ABSTRACT – Feminice

Abstract dell’articolo di Nicole Janigro “Femminicidio” apparso su RELAZIONI TRA I GENERI E VIOLENZA – Pedagogika.it anno 2013 n. 2.

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During the period of 2012 there were 124 women murdered, one almost every two days. From Brescia to Padova, Enna to Pavia, and from the suburbs to the city center the statistics create a transversal line that covers women from 18 to 77 years old, different regions (Lombardia, Campania and Emilia-Romagna are the top three), and different social classes. Femicide happens privately but it has an inevitable public significance. In Italy homicide in general has been decreasing by one third compared to 20 years ago. However, violence against women has increased – 84 cases in 2005, 127 in 2010. Eurispes, in the 2011 Italian report, gave the following details: 103 of the 235 total domestic homicides were “between couples”: married or living together (63,1%), fiancé/ex-lovers (15,5%), suitors (13,6%), and ex-partners and ex couples who were living together(7,8%). For almost 6 of the 10 subjects the causes were “jealousy, refusal to accept a separation or abandonment”.

The increase of rape (from 430 in 2010 to 578 in 2011) and of stalking (from 932 to 1084) were a signal, but also the complaints that, in 40% of the cases, were reported to the police before the crime. The report from Casa delle donne di Bologna, which collected data about femicide from 2005, underlines the only positive aspect which is the media attributes much attention to this phenomenon. The journalists focus their attention on the maltreatment that preceded the crime which is rarely a product of an attack of incontrollable rage, but instead a result of a long escalation.

Who commits the crime often has a traumatic past, but however always concerns men who cannot tolerate being left, nor who cannot imagine remaining without the women who they believe to be their possession. If a men loses a woman he loses his identity, and as a result he is forced to first kill her and after himself. By killing himself he is killing his feminine side. Uomini che odiano le donne (Men who hate women) do so because the women succeed where the men fail. Women love working and developing projects, they suffer less from unemployment and loss of social status. Men who lose their power become violent in order to continue dominating the women. Men without a companion cannot tolerate independent women who are able to live in a way which is generally difficult for men: living alone.

Femicide is a neologism introduced by sociologists, anthropologists and criminologist who have worked in Ciudad Juàrez, a town on the border between the United States and Mexico, where exploitation and trafficking of cocaine have exalted “machismo”. In this location the numbers of homicides are close to those of a massacre. The concept of femicide is a sign as well as a historic change: the transition from social protest to international legal recognition of the crime genre. On June 25, 2012, for the first time, delegates from all over the world gathered in Geneva at the Palais des Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, to expose a thematic report on gender-based murders. In a West where the economic and the climate are out of control, women live a precarious balance between inner needs and perfect performance. Existential paths in Italy are particularly harrowing because the great transformation has taken place in a few decades. Perceived as aggressive and “career driven”, the status of women remains socially and politically weak – Italy ranks 74 out of the 135 countries in gender gap, and 125 for differences in income. The labor data refers to an employment rate (for 2009) of 51.1% (73.7%, one male), after 44 years of age the range of employed decreases.

But the female subject has “no exposure” even on a symbolic level. There are no role models, new figures that can integrate the different aspects of women – not only the existence but the same discussions seem doomed to remain split. Curiously, currently, even the psychoanalytic reflection on the female focuses mainly on the destructive aspects of the maternal functions, as if what was once in the shadows of the process of emancipation is now centre stage. There are no longer Great Mothers or Virgin Madonnas who are able to contain and protect, nor are there any replacements. One who searches for figures – historical, mythological – not afraid to extol the “divine” of the feminine, its autonomy and its creativity, the power of her spiritual body, is marginal and isolated.