Crimes of Passion: Gender Stereotypes and Domestic Violence in Italy
Eva Rus is a Fulbright Scholar educated at the University of Padua, Italy (B.A.) and at the University of Birmingham, UK (Ph.D.), whose research focuses on contemporary feminist autobiographical practice and body representation in both written text and the visual arts. In addition, Eva is also developing a new project concerning the implication of gender stereotyping and gender representation patterns with current trends of gender based violence in Italy. ABSTRACTOn 27 September 2012 Italy signed the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), a new landmark Council of Europe treaty that is the first legally binding instrument in the world creating a comprehensive legal framework to protect women against all forms of violence, and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. Yet, in the last nine years more than 1,500 women have been killed by their spouse or partner in Italy, and this year has already confirmed the ominous trend in femicides. In addition, as highlighted by CEDAW’s 2011 recommendation to Italy, the Italian Government failed to adequately enforce measures to address the high prevalence of violence against women and girls and the persistence of socio-cultural attitudes condoning domestic violence.
As often seen in the role that Italy’s media tycoon/former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had in contributing to the over-exposure of media images of infantilized, sexually subservient, decorative feminine types, deep concerns are also expressed about gender stereotyping and the portrayal of women as sex objects in the family and in society. Such stereotyping undermines women’s social status, thus discouraging women’s involvement in all aspects of Italian society, including political militancy and fighting for their rights.