ITALY: Italy to Reduce Violence Against Women

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Herald Sun
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The issue of Italy's rising tide of violence against women has been in the spotlight with a raft of headline-grabbing murders of women, often by their current or past lovers.

The UN special investigator on violence against women reported last year that since the 1990s, as homicides committed by men against men fell in Italy, the number of women murdered by men has increased: In 2010, the figure stood at 127, the UN report said.

On Tuesday, Italy's lower Chamber of Deputies ratified the Council of Europe's convention on preventing and combating violence against women, sending the bill to the Senate where passage is expected. The 2011 treaty creates a legal framework to prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women. So far, four Council of Europe members have ratified it.

The unanimous vote occurred at the same time as the funeral for Fabiana Luzzi, who was beaten, stabbed 20 times and burned alive Friday in the southern town of Corigliano Calabro, in Italy's poor region of Calabria.

Italian news reports have said her boyfriend, identified only as Davide because he is a minor, was in custody and had confessed.

Details of the crime turned even more gruesome after news reports citing the coroner and prosecutors said Luzzi bled for two hours and was very much alive before her boyfriend returned with a tank of gas. She apparently tried unsuccessfully to fight him off when he doused her with the fuel and then set her alight.

The UN special rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, said 78 per cent of all violence committed against women in Italy is domestic in nature. Luzzi's friends were quoted by Italian news reports as saying her boyfriend physically abused her, but that she loved him.

In describing the cultural context in which such violence occurs, Manjoo noted that gender stereotypes are "deeply rooted" in Italy, with women underrepresented in public and private senior management positions.