Rome marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Non Una di Meno demonstration in central Rome on 25 November.

Numerous initiatives are being held in Rome and around the world to mark the United Nations-backed International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, whose 2017 theme is Leave no one behind, on 25 November. 

This year’s commemoration coincides with the unprecedented mobilisation of millions behind movements such as #MeToo in a global protest against sexual harassment and assault, in the wake of multiple cases involving high-profile individuals.

The annual campaign is preceded in Rome by a special football match, featuring retired AS Roma legend Francesco Totti, held in memory of Sara Di Pietrantonio, the 22-year-old student who was burnt alive by her ex-boyfriend in the capital's Magliana suburb in May 2016. The football game in Ostia on 23 November will see magistrates play against actors, and will be attended by Maria Elena Boschi, the cabinet secretary with Italy's equal opportunities brief.

The main event in Rome on 25 November is the Non Una di Meno (Not One Less) rally, scheduled for Piazza della Repubblica at 14.00, designed to recall the victims of feminicide and male aggression as well as demanding greater rights for women.

The march is followed by numerous events at the Casa Internazionale delle Donne, the Trastevere-based women's shelter which is currently battling eviction by the city administration.

In September Rome mayor Virginia Raggi called for new laws to crack down on sexual violence, following a spate of attacks against women in the capital and across Italy. Her calls were echoed by Lazio governor Nicola Zingaretti who requested teachers in schools throughout the region to organise educational activities condemning violence against women, presenting their projects on 25 November.

Statistics from the Italian interior ministry reveal that 149 women were murdered in Italy last year; 59 of these women were killed by their partner, 17 by a former partner and 33 others by a family member.

The UN estimates that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives.

Women suffering from gender-based violence in Italy can seek support from the volunteers at the multi-lingual women’s helpline Telefona Rosa, while those wishing to show their support can wear a white ribbon in solidarity.

The issue of feminicide is addressed in a mural by street artist Elisa Caracciolo on Via dei Sardi in Rome's S. Lorenzo district.