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Italy pledges crackdown on violence against women after student's murder

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The Local/AFP ([email protected])
Italy pledges crackdown on violence against women after student's murder
A demonstrator holds a collage of pictures of victims of femicide reading "Not one more" during a rally condemning violence against women in downtown Rome. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has vowed to tighten laws and improve education after the killing of a university student and the arrest of her former boyfriend put Italy's problem with gender-based violence in the spotlight.

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The body of 22-year-old student Giulia Cecchettin was found on Saturday in a gully near Lake Barcis, about 120 kilometres north of Venice, her head and neck covered with stab wounds.

She had been reported missing after going out with her former partner, 22-year-old Filippo Turetta, who was arrested late on Saturday near Leipzig, Germany following a week-long manhunt.

Police got a lead earlier this week after video cameras near Cecchettin's home captured images of Turetta attacking Cecchettin on November 11th, before fleeing with her in his car.

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The case has dominated headlines in Italian media and sent shockwaves through the country.

"We all hoped in recent days that Giulia was alive. Unfortunately, our greatest fears have come true," Meloni wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

"Every single woman killed because she is 'guilty' of being free is an aberration that cannot be tolerated and that pushes me to continue on the path taken to stop this barbarism," added Meloni, Italy's first woman prime minister.

She said Italy's senate would vote on Wednesday on a bill that expands protection measures for women at risk, and announced a public awareness campaign around femicide.

Demonstrations are expected in Rome and other Italian cities on Saturday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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The president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, earlier said a day of mourning would be set for the day of Cecchettin's funeral.

Cecchettin had been due to graduate last week and had reportedly gone missing after she went shopping with Turetta for her graduation outfit.

Zaia added to calls for more education about gender violence in schools.

"I think that on the day of the funeral it is right that in schools we talk about femicides," Zaia told Rai news, while acknowledging that education was "not enough" to stamp out feminicide.

"We really need to start teaching our young people, from early childhood, to respect women, their sisters, mothers and schoolmates, because that's how we'll change things," Tajani said.

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As of November 12th, there were 102 homicides with female victims in Italy, 82 of whom were killed by family members or current or former partners, according to interior ministry data.

This compares with 51 killed by their partner or ex partner in the same period of 2022, and around 70 in both 2021 and 2020.

Italy's main opposition Democratic Party also has a woman leader, Elly Schlein, who has called for cross-party efforts to tackle violence against women.

Schlein has proposed a law introducing lessons on respect and personal relations in all schools, in order "to eradicate the toxic patriarchal culture of possession and control over women's bodies and lives."

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NB 2023/11/22 18:43
The current italian government could also expend effort on acceptance of LGBTQ rights and of immigrants looking for a better life in Italy. In addition, accept that not all women want to be mothers and support them in their choices. Tolerance and love for all kinds of people would create a more accepting atmosphere overall and would help transform the patriarchal culture.

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