Every three days in Italy a woman is killed: the State must offer them a way out

A few days ago, in the province of Modena, my city, Alice Neri, a 32-year-old girl was found charred in the trunk of her car. The hypothesis of a crime of voluntary homicide and destruction of a corpse is being investigated. Alice leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.
Some days before, Anastasia Alashri23, who fled the war in Ukraine, met her death in Fano, in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, at the hands of her husband.
It’s still: Paula Larocca55 years old, Salerno, stabbed to death by her husband from whom she wanted to separate.
Marta Castano Torres65 years old and, like her, two Chinese citizens with an unknown name – fragile among the most fragile – killed in Rome.
These are the women killed only in the last week in our country.

But I would also like to mention Alessandra Matteuzzi, 56 years old, another woman from my area, massacred last August in Bologna by her ex-partner who didn’t accept her no. And I could go on and on and on quoting Carol Maltesi, Angela Avitabile, Gabriela Trandafir and her daughter Renata Alexandra, Alice Scagni, Gabriela Serrano, Lijdia Mijikovic.
104 women have been killed since the beginning of the year, of which 89 in the affective family environment. Of these 52 found death at the hands of companions, husbands, ex. By the hand, that is, of those who had the keys to the house.

The picture is scary. Every three days in Italy a woman is killed. From 2000 to today there are over 3 thousand. And to this horror is added more horror if we think that in the background there are families, those who remain, children, orphans, collateral victims of relentless violence.

Many of these women had done everything the state asks them to do: they had denounced their perpetrator and had entrusted themselves to justice. But justice was unable to defend them. Because if the complaint is not taken seriously, if it is filed, if the protection system is skipped, for them that denunciation turns into a death sentence. And every time this happens we register a failure of justice.

Faced with these numbers, it is clear that there are flaws in the system. And you have to ask yourself what to do. Solidarity with the families of the victims is not enough. Laws have been written to combat gender-based violence for over 40 years.
In recent years, the provision that has had the most impact is the law n. 69 of 2019 (so-called code red), of which I was the first signatory and rapporteur. This law has strengthened the procedural protections of victims of violent crimes, providing first of all a preferential lane reserved for reports of gender-based violenceto ensure priority in the treatment of these cases, as happens in the emergency departments for the most urgent and serious cases.

The first aspect that we wanted to address with this provision is that of timeliness of the intervention of the Judicial Police and the Public Prosecutor. Specifically, within three days of the entry of the crime report, the public prosecutor must hear the offended person who has filed a complaint, so as to guarantee immediate intervention to protect the victims.

The law also introduced into the Criminal Code four new crimes: Violation of the provisions for removal from the family home and the prohibition of approaching places frequented by the offended person (art. 387 bis of the criminal code); the coercion or inducement to marry (558 bis criminal code); the crime of Deformation of a person’s appearance through permanent injuries to the face (art.583 quinquies of the criminal code); the offense of Revenge Porn: illicit dissemination of sexually explicit images or videos (Article 612 ter of the Italian Criminal Code).

Among other interventions it is good to represent that it was doubled the deadline for denouncing the aggressor, from 6 months to 12 months. The boy or girl who “witnesses” to the mistreatment considers himself a “victim” to all intents and purposes, even to ask for compensation for what he or she had to suffer. The law then raised the level of protection and safety of the offended persons: removal from the family home, prohibition of approaching places frequented by the victim using an electronic bracelet, specific communication obligations on the adoption of measures to release the perpetrator of violence. The law also introduced specific training obligations for law enforcement agencies dealing with the prevention and prosecution of domestic and gender-based violence crimes.

The Red Code has evidently made improvements to the women’s protection system, however it was a starting point but not an end point. So, if there are laws, why aren’t they alone enough? They are not enough because male violence against women is above all a cultural problem that has its roots in the logic of possession. Femicide is not that the tip of the iceberg of a phenomenonwider, persistent marginalization and devaluation of women in public and private life. A phenomenon that feeds on ignorance, discrimination, prejudices, stereotypes, silence and inability to love.

The laws are effective if at the same time it also starts a cultural shift, affecting the level of education, information and training. Therefore it is essential, immediately, to introduce the teaching of affective and sexual education right from the very first school desks, because educating means preventing. This means already teach children respect for themselves and for others and managing emotions. It means raising future adults who have acquired the grammar of feelings and also know how to master negative emotions, such as jealousy, anger and those generated by rejection.

It is still necessary to invest resources in the training of all operators who deal with gender-based violence; they must be trained and specialized. Able to know how to read even silences.

We’ve seen far too many cases where people ask for help had been given due weight, we would not have mourned the umpteenth woman killed. We also need to intervene on those who do harm, strengthening the centers for them abusive men with serious recovery paths. Because sometimes those who create the problem are not aware that they are the problem and above all because these individuals sooner or later leave prison and if they are not rehabilitated they return to violent behavior.

Jail cannot be just a place of detention, it is an opportunity for recovery, to ensure that whoever leaves does not commit a crime again.
It is necessary to guarantee a homogeneous network of anti-violence centers and shelters throughout the national territory with the allocation of adequate economic resources, trained personnel and effective coordination between national, regional and local authorities. The victim of violence must never feel alone, but have them around a strong and concrete network.

How many times have we heard the question “why don’t they leave home if they suffer violence?”. Because to be able to leave home, you need to have a safe place to take refuge for as long as it takes to organize yourself an independent life. Too many have no income and depend on the violent man. This situation of economic fragility it puts them in a state of relational dependence that fuels the idea of ​​not being able to do it alone and traps them in a cage of resignation.

The State must offer them a way out and this passes through self-sufficiency, work and from functioning welfare. Therefore it is necessary to standardize regulations and funding for actions to combat violence against women, providing immediate compensation, increasing the resources allocated to the Fund against gender violence and discrimination, the Fund for equal opportunities, the Fund for victims of violent intentional crimes, to the Anti-Trafficking Fund.

We need to strengthen the freedom income for the victims, in order to provide them with economic independence and increase self-entrepreneurship projects. When a woman denounces she does not ask for revenge, but she asks to be protected, listened to, believed and not to be blamed. You ask for an alternative to violence.

Alongside this we need to improve the measures to protect women. Be more effective and courageous.
Come on electronic bracelets which must be used and functioning, to the prohibition of approaching and the removal order up to the better circulation of information between civil and criminal courts to avoid paradoxical situations of joint custody in the event of intra-family violence.

It is more than ever necessary to revise the law n. 54 of 2006, on the subject of big parenting.
Double parenting cannot be foreseen at all costs, if it involves living with an abusive parent and is to the detriment of the minor.
At parliamentary level, I have already proposed the establishment of a national database and a new parliamentary commission of inquiry into the removal of minors from their families in order to complete the work begun in the last legislature which revealed far too many flaws in a malfunctioning child protection system.

For too long feminicides have been telling how acts of anger, fits of jealousy, exasperated and occasional behaviors, it has also been said that they were a response to the victim’s aggressive or even provocative attitudes. The victim has always been placed in the dock, blamed, not believed and all of this she has created a form of normalization and trivialization of violence and all of this is unacceptable. Language plays a fundamental role in the construction of the reality that surrounds us.

If gender-based violence continues to be perceived and told how part of the marital conflict, reduced to mere emotional conflict in which both are victims: she of violence, he of exasperation, we push away the desired cultural change. This is a narration, daughter of the culture of rape that normalizes gender-based violence and removes responsibility, indeed justifies, the perpetrator.
A re-victimization of women that we can no longer afford.

Male violence against women should no longer be tackled as an emergency, but as a structural criminal phenomenon ingrained in our society. And all these commitments to which I mentioned and which are contained in my motion which was approved yesterday in Parliament must be transformed into norms and concrete facts. They don’t have to stay on paper. Because the victims don’t have time.

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