We can guess that (almost) all of us went through this at least once in our life. It might not strictly a violence, but maybe a boyfriend a little too “jealous” (not to say “possessive”), a husband who checks your email, the one who likes making scenes in the middle of the street, the ex who calls you a thousand times to find out where you are, the half unknown who has decided to skulk outside your house…
To get, perhaps, to a shove, to hold you by the hair, to shout you “bitch” in front of a lot of people. And for what? The complete nothing. This does not automatically turn someone into a victim or a perpetrator. But these attitudes reveal little respect and ability to accept the other, or simply hold back. That should be sufficient to say “ok, that’s enough, I don’t want a man like this, close to me”. No one, not even a woman, is in the position to control me, make me feel uncomfortable, insult me. When something of this happened to me too I disappeared not taking half measures: I was too angry with him and with me for not having understood before what relationship I chose. But this is the only possible solution: to break free…
Along their lives many women, in fact (to remain in stereotypes), start with “the asshole man” and end up “getting married” with “the good boy” (only to regret forever the asshole, but this is a other malignancy). At a certain point they simply understand what the trend is like – educated to be kind, helpful and faithful, in search of the charming prince who is also the strong man who will guide them… once they get to know him they reject him out of simple self-love, because this man – actually selfish and insecure – is completely unglued by expectations, he only intends to impose himself on their lives.
A mechanism that obviously works also on the other side, with men looking for calm and submissive women, because they are educated too on a series of sterile stereotypes: being strong and in command, not showing weakness, not crying, not asking for help, hiding feelings and ignoring pain, knowing how to fix everything, admire the powerful ones, but only if men like them… and above all, you males, have something more than women. You are superior.
The encounter between these false stereotypes and the disregarded adherence to them is precisely what can trigger misunderstandings, if not tragedies.
“The term femicide (or feminicide)” is annoying, but for many it is necessary because it indicates the type of crime in which “a woman is killed as a woman: recurring for years at an international level to describe phenomena of violence that affect many Latin countries – emblematic are the cases of Mexico (Ciudad Juarez), Colombia, Spain – and also other Western countries, although we usually attribute the sad primacy to Arab and African countries only, and to tribal and religious reasons”, as written on the blog Donne di Fatto (Quotidiano). Therefore femicide should be part of the so called “hate crimes” (although all they are hate crimes, in the end!), This is the violence perpetrated against people discriminated on the basis of belonging to a social group (ethnic, religious, of sexual orientation, gender identity…) or should we focus also on another aspect? Namely the relationship (and domestic violence).
The data on femicide are often conflicting: “although the Cedaw committee (the UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which Italy has signed) since 2011 has requested Italy to structure a method to collect them, our country is behind and an official collection does not exist yet”.
“On average, a woman is killed every 72 hours in Italy for gender-based violence (about 120 women per year), usually at the hands of a partner, a former partner or a relative”, is written in a 2019 report about women rights. These are disturbing figures, which reveal how much these “men who hate women” are not “monsters” as they are often painted, but close, related and intimate people of the every day life. Maybe the man who makes the sexist joke, just now and then. According to another report “The cost of being a woman – Survey on femicide in Italy”, elaborated by the volunteers of Casa delle Donne, the killers are mainly former partners (in 23% of cases), husbands (22%), partners or cohabitants (9%) and their own children (11%). This shows that probably the key is the relationship that is established between two people, rather than gender. This is not about attacks and bombs placed to kill Shiites, sons and daughters do not generally kill mothers or fathers as they are females or males, but probably because something in the relationship between them – often clashing stereotypes – has gone seriously wrong.
One kills those who loves or loved, in the inability to accept the separation and freedom of the other. “Neither love nor jealousy has anything to do with it: the law that allowed it no longer exists, but the culture that was behind that law still exists”: we talk about “the honor killing” allowed by the penal code in Italy until 1981, along with “the shotgun marriage” (to “remedy” the rape). “No matter how desperate a man is because the woman broke up with him, when that despair becomes justification for a crime it is a horrendous act of selfishness”, Abbatto i Muri writes on a post.
The problem lies with those who do not see this “gap” between women and men, those who do not feel this “inequality” (which is not “difference”), those who believe it right, the women who actually feel themselves inferior continuing to follow this implicit education, or any other intrinsic motivation that exists, stucks and does not make you escape in time from a destructive relationship. There is always a time: this is why we are talking about relationships and not “flash killings” (otherwise we would be talking about serial killers). Women so “adapted” to the master’s culture that they find it hard to still find a shred of self-love in themselves. They accept everything, until, in extreme cases, they allow themselves to be killed. Here it is not a question of justifying the violence, much less to judge giving the victims “a fault”, only saying that those we go with involves a choice of responsibility towards us. Only and exclusively towards us. Like with the bullies or the nerds at school: how you would never recommend the first ones to your children, in the same way, keep dating a person who is calm, patient and liberal, or someone who perhaps asks inquisitional questions or becomes suddenly heavy or oppressive about a subtlety like a facial expression, tries to impose his will without compensation… it is quite different. Driving rested, calm and attentive or dead tired and drunk: the danger bar is forced to rise. Then it’s up to luck, but in the meantime, fate has been out of hand for a while.
Have women got to the point where they think they deserve unhealthy relationships? Do they still think their life is inferior? Do they think a strong-willed man is exciting? (It is also difficult to get away from certain emotional as well as educational habits). Without stupid feminist attempts at “male re-education”, women should rather think of themselves more and more as “agents” of themselves, of what they really prefer, as if they lived alone, without males or society. Kindness and availability with those who do not deserve it is just wasted vital energy. There are men who, without killing, are able to suck the lives of their partners (and vice versa) while what should be pursued is the partnership of the couple: it is nowhere written that one of the two must stand above the other. As you would never accept a wrong attitude from a stranger, a foreigner, with greater reason do not accept it from your partner.
(with the kind – male – advice of GaB Santoro)
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