Saturday, June 4, 2011

Öykü Tekten: Sanctuary for Families and Mor Çatı Foundation

Name: Öykü Tekten

What is your job? I am a writer currently working with a literary agent, James Fitzgerald, in NY.

What charities do you support – and how? I have been volunteering for Sanctuary for Families, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence, and sex trafficking and their families. I am teaching an ESL class and also working for the Communication and Special Projects department two days a week. I also volunteered for the Mor Çatı Foundation and Women’s Shelter, a Turkish organization of gay, lesbian, transvestite, and transsexual people in Turkey by writing articles in order to gain public attention about the issues that women in Turkey deal with on a daily basis.

Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie? Born into a patriarchal society in which submission to constant reproduction, physical and mental abuse, and violence are imposed on women of all walks of life systematically, I have developed a certain resistance to the injustices that women have to face more often than men do. Women are, not only in Turkey but everywhere, at the center of violence, though most of the time they are not the creators and implementers of that violence. As a woman, I am trying to help other women since I am in a position of providing help and support to those who are in need of it.

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved? I highly encourage everybody to be aware of what is happening around them both locally and globally. The dangers of ignorance and indifference are as pernicious as the dangers they allow.

How would you define social responsibility? Being aware is our social responsibility. Thus we should all seek out the available resources that inform us of realities that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social/charitable beliefs/work? Yes, I have a tattoo. It is a very abstract drawing that can be interpreted in many different ways. Yet to me it signifies birth, death, rejuvenation, light that has a lot to do with darkness, and the mother-child motif that the goddess Kali represents. When I got the tattoo, I didn’t have a specific idea that relates to my social work but I can definitely say that it does represent a part of me which is reflected in my social beliefs and work.

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