You have to look at violence against women through the lens of human rights because violence denies women the most fundamental rights to life, liberty, bodily integrity, freedom of movement and dignity of person. And family, unfortunately, is the undisputed root of man’s violence against women, a violence that transcends latitude, ethnicity, religion and social class.
Our activity is motivated by our political passion and the persistent strength of women’s domestic violence shelters in their desire to break the silence that surrounds the millennial phenomenon of domestic violence, in order to raise political and social awareness of the issue.
Alas, violence against women is not only an alarming social phenomenon of recent times, but also a reality stretching back thousands of years and originating from every imaginable corner of the globe.
We want to denounce denial of this reality, a denial often exacerbated by policies concerning personal safety. Violence against women has little to do with “safety”, but rather requires a political commitment and a decisive leap in the quality of general culture. In 2011 in Italy, more than 13,000 women turned towards domestic violence shelters and homes belonging to the National Association ‘DiRe’, which stands for Network for Women Against Violence. Every year, more than 120 women are killed at the hands of partners and ex-partners. These crimes are not the result of a moment of rage, they are not crimes of passion, they are extreme acts of violence. As the Women’s Movement of Rome has stated, “The murderer doesn’t ring the doorbell: he has the keys to the house”.
We want to raise awareness of domestic violence shelters, of their work, their passion, their economic difficulties. A tour of them can certainly tell a thousand stories. These centres do not merely welcome and assist, despite what a common and reductive image suggests. These shelters are the epicentre of social projects, leadership, insight and hope.
These centres are “social laboratories” which produce knowledge and synergistic experiences among women, leading the way over the years towards a new culture. For it is only if you create a different culture that you can aspire to change relations between the sexes and free many women from the loneliness that they are still living today. The phenomenon of violence against women is dangerously insidious and highly surreptitious. And our experience tells us that the women’s domestic violence shelters are truly indispensable for shedding light on the issue and for countering it.
Violence against women is universal, but it really need not be inevitable.
Titti Carrano – D.i.Re – Donne in Rete Contro La Violenza (Women Network Against Violence)