiences of four women in İzmir who were made to marry as teenagers.

Now in their 30s to 50s, the women recount their harrowing tales, which include being beaten, raped and forced to work like a slave, and how they have survived their ordeals.

dr-eylem-atakav“There are lots of stories about child brides, but very few that look at what happens to them after,” Dr Atakav, a lecturer in film and television studies at the University of East Anglia, told Reuters reporter Zoe Tabary.

Turkey has among the highest rates of child marriage in Europe with an estimated 15% of girls marrying before they reach the age of 18. However it is significantly better than many other developing countries where, according to UN data, the figures rise to one in three girls.

Dr Atakav hopes her film will raise awareness of “this invisible issue, and be a tool for women’s voices to be heard everywhere”.

“What I’d really like is to go show the film in Turkey,” she said. “Only privileged families, if anyone, have access to these types of films when those who most need (to see) them don’t.”

On Sunday, Dr Atakav will be answering questions about her documentary following its 2pm screening at Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, North London. Tickets are available online and on the day.