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Italy. Rapes in Palermo and Caivano. The problem of violence against women dominated the media

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Over the last few weeks, gang rapes have occurred in Palermo and Caivano near Naples. Both cases shocked Italy. There have been more attacks in recent months. This summer, the issue of violence against women and girls in Italy dominated the headlines, and a renewed discussion in the country about the sources of the problem and ways to combat it – writes the New York Times.

In Caivano, near Naples, a group of teenagers repeatedly raped two cousins ​​aged 10 and 12. Information about the brutal rapes of girls came to light last week, when the case was covered by local media.

Two weeks ago, the Italian press reported on the rape of a 19-year-old girl that took place in Palermo. Seven young men, including a 17-year-old, were detained in connection with the case.

This is just an excerpt from a long list of similar crimes they could read about this holiday season Italians on the front pages of newspapers. Rapes, assaults and murders of women were often committed by partners or people known to the victims. This summer, the problem of violence against women and girls in Italy is back in the spotlight, writes the New York Times.

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Recently, a debate has flared up in the country about chauvinistic attitudes towards women, the harmful influence of social media and negligence on the part of local authorities. It revealed deep divisions in Italian society regarding the problem itself and ideas for solving it, notes the New York daily.

Caivano, located on the outskirts of Naples, struggles with poverty, drug addiction and crimeGettyImages

Italian Prime Minister’s visit to “hell”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited Caivano. It is a working-class town in southern Italy with a population of nearly 38,000, where – as “NYT” describes – in broad daylight you can see drug addicts on the streets injecting heroin. The head of the Italian government appeared there at the invitation of Father Maurizio Patricielli, the parish priest of the local parish. The priest asked Meloni to see with her own eyes what life was like in a degraded district – a housing estate, where, in the run-down “Parco Verde”, two cousins ​​were raped.

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“Madame Prime Minister, we are in your hands: take us out of this hell,” the mother of one of the raped girls wrote in a letter to Meloni. “We are waiting for you to show you the horrors and degradation of such suburbs. There is not only crime, drugs and Camorra, which are often an alibi for the world of politics, which is unable to solve the problems, but also pedophilia, violence and prostitution,” she added.

Alessandro Zan from the Democratic Party expressed hope that before leaving for Caivano, “Meloni will make a speech explaining to his partner that blaming the victims of violence, especially on live television, is a barbaric and perverse practice resulting from the worst male and patriarchal stereotypes.” Thus, the politician referred to statements by journalist Andrea GiambrunoMeloni’s private partner, who said on Monday evening’s TV show: – If you go dancing, you have every right to get drunk… but if you avoid getting drunk and passing out, you may also avoid getting in trouble.

In this way, Meloni’s partner referred to the recent gang rapes of underage girls in Italy. Giambruno talked to the editor of the “Libero” newspaper, Pietro Senaldi. They both expressed condemnation of the rapists, whom they called “wolves.”

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However, both men’s comments about women getting drunk were met with heavy criticism on social media and from politicians. “They cannot refrain from blaming women. Women and their lifestyle are always judged. I tell Giambruno that boys must be taught respect, not girls distrust,” commented Democratic Party senator Cecilia D’ in Tuesday’s edition of Corriere della Sera. Elia, vice-chair of the commission of inquiry on violence against women. Chiara Braga, chairwoman of the Democratic Party group in the Chamber of Deputies, called on Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to “distance herself from these words.” So far, the head of the Italian government has not done so.

“We can’t get everyone out of here.”

The New York Times notes that Meloni remained silent on many women’s issues in her speech in Caivano, focusing instead on the need to restore the rule of law and order in the city.

“This place will be restored to order and you will soon see the results of our presence here,” she said, referring to the issue of “crime and drugs.” She promised to reopen the sports center, build a new multimedia library and send more teachers to schools in Caivano. – There can be no zones of anarchy in Italy – said the Italian Prime Minister, speaking from the courtyard of a local school. She added that this applies not only to Caivano.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Caivano near NaplesGettyImages

The day before Meloni’s visit, police presence was increased in Caivano. In response to the recent acts of violence, local authorities announced increased police patrols on the city streets.

“We don’t need more policemen,” Antonio, a resident of Caivano, told the New York Times. The man refused to give his name for fear of ostracism from his neighbors. – We need more time in school, more social workers and more psychologists to help children in families who are unable to take care of them, stressed Antonio.

Read also: A Bulgarian MP resigned after calling rape victims vulgarly

The New York Times writes that the cousins ​​who were raped in Caivano came – according to neighbors – from dysfunctional families. They grew up in public housing in the district Rione IACP. The court decided to place the girls in a foster family. The rape case remains under investigation. So far, no one has been charged.

“Now that the girls are safe thanks to the authorities’ actions, we must think about all the other children who live here,” Bruno Mazza, president of A Childhood to Live, told the NYT. – We cannot take everyone out of here, we have to start here and now – he appealed.

Violence against women in Italy

The New York Times points out that although there has been no significant recent increase in cases of violence against women and girls in Italy, the topic is gaining popularity in the Italian media during the usually quieter summer months.

27 percent of Italian women say they have experienced violence. These statistics are disturbing, but they do not stand out particularly compared to other European countries, note experts quoted by the American daily.

Read also: A series of sexual assaults at the Eiffel Tower. The French about the “lawless zone” and “cutthroats”

– These are cases that attract a lot of attention, but unfortunately they are nothing new – said Antonella Veltri, president of the Women’s Network Against Violence, which runs support centers for women across the country. As she explained, it is a cultural phenomenon that has been deeply rooted in a chauvinistic society for decades. “Now it is taking an even more terrifying turn, in the age of social media, which acts like a megaphone,” she added.

“I am not the body”

Veltri referred to the famous rape case in Palermo, where this summer seven young men attacked a 19-year-old girl in one of the clubs in the city center. According to the police, the perpetrators persuaded the bartender to pour the teenager a few drinks, encouraged her to smoke marijuana, and then took her, drugged, to an abandoned warehouse, where they raped and beat her. They recorded everything on a cell phone. A shot from a surveillance camera appeared on social media, showing men carrying a 19-year-old woman who was unable to walk on her own. Another shows the girl lying in the street while her attackers entered a nearby grocery store.

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Fragments of the men’s messages and conversations on WhatsApp were leaked to the Italian media. One of the messages described that night with the slogan “100 cats for s**t”. One of the rapists, the daily describes, said it was disgusting because there were “too many rapists”, but he justified it by saying “the body is the body”. As the New York Times writes, the names and addresses of the defendants in the case were also leaked, as a result of which their social media accounts were filled with comments full of insults. However, the same applied to the victim’s Instagram profile. In an interview for an Italian newspaper, the girl admitted that she had suicidal thoughts.

The case received wide coverage in Italy. Hundreds of celebrities, as well as ordinary Italians, express support for the raped woman using the hashtag “I am not a body.”

Palermo is the largest city in SicilyTVN24

Victim blaming in Italian

According to the New York Times, according to a recently published report by the country’s national statistics agency ISTAT, there is still a widespread belief in Italy that women who are victims of violence are somehow at fault. “The belief that women’s actions or clothing can trigger violence pervades even Italian courts, where sexual intercourse and sexual violence are still not always distinguished,” writes the New York Times.

Read also: Nearly half a million women and girls disappeared in one year

As an example, the daily cites the judgment of a court in Florence, which acquitted two 19-year-olds accused of raping an 18-year-old at a party. The justification stated that there was a “misperception of consensus” because the victim had slept with one of the rapists in the past. European Court of Human Rights and authorities UN often condemned Italian courts for rulings in rape cases in which part of the responsibility was transferred to the victims – notes “NYT”.

According to Ilaria Baoiano, a lawyer from the Differenza Donna association, this approach of the justice system discourages victims of sexual assault from reporting to the police. “Unfortunately, the latest incidents of violence are just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. She added: – Many women don’t even report it.

Main photo source: GettyImages

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