Some days ago, while doing a school work about representation of gender in different cultures, I ended up finding this article. As I published it on fb many where interested and I promised my Swedish host.sister to translate it to English once I would be done with my exam. So I decided to translate it – as good as I could – and put it also on the blog. The article is about a social phenomenon quite diffused in numbers of countries, not only that of gender violence but especially of unreported cases of gender discrimination and so on. Surely it can be read as a way to understand a bit more about Italian Culture as this is a phenomena really present there but nevertheless it may be applied to all the Western societies and other places’ ways of behaving and seeing women.
It exists, we see it every day, it is rooted in the parenting models, in socio-cultural factors: the violence against women is real although it is even accepted as natural (normal), in our misogynistic and sexist society. For gender-based violence do not exist territorial borders nor distinction of class, color, faith and level of education. It is imperceptible because underhanded. A violence present on every level, unlimited and which does not surprise. It does not astonish; it does not give indignation.
The culture of gender violence has its wedges in stereotypes, in the religions created to oppress, in a patriarchal education, in a system that makes the woman as an invisible human being and it denigrate her constantly, which abuses her although her rights and excludes her from justice.
That culture which goes from the negation of labor rights to social equality, to abortion, education, health, progress, which re-victimizes the victim, which hails to the murder as an “alpha male”. Established norms which have to do with double moral, hypocrisy, with fear and the attachment to appearance. Reasons for which emotional, physical, sexual abuses therefore feminicides remain unreported.
And when the victim dares to report she ends up to be judged by the society which accuses her of guilty. Not to talk about a juridical system which convicts and dishonor blaming her of lying, leaving free the aggressor, the same aggressor which for revenge goes to murder her with the terrible and innumerable feminicides of which no society cares about.
The rape culture, also naturalized, that tells us: she is woman. She is a woman, it does not happen anything, she is only a woman: an object, a rest, a slave. That culture which goes from the ascription of roles, colors, which tells us how to think, how to behave, what yes or no following our gender, and that if we do not adequate to norms then whatever may happen to us is just our fault. Even living according to the parameters defined by the patriarchy everyone accuses and blames. Worldwide, there are laws that enslave women.
The culture of gender violence which tells us that we women are the weaker sex, that we cannot play sports assigned to men, that we cannot pursue professions or crafts which has been historically assigned to men; a culture which tells us that our role in life is to be mothers, clean the house and take care of our children, sexually satisfy our men, live for them. And poor that woman that decides to break rules and love another woman! Because she is denigrated, hit, violated and murdered. Even worse, she was just a woman who could not even be a woman. Case closed when the body enters the morgue.
That violence which is in school, in television, in the radio, in art, wherever. In everything which surrounds us.
The way in which news handle information in the occurrence of gender violence: with prejudice, stereotypes and patriarchate. Women which, for personal convenience, support the patriarchate, so deciding to live this life by submission and shadow.
That culture which denies us our personal achievement and life according to our free will.
There is much to say about the culture of gender violence from whatever point of view, on its reasons and consequences and on who benefits from it. What is it that allows us to react in front of this atrocity? What is it that allows us not to denigrate and waking up every time a little girl, a teenager or a woman is raped, when she is hit or murdered? What is it that does not lead us to create the culture of prevention, a restauration of society and models? What is it that does not allow us to respect each other, to value ourselves as human beings holding equal rights? How deep is our indifference that makes us not to grieve and not infuriates every time that we know of a feminicide, of an assaulted woman, of an injustice of labor rights, of a state that does not invest on development policies for women? When will we stop to live by stereotypes, with misogynic and oppressive religions? When will we change patriarchal norms in order to start raising healthy children who are not going to violate in any stage of their lives?
When will we look each other with the certainty of being nothing more than a particle in the immensity of time? And that our passage on Earth is so fleeting that we will put all our efforts to ensure fairness, and that the right to be and to live with free will not be punished? When will we have the integrity to change the culture of gender violence with that of respect?
There are many ways of doing this, the archetypes in which all exercise gender violence, so much so that many times we do not even realize what we are doing, because it is something so rooted in that, as naturalized as the air we breathe, as the heartbeat, the blink of an eye. But gender violence is something of learnt, so it can be changed. We certainly have the ability to eliminate patriarchy, sexism, misogyny and indifference. The question is, when will we do it?