Speech by Giorgia Meloni on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Good morning everyone,
I thank the President of the Chamber of Deputies Lorenzo Fontana for organizing this initiative in view of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Obviously I am very sorry not to be able to speak in person, but in any case I wanted to send the contribution of the government I represent. I greet and thank the ladies who will be speaking, the rapporteurs, all the members present.
On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly established this Day and chose to set its celebration on November 25: a date that commemorates the assassination of Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa, the three Mirabal sisters who were tortured in 1960 and killed by the regime of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.
The data from the United Nations speak for themselves and tell us that, in the course of her life, one in three women has suffered physical or psychological abuse and violence. Women and girls continue to be, in many areas of the world, even in situations of armed conflict and emergencies, victims of discrimination, violence, abuse and exploitation.
Every day we experience the drama of conflicts where women and girls are often exposed on the front lines to growing brutality and revenge from the various factions. It is a reality, that of rapes in war zones, which with the Russian aggression against Ukraine has reappeared in all its atrocities here in Europe as well.
An issue that does not leave this Government indifferent and which will be the focus of a meeting organized by the Ministries of Equal Opportunities and Foreign Affairs on Thursday 24 November and which will see the participation of United Nations authorities and representatives of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. War rapes are a real weapon, a tremendous weapon that reduces women to territory to be possessed, which creates incurable wounds, grudges that last over time, often for life.
A commitment from the entire international community is urgently needed on this: Italy participates in numerous United Nations programs which aim to protect the rights of women and girls and ensure justice for the victims of abuse and violence. The battles against genital mutilation and early and forced marriages have always seen Italy at the forefront. Just as it is essential to reflect, not only at an international level but also at home, on the relationship between violence and ideological belonging, especially with reference to immigrant women. Physical abuse, clothing restrictions, prohibition of going to school, imposition of unwanted marriages, abuses, murders are justified by the perpetrators because they are considered to conform to the religion or culture of the country of origin.
An unacceptable assumption because no culture can be defined as such if it contemplates violence against women: it is a concept that we must not be afraid to forcefully reiterate. Just as we must support the desire for freedom and the battles that, in some countries, from Afghanistan to Iran, women are carrying on with courage and determination and to reclaim their role in society.
Unfortunately, even in Italy the picture remains worrying and requires the utmost attention from the institutions. Feminicide is the final act of violence against women. It is the extreme form of the most brutal and most evident violence, the physical one, which has many possible ways of exercising: from threats to persecution, from mistreatment to rapes.
Women don't always report, because they are blackmailed by the presence of children, because they are not economically independent, because they are afraid, because they delude themselves that the man will change, because there is an emotional relationship involved, because they believe they are weak or because they feel sun.
It is on these last two points that we can have the most impact: to make women feel that they are not alone, that society supports them, that it believes their complaints, that it is able to provide real support.
It is necessary to help women discover that they are not weak but that they are capable of rebelling, of finding within themselves the strength to carry on, to change their own lives and that of their children who witness the violence and are directly victims of it.
It is a theme, that of witnessing violence, which should absolutely not be ignored. It would be unforgivable to do so: studies and statistics tell us, in fact, that children and adolescents who witness episodes of violence in the family can have very serious consequences on their growth and well-being.
And it's not hard to believe. Unfortunately, it has been found that girls and female adolescents tend to tolerate the violence suffered in adulthood, while male children or adolescents who are victims of witnessing violence are more likely to become aggressive partners.
This Government is and will always be at the forefront of fighting violence against women and the terrible scourge of feminicide.
There is a lot of work to be done and we intend to carry it forward at 360 degrees, focusing our commitment on three pillars of action: prevention, protection and certainty of punishment.
This cabinet will refinance the anti-violence centers and shelters; we will work to implement Law 53 of 2022 on the collection of statistical data on violence against women, which still needs implementing decrees and technical activities. A picture as detailed as possible is essential to build effective prevention and contrast policies, solving critical issues, monitoring the phenomenon and also estimating the underground part of the different types of violence.
We will facilitate the adoption of protocols and best practices in the Courts for an increasingly effective application of the "red code" legislation.
We will work to guarantee the certainty of punishment, to strengthen the protection measures for victims and to strengthen the use of electronic bracelets, which are often not applied because they simply do not exist.
We will invest in the training of operators - law enforcement agencies, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, social workers, teachers and health personnel - and in cooperation between the various professional figures to find the most appropriate solutions for each specific case and the most effective interventions to protect any minors involved.
We will engage in special awareness and information campaigns to make women aware of the assistance tools they can turn to: from the Anti-Violence Centers and Shelters on the toll-free number 1522. Just as we intend to strengthen the Anti-Trafficking Plan for more incisive action to defend and protect the victims. It is necessary, and I'm going to conclude, to fight the new forms of oppression and domination of women which are becoming more and more established in our time. We are here to overcome injustices and fight against all forms of violence.
I know that women can and will do it. I am sure that the courage, tenacity and will of women are great resources that we have and that they must be valued, in society and in politics. We are here for this. I'm here for this.
Thank you and good job to everyone.