Nevim Yildirim, who in 2012 killed the man she accused of being her rapist, decapitated him, and threw his head in the village square, has attracted attention worldwide. From prison, she explains what happened to her.
‘I’ll talk about you’
“About two years ago, we went to work the beet fields in Polatli. I was working with my brother in law. Nurettin Gider was in charge of the workers, but continuously approached us with the excuse of helping out. I told my brother in law, ‘This man shouldn’t be helping us, we can handle our work.’ When Nurettin heard this, he said to me, ‘Lady, I’m married to your husband’s aunt. We’re relatives. Why are you uncomfortable?’ I said that people might imply something wrong about the situation. Then he threatened me, saying, ‘I’ll talk about you. I’ll say you slept with me. People won’t believe you, they’ll believe me.’
‘A psychopath who does what he says’
“Nurettin was somebody who did what he said. A total psychopath. If I couldn’t get along with him, I knew for sure that he would shame me. After we returned to the village, he began to abuse me verbally, calling me and saying that he liked me and wanted to be with me. He said if I didn’t do what he wanted, he would cause problems for my husband and children. I was afraid of Nurettin, afraid both that he would talk about me and that he would damage my family.”
‘He entered my house in the middle of the night’
“My husband went to Antalya to work on the 18th of January, 2012. I lived on the top floor of our two-story house, and my father in law lived on the bottom floor. A few days after my husband left, Nurettin came to my house. He was drunk and had a pistol in his hand. I told him to leave, and he slapped me. I didn’t want my father in law downstairs to hear, so I couldn’t even scream. He threatened to murder my children, and raped me for the first time that night.”
Raping her no more. Assault, not heart disease or cancer, is the number one cause of death for women in Turkey.
‘Mommy, what happened to your hands?’
“That night of the incident there was a marriage in the village. Nurettin called and said that he was coming. ‘Don’t come,’ I said, but he didn’t listen. He said that he wouldn’t come into the house and told me to come downstairs. I didn’t do it, and said, ‘My child is asleep, I can’t come down,’ and begged him to leave. He didn’t leave and began to climb up. I knew that he was going to rape me again. I went inside, took our rifle, and shot him. At this point, he took out his pistol and fell from the roof. He started swearing at me and trying to provoke me. I thought he was going to shoot me, so I shot him a few more times. I came over and he was dead. The things he had done to me up to that point came to my mind, and I lost consciousness. I apparently decapitated him and then came home and sat in front of my door. My six year old daughter came over to me, saw my bloody hands, and asked, ‘Mommy, what happened to your hands?’ That’s when I began to come back to my senses.
‘What if the emotions of motherhood pressure me?’
“I was told that the baby in my stomach is a boy. I’m going to give birth in early November. I don’t want to breastfeed him even a single time. If I feed him, I don’t think I’ll be able to separate myself from him. Every time I look at this baby, I’ll feel as if I’m keeping the man I killed alive, as if he’s still following me. That’s why I want the state to take him as soon as he’s born. They can foster him. After giving birth, I’m afraid of the pressures caused by the emotion of being a mother, I’m afraid of not being able to give up the baby, but I don’t have any other choice.”
‘He took pictures of me while I slept’
“Nurettin came to my house drunk some nights. He would take out his gun and do what he wanted. Sometimes when he was falling down drunk, I could persuade him to leave before he did anything, but it wasn’t always possible to resist. When I said anything to him, his eyes filled with blood and he would hit me. I don’t know how or when he did it, but he took pictures of me while I was asleep. He threatened to show them to my husband and everybody else. He never showed me the pictures, I only saw them after the murder at the prosecutor’s office. I have never even been slapped by my husband, but I got a lot of beatings from Nurettin.”
‘I’m going to make you give birth’
“When I realized that I was pregnant, I went to the doctor. The baby was two months along. I wanted to get an abortion, but my husband had to sign in order to get the procedure done. I couldn’t abort the baby. I told Nurettin that I was pregnant. ‘Don’t abort, you’re going to give birth to that baby. I’m going to make you crawl, and I’m going to make you give birth,’ he said. I couldn’t do anything. I begged Nurettin to leave me alone so many times, but he didn’t listen.”
‘He sent a message to my husband’
“I don’t know how he did it, but Nurettin got a telephone in my name. From that number, he sent messages to my husband, saying things like, ‘This is Nevin. The workers at the construction site are using me. I don’t love you anymore.” When my husband called and asked, I told him I didn’t know anything about this, but the phone was registered in my name. Nurettin was trying to ruin my relationship with my husband. He had some hostility that I couldn’t understand. He was especially angry at my husband and his family. I don’t know why, but this is why he wanted to shame me.”
‘You’re the master, you’re the pasha’
To humor Nurettin, I did what I could. My only goal was to make sure nobody found out what happened to me. When he wanted something, I’d send messages like, ‘you’re the master, you’re the pasha.’ But he explained what he did to me to everybody. The village started gossiping. I couldn’t go out in public anymore. I spent my days alone at home, I couldn’t even look at my family’s faces. The gossip reached my ears, too. Nurettin was telling everybody that he was taking male enhancement pills before he visited me. This hurt me a lot.”
‘I couldn’t find any way out’
“Despite what anybody claims, there was absolutely no emotional relationship between us. If there had been any love, would it have ended this way? I hated Nurettin, but I couldn’t be free from him. I was afraid I would be shamed, afraid that my family would be damaged, and each passing day got worse. I tried to commit suicide many times, I took a lot of pills but I didn’t die. On the one hand I thought of my children and my husband, on the other hand the things I had endured… I couldn’t find any way out.”
‘My father in law asked’
“Shortly before the incident, my father in law asked about the gossip. Crying, I told him it was a lie. If I told him what had happened to me, he might not have believed me. Maybe my family and my husband wouldn’t have believed me, and then I would be ruined.
Source: Tekin Atay / HaberTürk
Translated by Allan MacLeod