This past summer, I took the most memorable trip of my life. I had the opportunity to go visit the village where my grandfather grew up during his childhood. He spent most of his life in a small town named Falascoso in Abbruzzo. During my stay, I attended a festival where I watched a play about women abuse in the South of Italy. Therefore, I will be writing a blog about women abuse in Italy and how the female gender is perceived in the Northern part of Italy compared to the Southern part. I would like to educate others and myself on this situation and bring awareness to everyone on the gender inequality that is still occurring around in Italy and around the world.
To begin, feminism has not reached Italy as it has in North America and gender discrimination is still at a high rate around the country. Statistics show that at least 6,788,000 women in Italy were victims of physical or sexual violence in 2015 and roughly 150 women a year are killed in Italy by abusive partners. (Pianigiani 2018) These two statistics are very close to the highest rates in all of Europe. This is a big problem for women because they have minimal power and are afraid of standing up to something that has been seen as normal for decades. Also, they do not have enough power to make differences, for example, statistics show that only 14% of mayors in Italy are women and they are mainly in very small communities. (Boyarkina 2017)
There is a strong presence of inequality between both genders and discrimination in the labor force is still present in Italy. The Italian community is very traditional in their mentality and culture, historically as in other countries, women played a secondary role in society. They still believe that women should stay home and be a housewife instead of going into the labor force. This leads to women becoming very dependent on their husbands in every aspect of their life, such as, economically, socially, etc. They tend to rely on the income of their husband to keep themselves fed and sheltered. This creates a problem because the women tend to remain silent when they are physically, psychologically or sexually abused. (Boyarkina 2017) They have nowhere to go and no money to support themselves if they were to leave their husband. Also, Lella Paladino, president of Di.Re., a nationwide advocacy group that fights violence against women, stated, “When a woman tells her story, authorities rarely believe her, so in the end women stop speaking up,” (Pianigiani 2018) Therefore, women do not speak of their problems and suffer in silence which creates major depression and anxiety. The women who do speak up and try to escape are often fighting for years in Italy’s Byzantine legal system while their partners often threaten to sue them for defamation, stalk them or continue to abuse them. Women can wait up to two years to see their cases discussed in court, living in a constant fight with their exes. These cases can extend up to 10 years. (Pianigiani 2018)
To continue, statistics have shown major differences between the violence against women in the Northern part of Italy compared to the Southern part. The North of Italy has always been a richer and more prosperous region of the country. Its inhabitants tend to be more highly educated and many different industries have settled in that part of the country. These factors have decreased the old mentality in this region of Italy. However, statistics have proven that women abuse is much higher in the Southern parts of Italy where the economy and living conditions are not as evolved. In the North, women take up 50% of the labor force, however in the South, there are only 33% of women in the labor force. (Boyarkina 2017) To conclude, there have been improvements in women’s rights in the last few decades in Italy, however there is still much to do in bringing the woman’s situation to the level it deserves to be at.
Boyarkina, Iren. Violence Against Women In Italy. 2017. https://www.processjmus.org/violence-against-women-in-italy-a
Pianigiani, Gaia. For Italy’s Abused Women, a Legal Labyrinth Compounds the Wounds. 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/11/world/europe/italy-abused-women.html