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I was reading recently a report of the Ministry of the Interior on the topic of so-called “femicide,” where it states that “Homicides with female victims show an increase in 2022 (…) women victims of homicide make up 39% of the total (…) in the family/affective sphere it is shown how the percentage of female victims settles at 74% of cases (103 out of 140). It also shows how, among those killed by their partner or ex-partner, the percentage of women reaches 91%.

Chilling numbers that seem “far away,” yet this is not the case.

I for example every time I read about these “feminicides” I think of M., the domestic worker who helped around the house when I was a teenager. A kind person, always smiling. She lived with her 9-year-old son, A., a beautiful and kind child as well. She had separated from her husband because he was too jealous and also became violent. I was always very impressed when she told me about this ex-husband. Before the marriage there had been no incidents of violence or excessive jealousy. At least that is how she told it, perhaps because she was ashamed to say that she had married him even though she had sensed (or already suffered) violence. Instead, after marriage an escalation that in a few years culminates with a butcher knife thrown at M. (who dodged it), who had A. in her arms, in the grocery store they ran together. M. finally finds the strength to separate. For some time he seems to accept the separation and M. and A. live quietly, then he reappears, insists on seeing each other…. she is afraid… she even denounces him… But he shows up at her door one morning, she doesn’t open it, he fakes an illness and she believes him and lets him in; he out of the blue closes the door, pulls out a box cutter and starts hitting her. A total of 90 stab wounds including two deep ones to vital organs. All in front of terrified A.. Neighbors call the police, she is rescued and taken to intensive care. After 2 months of reanimation, fortunately, she is out of danger. He arrested and sentenced to 9 years for attempted murder. M. and A. took years to recover, years.

This was more than twenty years ago and I remember the thousands of unanswered questions about why he had that violence inside and why she somehow justified it.

That must be why I found myself in the thoughts proposed last February 3 in this blog by some boys from the Grassi High School in Latina, who wrote an article full of insights and questions about female identity and in particular, about the deep reasons for the violence that women often suffer (up to their murder) when they allow their identity to emerge and what can be done to help women gain the freedom to be and realize themselves.

I was struck by the depth and intelligence of these guys’ reflections and also by the questions they asked. Complex questions to which it is difficult to give concise answers that are not trivial and to which Marco Michelini, in the article on this blog that preceded me, tried to answer, succeeding very well in centering the heart of the problem: “what does not appear in the newspapers is a daily “killing” that happens inside their homes, made up of devaluations and denials of female identity” … “we must think that the problem lies in those males who have failed to realize and keep within themselves the female image.” … “But we must also ask ourselves why certain women fall in love with these men. (…) these women believed in their own inferiority….” “On the one hand, I am thinking of a necessary and deep crisis of male identity, as it has been handed to us over millennia of history. At the same time, women must reject the cultural violence they have suffered over time and proudly regain possession of their own feminine identity, different from the men’s.

How true what he writes is! And you can touch it if you know victims of gender violence: whenever M. talked to me about her ex-husband, before the assault, it struck me how she somehow “justified” it. She would say he was like that because he had diabetes and diabetes makes people aggressive, but he was a good person. That he loved her too much and could not control himself. In the tone of M.’s voice there was always an obvious sense of guilt, almost feeling that she was basically the one who was causing those outbursts, which certainly should not have happened, but somehow it was her fault… Not even after the attempted murder could M. pull out a reaction other than terror, and guilt of not being adequate, of not having seen her executioner right.

After all, for years there has been nothing but discussion of the numbers of feminicides and a phenomenon that does not stop, but rather gets worse and worse, and the media remain anchored in terms such as “sick love,” “excessive jealousy,” which are false and distorting of the phenomenon. Rarely do we hear the phenomenon denounced by its name: serious, very serious mental illness. And even more rarely (perhaps never) do we hear about cultural violence and propose solutions that start from the rejection of this violence.

So how nice that high schoolers are asking intelligent questions and that there are those who propose different and interesting answers! Thank you!

And I close with the beautiful words of Psychiatrist Massimo Fagioli, heard during a public meeting at La Sapienza University: “The new man who admires and respects, accepts the creative woman without becoming religious must derive from the woman herself; is the woman who gives birth (not in the biological sense) to a new man who is able to accept the possibility of the woman to be creative. If we can think this first and then do it then maybe we can also find the solution to certain disorders …if the woman can realize her identity and if the man respects and helps her identity, probably the birth of human beings and the first year of life can develop a different man.

Luigia Lazzaro


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Credits by: Maddy-Freddie