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InternationalViolence against women plagues Italy as shocking cases of femicide rock the...

Violence against women plagues Italy as shocking cases of femicide rock the nation


Stabbed, shot, or strangled – it doesn't matter how the women of Italy meet their tragic end. What does matter is that they all knew their killer. More than 100 lost their lives to domestic violence in 2023 alone. The horrific crime of “femicide,” most often at the hands of a current or former partner, has become all too common in recent years.

While Italy may have its first female Prime Minister, she refuses to openly identify as a feminist. This is telling of the deeply patriarchal society that has endured for generations. Only in 1981 did the nation even outlaw ‘crimes of passion,' where a man could claim temporary insanity to justify violence against his wife or partner. And disturbingly, the courts often go easy on male offenders, especially if the victim was perceived to be “unfaithful.”

One case in particular shocked the nation in 2020. An 80-year-old man bludgeoned his sleeping wife to death with a rolling pin, slit her throat, and mutilated her body out of a delusional fit of jealousy over her career. Despite the brutal nature of the murder, he walked free under the guise of temporary insanity. The prevalence of such lenient rulings feeds into the rampant societal failures that allow toxic masculinity and domestic violence to fester.

Documentary filmmaker Lorella Zanardo has long brought attention to the undeniable links between sexism, sexual assault, and the lack of true equality in Italy. Yet over 50 years since its pioneering women's rights movement, the country still lags behind its European neighbors. Having plummeted further in gender equality rankings in recent years, Italian women face increasing barriers to independence like growing pay disparities – trapping them in abusive relationships out of financial necessity.

As long as patriarchal values and victim-blaming attitudes remain deeply ingrained, femicide will continue to plague Italy. Urgent reform is needed to finally curb the hidden epidemic of violence driven by toxic beliefs about power, control and a woman's place.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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