Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Association for the Struggle Against Sexual Violence (CSMD)


According to a comprehensive research study conducted by CSMD in 2017 of 3,000+ youth ages 15-18: 64% believe a victim of violence is responsible for the violence;

69% believe virtual violence is ‘not real life’; 61% believe violent behavior is not controllable and nearly 40% believe jealousy is an expression of love. These and many other outcomes of this research reveal a serious need to inform youth and reverse attitudes related to violence among youth such as bullying and Gender Based Violence (GBV), especially as GBV among youth in Turkey is not perceived as a ‘serious risk’. Talking about sexual behaviors/relations is culturally not acceptable and conversations with parents and other elders is very difficult and often not possible. Governmental institutions (schools, health centers, etc.) do not provide preventive materials related to GBV nor are there any
adequate policies, procedures or services. The capacity on this topic of professional experts, students, parents and educators is insufficient. Comprehensive education programs on sexual health, gender and GBV are not implemented in formal education nor in the trainings of civil servants in public institutions. Given the limited number of NGOs working directly on this topic, there has been an increasing demand for CSMD workshops from high schools, municipal youth centers, universities, and other NGOs working with youth. In 2019 alone, there were requests from 34 high schools, 76 universities and youth groups, 12 municipal centers and 14 NGOs. However, in October 2019, the Ministry of Education removed gender equality and gender-based content from the aims and purposes list of the formal education curriculum. This change means that school counsellors will most probably not take risks and invite NGOs to school to provide information and support on these topics. As it becomes more difficult to work with public schools on gender issues, CSMD strategically planned to shift the main stakeholders from public school-based educators to local authorities and municipality youth workers. CSMD’s 3-year strategic plan confirms municipalities and youth workers as main stakeholders.


CSMD was established in 2014 to prevent sexual violence and help youth have healthy relationships, set boundaries, address bullying and different types of dating violence, understand and apply consent, and access help when needed. They work with youth (15‐24) and adults, helping raise awareness regarding digital, dating and gender‐based violence. LGBTQI+ youth, children, migrants and disabled people are also a very important segment. Since 2016, they reached 3,500 students in 7 high schools mainly in Istanbul and 5,500 students indirectly during 2017-2018 through training more than 200 school counselors. CSMD developed informative awareness raising, age‐appropriate, comprehensive visual and printed materials for teenagers, a Training of Trainers guide and other materials for youth and teachers/ counselors. CSMD’s expertise includes a range of issues to address Sexual Violence: Gender-based violence, date violence, healthy relationships, preventive and protective techniques, reproductive and sexual health and rights, comprehensive sexual education, LGBTQI+ rights, visual culture and representation of sexual violence in media, rape crisis centers, support systems and sexual violence and discrimination in sports. These issues are addressed mainly through three activities: Education, advocacy, and guidance/support counseling. CSMD works very closely with NGOs, high schools, universities, municipalities and the media to promote awareness and execute protective-preventive training. CSMD has a strong emphasis on working with the media (companies, journalists, university students from departments of communication and media) regarding reporting of sexual violence. In addition, CSMD organizes social media campaigns, sexual violence concepts discussion meetings, and symposiums.

Current Grant:

Sexual violence poses a risk to youth, especially girls and young women. EMpower’s 2nd grant to CSMD will expand provision of information on preventing sexual violence and other related healthy relationships topics (for ~1450 youth ages 15-24); via workshops mainly in Istanbul. CSMD will also initiate public awareness campaigns, update and expand training content, and capture experiences from the field to prepare policy suggestions for educational materials and lesson plans.

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