Acmid-Donna Onlus Ass. Moroccan women in Italy: the situation of women victims of violence

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Souad Sbai

Acmid-Donna Onlus Ass. Moroccan women in Italy: the situation of women victims of violence

Every three days a woman is killed in Italy, femicides continue to represent an endemic social cancer. Despite the entry into force, in 2019, of the Red Code, the scourge shows no sign of stemming in any way. In 2021, 118 women were killed, of which 102 were murdered in the family/emotional sphere and in particular 70 at the hands of their partner or ex-partner. From the report of the Criminal Analysis Service of the Central Directorate of the Criminal Police, it emerged that the number of femicides is stable compared to last year. The 66.7% of foreign men killed a foreign woman, the percentage of Italian victims killed by foreign men is even higher. This situation occurs above all in “mixed couples”, made up of a foreign male and an Italian woman, where cultural distances seem to amplify the dynamics of jealousy and possession. In the period September 2020- September 2022, the toll-free number 800682718, dedicated to Arab women victims of violence within the “Never again”project of the Acmid-Donna Onlus Association, received 6,210 requests for help: 51.5% for violence and ill-treatment, 12% for cases of polygamy, 0.7% for forced marriages, 8.6% for problems related to the custody of minor children. During the lockdown, cases increased by 67%. And this is only what is reported, but there are many more cases that remain hidden within the communities.
Other disturbing phenomena must also be linked to this, such as the “disappearance”of Muslim girls from compulsory schooling, with 56% not completing their studies. Violence against women is a phenomenon that is difficult to measure because it is largely submerged. Very often we are dealing with violence within the family, more difficult to declare and report, situations in which the woman feels alone having to face a drama which, if reported to the police, would also upset the life balance of other people she close. Victimization surveys on women are therefore essential to have a more likely picture of the extent of the phenomenon and are also irreplaceable sources for understanding its dynamics.
ISTAT has long been engaged in measuring the phenomenon of gender-based violence against women. The first survey entirely and explicitly dedicated to violence against women – called “Survey on Women’s safety”- was conducted by ISTAT in 2006 (the second in2014), with the financial contribution of the Ministry for Equal Opportunities, thanks to the active planning collaboration of anti- violence centers and also with the support of some women victims of violence. For the first time, ISTAT was able to document how widespread physical, sexual and psychological violence is, who are the perpetrators, the seriousness, the place where it occurred and the consequences, with insights into the dynamics of violence and the huge share of undeclared money. These are fundamental data for the purposes of policies to prevent and combat gender-based violence.
Violence against women and domestic violence continue to be among the most widespread human rights violations in the world. They affect women from all walks of life, regardless of cultural, religious, economic, social or geographical background. According to World Estimates by the World Health Organization, one in three women worldwide is a victim of gender-based violence in their lifetime. Every day, many women on our continent are victims of psychological and physical violence, harassment, stalking, rape, are mutilated, forced into marriage by their families or sterilized against their will. A survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that between 45% and 55% of women and girls in the European Union aged 15 and over have been victims of sexual harassment. National surveys also reveal that domestic violence, sexual violence and other forms of violence against women are widespread. Gender-based violence has devastating consequences for victims and for society as a whole.
Recognizing the scale and impact of this scourge is imperative if the fight to end violence against women and domestic violence is to be effectively led.
Foreign women, unlike Italians, mostly suffer violence (physical or sexual) from partners or ex partners (20.4% against 12.9%) and less from other men (18.2% against 25.3%). Foreign women who have suffered violence from a former partner are 27.9% (out of a total of 5,193,669 foreign citizens residing in Italy), but for 46.6% of these, the relationship ended before arriving in Italy.
Italian  Foreign
Physical violence    11.0             18.2
Violence sexual       5.5              9.1
Rape or attempted rape  2.2              4.2
Victims of psychological violence
Psychological violence is more common among younger women (35% for 16-24 year olds compared to an average of 26.5%) and among women with medium-high qualifications (29.9% for graduates and 27.1% for graduates or postgraduates). Women living in the South or in the Islands also have higher rates, women in poor health (35.3%) and with limitations in carrying out daily activities (31.4% if serious, 33.6% not serious). Foreign women have higher percentages of psychological violence than Italians (34.5%), among these Moroccan women emerge (50.9%), followed by Moldovans, Chinese, Romanians and Ukrainians. Chinese women, in particular, have high rates (33.3%) in contrast to low rates of physical or sexual violence from partners. The characteristics of women who suffered psychological violence from their ex partner have a similar profile to women who still suffer it in the couple. Moroccan and Romanian women emerge more among the foreigners.
Stalking victims
21.6% of the women with serious physical limitations (against 15.3% of the average) and 19.3% of those with minor limitations, 19.8% of the women who enjoy poor health (against 14.5% of those who are well) and 18.4% of women suffering from long-term chronic diseases. The incidence is also higher among those with a lower educational qualification (17%) and who live in the South (17.4%). On the contrary, in terms of distribution, the lowest figure emerges for the Islands (13.4%) and Central Italy (13.7%). 19.9% ​​of foreign women suffer stalking from a former partner, against 14.8% of Italians. The highest peak is recorded among Albanian women (21.3%), Moldovan (20.3%), Chinese (18.3%) and Romanian (18.2%). Women victimized by people other than their partners instead show a partially different profile: they are younger, live in the North East and North West, are more often Italian, have a low level of education, health problems and are exposed to a greater risk .
Psychological and economic violence
In addition to physical or sexual violence, women with a partner also suffer psychological and economic violence, i.e. behaviors of humiliation, devaluation, control and intimidation, as well as deprivation or limitation in access to their own financial resources or those of the family. According to ISTAT, in the first quarter of 2022, over 61.4% of the victims declared that the violence had been suffered for years, an increase compared to both the previous quarter (56.7%) and the respective quarter of 2021 (53.7%). Starting from the third quarter, in 2020 requests for help from victims who have suffered few or one episode of violence increased (13.3%, against 6% in the previous quarters). The figure then decreased slightly from 2021 to settle at 10.5% in the first quarter of 2022.

1522 is the public utility number made available by the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, to support and help victims of gender-based violence and stalking, in line with what is defined in the Istanbul Convention. It is free, guarantees anonymity and covers different forms of violence 24 hours a day and in four different languages ​​besides Italian (English, French, Arabic and Spanish).
The 1522 service continues to perform an important hub function at the territorial level between the services supporting those who turn to it: the percentage of victims who in the first quarter of 2022 was directed to a territorial service is on the rise (74.6% ) and of these, 93.8% (equal to 2,076 victims) were sent to an anti-violence centre.
Victims who do not report
In the year 2021 there were more than 11 thousand Victims reporting
In the year 2021 there were more than 2 thousand
Victims who report and then withdraw the complaint
In 2021 there were around 400
Place of the violent act: own home for at least 90% of the victims In 2021, around 3,000 victims of violence declared that they were afraid or afraid for their own safety, that they felt anxiety, felt a serious state of awe, felt harassed but were not afraid of imminent danger, felt annoyance, were afraid of death , are afraid for the safety of their loved ones. Around 8,000 women have reported repeated episodes of violence over the years In 2021, around 16,000 women reported acts of violence. There were just over 500 men who reported acts of violence. The major regions affected in 2021 by complaint are: Lombardy, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Campania, Sicily, Puglia, Tuscany.
According to the declarations of the victims of violence, the modalities of knowing the toll-free number took place through the internet, TV, from relatives or friends and finally through the press. Around 36,000 users contacted the toll-free number 1522 in 2021, around 16,000 of these users are victims of violence. Request for help to 1522 directly from victims of violence in 2021 there were around 12 thousand.
Istanbul Convention
Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Signed in Istanbul on May 11, 2011. Below we describe the first 6 articles of the 81 written in the Convention
The Convention aims to:
a. protect women from all forms of violence and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;
b. help eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and promote concrete equality between the sexes, including by strengthening women’s autonomy and self-determination;
c. prepare a comprehensive framework, policies and measures of protection and assistance for all victims of violence against women and domestic violence;
d. promote international cooperation to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence;
e. support and assist organizations and law enforcement authorities so that they can work together effectively in order to adopt an integrated approach to the elimination of violence against women and domestic violence.
The Convention applies to all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence, which affects women disproportionately. Contracting Parties are encouraged to apply the provisions of the Convention to all victims of domestic violence. In applying the provisions of the Convention, the Parties shall pay particular attention to the protection of women victims of gender-based violence.

The Convention applies in peacetime and in situations of armed conflict.
The definition of the Convention:
a. The term “violence against women” is understood to mean a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women, including all acts of gender-based violence that cause or are likely to cause harm or suffering to physical, sexual, psychological or economic, including threats to commit such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, both in public and private life;
b. the term “domestic violence”means all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occur within the family or household or between current or former spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator acts shares or has shared the same residence with the victim;
c. the term “gender”refers to socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men;
d. the term “gender-based violence against women”means any violence directed against a woman as such, or that affects women disproportionately;
e. “victim”means any natural person who suffers the acts or behavior referred to in letters a and b;
f. the term “women”also includes girls under the age of 18.
As regards fundamental rights, equality and non-discrimination:
1. Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to promote and protect the right of all individuals, especially women, to live free from violence, in both public and private life.
2. The Parties condemn all forms of discrimination against women and take without delay the necessary legislative and other measures to prevent it, in particular:
– incorporating the principle of gender equality into their national constitutions or any other appropriate legislative provision and ensuring the effective application of this principle;
– prohibiting discrimination against women, including by applying penalties where appropriate;
– by repealing laws and practices that discriminate against women.
3. The implementation of the provisions of the Convention by the Contracting Parties, in particular measures designed to protect the rights of victims, must be guaranteed without any discrimination based on sex, gender, race, colour, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national or social origin, membership of a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, social status health, disability, marital status, migrant or refugee status or any other condition.
4. The specific measures necessary to prevent violence and protect women against gender- based violence will not be considered discriminatory within the meaning of the Convention.

What are the obligations of states and due diligence:
1. States shall refrain from any act which constitutes violence against of women and ensure that the authorities, officials, state representatives, institutions and any other public entity acting in the name of the state behave in compliance with this obligation.
2 Parties shall take the necessary legislative and other measures to exercise due diligence in preventing, investigating, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims of acts of violence committed by non-State actors which fall within the scope of the Convention.
Regarding gender-sensitive policies:
The Parties undertake to incorporate a gender perspective into the application and impact assessment of the provisions of the Convention and to promote and implement effective policies aimed at promoting equality between women and men and women’s empowerment and self- determination .
94 homicides of women were recorded, of which 82 were killed in the family/affective sphere; of these, 48 met their death at the hands of their partner/ex-partner.

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