Status Quo

On the 25th of June 2012. Rashida Manjoo, United Nations special rapporteur for the fight against violence against women, presented a report on gender-related killings. “Globally, the prevalence of […] gender-related killings is reaching alarming proportions. Culturally and socially embedded, [these phenomena] continue to be accepted, tolerated or justified, with impunity as the norm”.

And further: “Women subjected to continuous violence and living under conditions of gender-based discrimination and threat are always on ‘death row, always in fear of execution’”. And this condition transcends any differences of nationality, culture, religion and status.

Despite the shortage and fragmentation of data evidenced by the United Nations report, it is possible to get an idea of the scale of this phenomenon by referring to the Global Burden of Armed Violence, an analysis compiled by the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development on the effects of armed conflict and crime around the world. According to the statistical surveys carried out for the first time in 2011 in 111 countries, on average 44,000 women were killed each year from 2004 to 2009.

Based on this data, it was estimated that the number of victims of femicide around the world is approximately 66,000, equivalent to about 17 per cent of the total of intentional homicides. It confirms the domestic nature of this phenomenon: the perpetrator, in about half the cases, is the current or former partner.

In Italy
In Italy, laws to protect victims of violence are in place, but these are not always applied effectively. And violence in the family is the most prevalent form of violence against women. Here too, the lack of data is a problem: the only information available comes from surveys conducted by ISTAT in 2006. According to this survey, 6,743,000 women aged 16 to 70 years have been victims of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. 5 million women have suffered sexual violence, 3,961,000 physical violence.

About one million women have suffered rapes or attempted rapes. 14.3 percent of women in a current or previous relationship, have experienced at least one instance of physical or sexual violence by their partners and when only women with a former partner are considered, the percentage rises to 17.3 percent. In almost all cases the violence is not reported.

There is also no official data on femicide. From that which is available, an escalation of violence is highlighted, which has seen about 900 women killed from 2005 to the end of 2012.

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