Dying to Divorce

Filmed over five years, ‘Dying To Divorce’ takes viewers into the heart of Turkey’s gender-based violence crisis and the recent political events that have severely eroded democratic freedoms. Through intimately shot personal stories, the film gives a unique perspective on the struggle to be an independent woman in modern Turkey.

More than one in three Turkish women have experienced domestic violence and the number of femicides is rising. But some Turkish women are fighting back. Ipek Bozkurt, a courageous lawyer, is determined to challenge this misogynistic violence by putting abusive men behind bars.

Working with a group of activists, Ipek is fighting to get justice for two survivors of horrific violence – Arzu, married off at 14 to a farmer ten years her senior and Kubra, a successful and glamorous TV presenter. From very different backgrounds, both were lucky to survive the attacks by their partners.

Arzu was married off at 14 to a farmer ten years her senior. She lost both legs and the use of her arms when her husband fired seven shotgun shells into her after she asked for a divorce. She must try to rebuild her life to regain custody of her children, who have been taken into care.

Kubra, a successful and glamorous TV presenter, suffered a brain haemorrhage after being attacked by her husband, two days after giving birth. Her injuries resulted in the loss of her ability to speak and walk. Her husband denies attacking her and has kept their daughter. Kubra must undergo intensive speech therapy in order to testify against him in court. Unless he is convicted, Kubra may not see her daughter again.

Ipek’s fight is not only against a legal system which regularly gives light sentences to male perpetrators but an increasingly repressive government whose unprecedented crackdown on dissenting voices leaves Ipek, like thousands of other lawyers, fearing imprisonment.


  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 82 & 60 mins
  • Production: Dying to Divorce Ltd (Producer: Sinead Kirwan)
  • Director: Chloe Fairweather
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: UK, Norway, Germany & Turkey


  • Best Social Issues and Current Affairs at the BANFF World Media Awards 2022 (Canada), Amnesty International Award in Greece at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2021 (Greece), Jury Special Prize / Golden Nymph Award in the Documentary (News) category at Monte-Carlo Television Festival 2021 (Monaco), Best Film Award & Students Jury Best Film Award Terraviva Film Festival 2021 (Italy), Outstanding Story Award at What If ? Women In Film Fest 2021 (Switzerland), HotDocs 2021 (Canada) in « Persister » programme which features work by women about women speaking up and being heard, Movies That Matter 2021 (Netherlands) in Camera Justitia Competition and Grand Jury Prize Competition, Millenium Documentary Film Festival 2021 ( Belgium), Biografilm Festival 2021 (Italy), Flying Broom International Women Film Festival 2021 (Turkey), Documentarist Istanbul Film Festival 2021 (Turkey), Mondovisioni at Internazionale a Ferrara 2021 (Italy), Nominated in TV Documentary Category for Prix Europa 2021 (Germany), Nominated in Lifelong learning category at Japan Prize 2021 ( Japan), Cork International Film Festival 2021 (Ireland), Foyle Film Festival 2021 (UK), Global Health Film festival 2021 (UK & Ireland online), Human Rights Documentary Days 2021 (Turkey), Nominated in the Best Documentary award category at BIFA British Independent Film Awards 2021 (UK), Nominated for Best Documentary at Rose d'Or Awards 2021 (UK), Move It! Dresden Human Rights Film Festival 2021 (Germany), Hangi Insan Haklari Film Festival 2021 (Turkey), Belleville Downtown DocFest 2022 ( Canada), Human Vision Film Festival 2022 (Austria) , Dutch Global Health Film Festival 2022 (Netherlands), Sofia International Film Festival 2022 (Bulgaria), Türkische Filmtage München 2022 (Germany), Festival des Cinémas de Turquie à Paris 2022 (France).

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Femicide: the intentional killing of a woman or a girl by a man because they are female. Typically the woman killed will either just have ended a relationship or be acting more independently. The murder is presented as an anomaly in the press: the man was depressed or the woman somehow provoked him. The real causes of femicide are rarely explored.

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