2001 – Turkish women hold sex strike for water system repair

Women worldwide have effectively used sex strikes as a tactic to force change. From Colombia to Turkey to the Philippines, women’s actions have reduced gang crime, improved water supplies and ended clan violence restricting local economic development and trade.

In 2001, the water supply in a Turkish village near Siirt broke down, leaving the village without water for months. Village women staged a sex strike to force their husbands to demand that the water system be repaired. Within a month, the men of Siirt had asked the municipality and the local governor to either fix the water system or supply the materials necessary to make the repairs themselves. By August, the government had agreed to supply the village with enough pipes to construct the five-mile connection needed to permanently ensure water for the village.

In September 2006, the wives and girlfriends of Colombian gangsters’ staged a sex strike to force them to turn in their weapons and agree to vocational training. The women worked with the municipal government of Pereira – a city that in 2005 saw 488 homicides. Up to 100 women participated, and while there is no known end date for the strike, by 2010 there was a reported 26.5% drop in the city’s murder rate – a reduction attributed to the strike.

And in 2011 in Dado, on the Philippine island of Mindanao, a conflict-displaced women’s sewing cooperative staged a sex strike to end the sporadic outbreaks of clan violence that were blocking its access to local markets, and to bring peace to the village. The women’s husbands met other village leaders to end the fighting, and within a week, the campaign succeeded in stopping local skirmishes. Tensions subsided in the village and the road to market was reopened. The sex strike brought peace to the village and prosperity to the 102 families in Dado. With access to the road and to the market, villagers gained a sense of empowerment as villagers were able to earn a living and rely less on food aid.