‘femicide’ is currently a hot topic in italy, with the italian government putting new laws in place to protect from the killing of women and girls because of their gender. i do not claim to be on top of all the political debates around it, but the issues surrounding femicide are interesting ones.
in late summer, the government made stricter laws to protect women, which another website explains better than i do:
‘one significant change is making it illegal to harass or stalk current or former wives and girlfriends, a measure that would have helped more than half of the victims of femicide in Italy in the last three years who had called police to report harassment and stalking before they were murdered. previously, stalking and harassment had to be proven in a court of law before an injunction could be brought against the harasser, and with italy’s notoriously inefficient court system in reality this was often of little practical use to those being stalked and harassed. another significant step forward is the provision of legal aid for any women who decides to prosecute her abuser, a particularly important step in a country where many abused women remain financially dependent on their partners.’ (1)
in doing so it was responding to a recent series of cases of horrible abuse and murder of women.
but is enforcing laws and the judicial machine really the best way to protect women? this is what many are concerned with.
first, it is one thing to tighten laws, but the institutions and structures in place to support women need to be better funded.
second, many argue that ‘femicide’ is a product of a macho italian culture which continuously objectifies women. (indeed, i was stunned in coming to italy to see the amount of quasi-naked women advertising any inane product or service. because whilst this does happen in all other countries, it’s prevalence in italy is quite striking.)
changing cultural practices is no easy thing, but surely the government should be looking to invest heavily in this area if it really hopes to make a difference.
an article in the new york times recently raised these very issues, and i highly recommend reading it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/world/europe/a-call-for-aid-not-laws-to-help-women-in-italy.html?_r=0
and to finish off with a photo, the pampaloni shop recently brought femicide to our attention through it’s usual window-political-statement-decoration: