Her business named 'Jîyan' rises from the ashes

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AMED - Hayat Ozmez was married at the age of 16, divorced the man she subjected to violence after 23 years and started a new life with her business called "Jîyan (Life)". Ozmez, the only woman among the male tradesmen, demolished the walls that were wanted to be built around her, one by one.
 
It is not known exactly what her family thought when they gave her the name "Hayat (Life)" when she was born, but approximately 40 years of her 46-year life were spent in the grip of the male-dominated system, dominating her life. The story of Hayat Ozmez (46), who was born and raised in Sur district of Amed, is the story of a woman reborn from her own ashes.
 
Ozmez, who was married at the age of 16, had to leave the land of her birth in 1995 due to her marriage. Ozmez, who settled in Kocaeli and was exposed to racism because she was a Kurd, could not stand it any longer and returned to Sur with her family in 2011. Ozmez, who had 3 children during this time, was subjected to physical and psychological violence during her marriage. Ozmez, whose son and father were shot and injured by snipers during the curfews in 2016, tried to overcome all these processes with her children. Ozmez, who decided to divorce in 2018 due to the violence she experienced during this period, started distributing the Welat newspaper. Ozmez, who made new decisions in her life with newspaper distribution but could not continue distribution due to health problems, clung to life with the business she later opened.
 
Hayat Ozmez, who started a new life with her business named "Jîyan", told her story to our agency.
 
SHE GOT MARRIED TO NOT BE ‘KIDNAPPED’
 
Ozmez explained how she got married off at a young age due to the "fears" brought about by the feudal mentality, with the following words: "I am one of the victims of early marriages. My father was in prison at that time, and upon the possibility that the man who wanted to marry me and his family might kidnap me, my mother married me to that person, thinking, ‘Let's get married rather than get kidnapped.’ Since my mother was married at the age of 12, this situation did not seem very contradictory to her.”
 
'I GROWED UP WITH MY CHILDREN'
 
Stating that they settled in Kocaeli after getting married and lived in Kocaeli for 15 years, Ozmez stated that she was exposed to racism due to her Kurd identity. Ozmez said: “They did not give us a house because we were from Amed. I had to move house every two years. I couldn't stand being marginalized any longer, so I went back to my hometown, Amed. During this period, I had 3 children. I was also growing up with my children.
Ozmez stated that she went through a marriage process in which women were viewed as "slaves" and that she was subjected to physical and psychological violence. She tried to find her own solutions to economic problems. Stating that she took care of her children by doing manual labour because she was not allowed to work, Ozmez explained that she was also exposed to state violence in addition to male violence.
 
ERA OF PROHIBITIONS
 
Ozmez was in Sur during the curfew in December 2015. She explained that they did not leave the neighbourhood with their children for a long time and they lived under bombardment for 6 months. Ozmez said: “We were left alone with my 3 children. Even during that period, the man I was married to did not provide any financial or moral support. My father and son were shot by snipers. The psychology of my children and nephews was turned upside down because of the bomb sounds every day. We would crawl around the house and go to the sink or the kitchen. The inside of our house was constantly monitored with a laser. We had to leave as there was no one left in the neighbourhood except us. 6 years later, I went to see the structures built to replace the demolished houses. Structures such as model houses. There was a historical destruction there. We can never forget the traumas created in us."
 
SHE DECIDED TO DIVORCE
 
Stating that the official divorce process took a long time due to social pressures, Ozmez said: “I lived a life I did not want due to social pressure. You have to take shape with someone's ideas, and if you rebel, you are marginalized. I realized that I could no longer bear this burden and decided to leave after 23 years. Divorce was a very difficult process. It was a contentious divorce. The custody of the children, my lack of economic freedom, the fact that I was going back to my family, all of this traumatized me."
 
WOMEN'S AWARENESS INCREASED IN THE NEWSPAPER
 
Ozmez, who started distributing newspapers upon the reference of a woman friend after her divorce, said that women's awareness was strengthened in newspaper distribution, which she started for "economic reasons". Ozmez continued: “As a mother of three children, I started to meet the needs of my children. Although I distributed newspapers in the early days with the idea of doing something financially, later I felt that this field strengthened my women's awareness and I stopped paying allegiance. Everything changed in my life after I stopped paying allegiance. On the one hand, I was distributing, on the other hand, I was making and selling scented stones. I would go to newspaper distribution in the mornings, and after the distribution was over, I would come to the workshop and make the orders. I became aware of real women in the newspaper. I thought there were some shortcomings throughout my life, but I couldn't name them. Until I reached women's awareness as my environment changed during my time as a distributor. After this awareness was formed, I said, 'I am a mother, a woman, I can overcome many things if I want.'"
 
'I FOUND MYSELF IN A NEW WAR'
 
Ozmez, who had to take a break from newspaper distribution due to health problems, later started working as a shopkeeper in Bayramoğlu District of Rezan (Bağlar) district. Ozmez, who made and sold toast and pancakes but was not accepted by the man shopkeeper in the neighbourhood where she worked as a shopkeeper for a long time, explained the difficult process she went through as follows: "I had come out of the war in Sur and the war against men, but I found myself in another war. The reason was that the shopkeepers here were not used to woman shopkeeper. They have no woman consciousness, they are completely the manifestation of the male-dominated mentality. Man shopkeepers saw me as a threat. I have been working as a shopkeeper in Bayramoğlu for 6 years. As a woman shopkeeper, it was not easy for me to work here.”
Stating that the first years of being a shopkeeper were spent trying to prove himself, Ozmez said that the view of a "divorced woman" has still not changed in society.
 
SHE NAMED HER BUSINESS 'JÎYAN'
 
Ozmez, who named her business "Jîyan", which means "life" in Kurdish, explained the reason for this as follows: "I wanted to have a new life after ending my marriage." 
Expressing that she was pleased with the change created by the women's struggle, Ozmez also said that the People's Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) she took part in women's work in the management of Amed Provincial Organization. Ozmez said: "Women are seen only as a commodity in the male-dominated mentality, women must oppose this understanding. For this, we must raise awareness, if necessary, we must raise awareness of all women by going from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, house to house. Every day is our day. But unfortunately, we are confined to certain days. We must get out of this jam and see 365 days of a year as women's day. March 8 is our day, women's day. I want all women to be in the areas that day."
 
TOMORROW: YPJ Spokesperson: We are fighting against colonialists and patriarchy
 
MA / Eylem Akdağ
 

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