Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Turkey over the weekend to protest what they described as a law that allows child rape. The proposed law pardons men convicted of statutory rape if there was no "force, threat, or any other restriction on consent" and they married the victim, reports the BBC. "A rape can't be justified," said a protester in Istanbul, adding: "What does it mean to ask a child if they're OK? Until they're 18, a child remains a child, that is why this has to be condemned. We are here so that this law can't pass."
The ruling Justice and Development Party says the law, which will affect around 3,000 families from between 2005 and this year, is an effort to deal with the problem of child marriage, the AP reports. "In the past there were people who were not aware of the law," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said. "The fathers have ended up in prison. This is a one-time measure to correct an unjust situation. It is an important problem." But critics—including the United Nations' Children's Fund—believe it will only worsen the problems of child sexual abuse and underage marriage. (Virginia finally banned child marriage this year.)