Historic data suggests that the first shelter for abused women was in Istanbul - in the late 1600s. Women escaping abusive husbands or fathers were allowed sanctuary at the Hatuniye convents (otherwise known as the Karılar dervish convent) on the grounds of a religious complex that included a mosque. The convent operated as a sanctuary for such women to live independent from men until at leas the 1850s. According to Fatma Sedes, the researcher who found the complex: "There is a misperception that everything starts in the West. But we see that the Ottomans also had similar institutions." It's sad, though, that they remain necessary after all these years. Maybe we could all work on that together? [The F Word]


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