The endless violence on women, the other side of the pandemic

by Mary Fagioli
If I were

In the first six months of 2020, the number of murders decreased while the number of femicides increased in Italy. A report of the first semester 2020, released by the Criminal Analysis Service of the Ministry of the Interior, highlights how gender-based violence has risen during the lockdown period. It is definitely a worldwide phenomenon.

One of the leading causes of death in females between 16 and 44 around the world is murder, often committed by known people, in particular partners. According to the public institution ISTAT, in Italy one in three women has been subjected to violence during her life, especially in the family.

The framework has drastically worsened during the Covid-19 outbreak, that is afflicting all of humanity. A pandemic within the pandemic. Between March and June 2020, calls to the Italian anti-violence number 1522 doubled, as stated by the ActionAid report. In addition, there are difficulties such as halving the staff between illness and quarantines, or critical issues in the reception facilities. Consequently, the first wave put institutions in trouble, initially cancelling the right to health and other individual rights. Access to places for abused women has also been significantly reduced, with workforce in smart working and new connections diminished. The requests for help from migrant women also collapsed.

Although an urgent need for adequate support under these circumstances has emerged, until summer 2020 any Prime Ministerial Decree has not been issued, to address the situation and strengthen the system of anti-violence centres and shelters. Discontinuous and sometimes late allocation of funds can definitely affect the right of women to be concretely assisted.  
To this must be added the regional systemic variability. In fact, each territory guarantees a different service and investment, which may also depend on the types of resources made available, whether regional or national, and if activities are centralized or the competences delegated. Regions such as Calabria, in Southern Italy, have 1 shelter for every 218,000 women over the age of 14. Sicily, on the other hand, does not distribute any regional funds, measuring in 2019 an administrative transparency index equal to 2/29, while in 2020 it shows an improvement that brings it to 35/41. Another question is the misalignment with the standards established, which involves an unprepared and often voluntary staff, lack of methodologies, and the absence of practical means, such as masks and gloves, which at the beginning of the pandemic were distributed only in very few exceptions, remembering the case of Lombardy where the pandemic exploded. Another sore point is the little publicized public number 1522, which has reduced the information on the services that women can access.

The television programme @AmoreCriminale provides very helpful information on the Italian h24 anti-violence number 1522, via Twitter.

Violence against women is a global matter. Currently, the aggravating factor must be found in home isolation that confines abusers and victims, as a direct consequence of the lockdown. Women have to reconsider new ways to ask for help, like in Ohio and Turin where they phoned the police to order pizza. In these cases, the operators realized that they were in a context for which prompt intervention was necessary. In Great Britain, too, the first weeks of total closure saw 4,000 arrests for domestic abuse.


The Shadow Pandemic

A double enemy, the abuser at home and the pandemic outside, which is slowly increasing the gender gap as reported by UN Women. Women become more vulnerable economically, socially, and from the healthcare perspective.
“Physical violence is tangible and visible, psychological violence does not leave visible bruises but invisible and difficult to demonstrate scars”, Lucia Favoccia writes in her autobiographical stories. 22 years of stalking and a sexual assault suffered demonstrate the country’s delay on women’s protection laws and actions aimed at changing mentality. A change that goes back in 1981 with the repeal of the honour killing and the shotgun wedding, and only in 2009 comes out the law on stalking. Italy still has a level of education far from the European average, with a difference of 16.5% in possession of at least one upper secondary qualification. This also predicts the individual potential and stage of development of a population.

#OrangeTheWorld .
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, promotes global standards. This is one of its December education campaigns against gender-based violence via Instagram.
Orange is the official international colour of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

After those events, Lucia gave way to a social commitment by founding with two other members a non-profit association for women and therefore children victims of abuses: “Volo Libera”, born on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. They respond to all requests for help, precisely because they experienced this, so they set the goal of helping other women in their turn on a regional scale. Only 35.4% of women recognize that the assault suffered is a crime, while the others find difficult to understand what is happening. The most worrying data remains the number of complainants, which stands at only 8%.

Lucia Favoccia

The higher you go in the professional sphere, of culture, of power, the easier it is to meet harassed women. Because power is often brought back within the family nucleus. A power that can be institutional, an economic power.

The 5-minute interview with the president of the "Volo Libera" Association, Lucia Favoccia.

Gender-based violence is an important social concern as well as an intrinsic violation of human rights, and is steadily increasing around the world. From studies on the results of more dominant or egalitarian behaviours, the crucial point is the proper understanding of the predictors, remedies and outcomes of the phenomenon. We are still working on this vaccine.

Dominic d’Urzo

This is the view from the home society. It creates a class society. Class society means that women are categorized. [..] It creates a division between the sexes and split them in the middle.

Phd Dominic D'Urzo's interview, in 4 minutes.
Dominic is PhD at Minnesota Colleges in 1999, six languages spoken, relevant family, therapy, marriage, mediation studies, he taught the fourth semester of his course in psychology (Dr. Yu). Further, in the past he joined the Women’s Committee of Costi and the Canadian Association for the Treatment & Study of the Family, Women’s Counselling, Referral and Education Center.

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