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Italian women high on murder list PDF Print E-mail
Oct 27, 2012 at 04:58 PM

Last week when sisters Carmela and Lucia Petrucci were returning home from school in Palermo, they were accosted in the entrance to their building by Lucia's former boyfriend who was wielding a knife. Carmela, 17, threw herself in front of her 18-year old sister and was killed in her stead. The tragic slaying by a 23-year old spurned boyfriend made the front pages throughout Italy. But it also focused attention on a little-known fact: that a huge proportion - almost a quarter - of the murders that take place in Italy (at 586 in 2010, these are far fewer than in many other countries, including our own) are those of women between 16 and 44 years of age who were killed by men whom, for the most part, they knew.

Following Carmela's murder and the knife attack on Lucia who, a more than a week later is still in the hospital, the daily newspaper, Il Fatto Quotidiano, published frightening statistics. Carmela was the 100th woman victim so far this year of what the Italians are calling femminicidio (femincide, as opposed to homicide) killed so far this year. In 2011, there were 137 such victims who were knifed, stabbed, strangled, shot or beaten to death.

It is believed that in these cases men kill largely because of jealousy, unwillingness to accept a separation, particularly where children are involved, and economic issues. But there also appears to be aproblem in dealing with the phenomenon. Since April, 2009, Italy has had an anti-stalking law that is supposed to help women get protection from violent men. But reportedly police forces in many cases (Lucia reported her ex-boyfriend's unwanted attentions to the local Carabinieri station in July but was told merely to change her phone number) are not yet equipped, in professionalism and mentality, to take such situations seriously.


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