“Next could be me”, we read on numerous signs on November 25, on the occasion of a particularly popular International Day against Violence Against Women. More than a million people marched in the major cities of the peninsula, including 500,000 in Rome. An unprecedented wave, caused by the murder of Giulia Cecchettin. This 22-year-old student had been missing for a week before being found dead in a ravine on November 18, her body stabbed by her ex-companion Filippo Turetta, who had kidnapped her. He was arrested in Germany, where he had fled.
All the ingredients were there to fuel the media stir and shock public opinion: kidnapping, murder of incredible violence, on the run… By fueling collective indignation, this feminicide too many – the 106th of the year – has at least less permitted to open the trial of patriarchal culture in Italy. By refusing to characterize her sister’s executioner as a monster, Elena Cecchettin called on all men to conduct a deep examination of conscience. “Monsters are not sick,” she denounces in a column published in Corriere della Sera. “They are healthy children of patriarchy […] Femicide is state murder because the state does not protect us.”
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Of the 106 women murdered as of November 19 in Italy, the Ministry of the Interior counts 87 in the family or emotional sphere, including 55 by their spouse or an ex. “Every woman killed because she is “guilty” of being free is an aberration […] which pushes me to continue the path undertaken to stop this barbarity”, reacted Giorgia Meloni. The President of the Council is however accused by her detractors of reinforcing the culture of patriarchy in a country where the presence of the Vatican hinders feminist progress – a clause of conscientious objection allows gynecologists not to perform abortion – and where a machismo flattered by the sexist codes of Berlusconian television reigns. The concept of so-called honor killings with its extenuating circumstances has not disappeared from the Penal Code Italian only in 1981. It was only in 1996 that rape was reclassified as a crime against the person and no longer as a crime against morality (which reduced the penalties).
“We have had twenty years of fascism, thirty years of Christian Democracy and twenty years of Berlusconi,” summarizes filmmaker and writer Nadia Pizzuti, “that has not helped women’s rights.” The hopes born from the coming to power of one of them were quickly disappointed. Giorgia Meloni, who claims the motto “God, family, fatherland”, insists on calling herself THE President of the Council. In one year, his government has reduced funds for the prevention of violence against women by 70%, reveals the NGO ActionAid. According to a recent survey by the Noto opinion research institute, 31% of Italian women have already suffered from it, but 80% of them have not filed a complaint.
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For a decade, however, successive governments have introduced standards to speed up protection measures or toughen penalties. This repressive apparatus will once again be strengthened. Parliament unanimously adopted a bill providing for faster security for victims or the possibility of arresting a suspect, even when the crime occurring in the last forty-eight hours can only be proven by evidence. photos, videos or messages. “Repression is not enough,” however, insists Elly Schlein, the leader of the Democratic Party. She considers the awareness campaigns soon to be announced in middle and high schools by the government insufficient and calls for compulsory sexual and emotional education from a very young age in schools.
The backwardness of the status of women in Italy also has a strong economic and social impact. The employment rate for women there is 49% on average, compared to 75% for German and French women – in Sicily, this rate drops to 29%. If 60% of women had a job in Italy, GDP would increase by 7%, according to a study by Bankitalia. An argument to which a political class that is still overwhelmingly male, criticized for its archaism and inaction, could be sensitive.
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