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The case of Giulia Cecchettin: case or Patriarchy?

Giulia Cecchettin, a 22-year-old girl, was found lying dead on the banks of Barcis Lake on November 18th. Her body had wounds on the head and on the neck. She was killed by her ex-boyfriend, Filippo Turetta, who did not want to accept the end of their relationship. There are also several proofs confirming that the killing was already planned: he brought a knife with him the day when he met Giulia to talk. After the aggression, the body was also found in a very unnatural position, therefore it is clear that he hit her with a knife aggressively. 

The question that arises after this case of gender violence is: what role does Patriarchy play? Is it really a case that Filippo Turetta was not able to go on after the break-up with his girlfriend? Was he really “out of his mind” or is there such a social and patriarchal background behind his action? The answers can be multiple but what is certain is that nowadays society really struggles to leave behind the ancient habits of patriarchal societies. For centuries, women’s lives have had less value compared to men’s lives, they could not have the right to freely choose how to spend their livelihoods, who to marry, where to live and so on, while it has not been that harsh for their male counterparts. 

Things started to change very slowly in the 19th century when social and political movements, such as the Suffragettes’ one, decided to seriously fight for women’s rights and they succeeded. There are social and political rights for women nowadays officially but why do these kinds of mistreatments happen still today? The answer is very simple: although we reached certain political goals in society, the mentality of Italian people (as that of many other peoples) has not changed. Men still think they are the “owners” of women, they still do not accept when a woman says “no” to their proposals. 

Indeed, according to psychology, a refusal is perceived as a physical hit by the brain but having extreme reactions to disappointments is not normal nor should it be accepted by society. Thus, there is evidence that this is a matter of social mentality eradicated overtime, according to which it is unacceptable that a woman refuses to stay with a man. There is no other reason since, juridically, the law and the Italian Constitution are by every sort of people’s side, notwithstanding ethnicity, sex, religion, and sexual orientation. 

So, what can society do to overcome such inequalities? It can spread awareness, first, by highlighting even the tiniest gender inequalities, such as sexist jokes, economic dependence, or sexual objectification, for instance. Then, a further step to take shall be to introduce sexual and affective education in schools since people start to have their first relationships when they are teenagers already. 

To conclude, what can be said about the case of Giulia is that, unfortunately, it is not a new phenomenon, the logic behind it is very ancient and her ex-boyfriend was not just “unconscious” of what he did. Hence, we need a social reconstruction about the image of women in society more than ever. 

Stefania Laviola


  • Il Sole 24 ore 

  • La Repubblica

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