After 22-year-old university student Giulia Cecchettin was recently murdered by her former boyfriend, tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and protest the patriarchy.
Several protests and vigils were held across Italy and a national rally has been called on Saturday in the capital Rome which also marks the International Day against gender violence. pic.twitter.com/YHpFsQ0s0L
— euronews (@euronews) November 24, 2023
Cecchettin’s murder sparked massive protests in Italy, where one woman is killed every three days on average, as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
Cecchettin’s former boyfriend is suspected to be 21-year-old Filippo Turetta, who recently landed at an airport in Venice after being extradited from Germany and was transported to a prison in Verona to answer for Cecchettin’s death.
The AP reported that Cecchettin disappeared shortly after meeting up with Turetta at a burger joint in Venice, a couple of days before she was set to receive her biomedical engineering degree.
On Nov. 18, 2023, officials found Cecchettin’s body covered by black plastic bags near a lake in the Italian Alps. Turetta was arrested the following day.
The Italian Interior Ministry released data that 106 women were killed so far in 2023, with 55 of them having been murdered by their partner or former partner.
Since Cecchettin’s death, calls to a national hotline for women fearing that their lives could end at the hands of men have increased from 200-400 daily, according to Italy’s RAI state TV.
Many protesters who recently descended upon Italy’s famed cities remembered Cecchettin and the 22-year-old’s story.
“Male violence is something that personally touched me and all of us, at every age,” a 24-year-old university student who attended demonstrations held at Ladispoli Aurora Arleo said. “We have united also in the name of Giulia, because her story struck us, and I hope it will change something.”
“I think it was important to be here today,” another protester, Leonardo Sanna, 19, said. “It’s not my first time, but I believe that Giulia’s death changed in part the perception of this problem among youths. And I hope this is not going to be short-lived.”
The Italian parliament recently approved measures to prevent future atrocities against women from occurring in the country.
“A human society that aspires to be civilized cannot accept, cannot endure, this string of attacks on women and murders,” Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella recently said. “We cannot just counter this with intermittent indignation.”