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Why is it necessary to re-educate men abusers?

Changing the patriarchal mentality must and can be done, also through education and politics

Why is it necessary to re-educate men abusers?  Changing the patriarchal mentality must and can be done, also through education and politics

With 211 votes in favour, the Senate unanimously approved the resolution to the report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Femicide, which provides for establishing and supporting programmes aimed at male perpetrators of domestic and gender-based violence. This is a 9 million euro national plan, two of which will be redistributed among the regions for the creation of a network of centres and re-educational paths, which represents a first concrete step towards a structural and preventive approach to male violence. This measure, together with others such as the Reddito di libertà granted by the Inps (funding that provides up to 400 euro per month to women for a maximum of 12 monthly payments and is dedicated to survivors to enable them to become autonomous with respect to abusers), makes it possible to intervene before a vicious cycle of abuse is triggered and finally recognises violence against women as a widespread social phenomenon with deep cultural roots of the patriarchal and male chauvinist matrix, fuelled and legitimised by prejudice and power dynamics. As Elena Bonetti, Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, emphasises, for the first time abusers are being asked to take clear responsibility, abandoning forever the view that something in women's behaviour caused the violence.

In 2021, 109 women were victims of femicide. In 36% of cases, the perpetrator is the husband or cohabitee, in 20% of cases, it is the boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, again in 36% of cases the ex-husband or ex-cohabitee. The data are dramatic, but to these must be added others, because gender-based violence encompasses so many forms of abuse: from psychological to physical violence, from economic to sexual violence, from stalking to non-consensual sharing of personal material online and all other forms of everyday violence. To this horror should be added victim-blaming, that mechanism that leads to blaming the victim for the violence she herself has suffered. As Repubblica reports, women who denounce are not believed and one woman in seven reports her tormentor to the police without getting swift action.

The problem of gender-based violence is closely linked to the way men are educated, justified, the way they live their masculinity in our society, and the toxic power dynamics that are established in gender relations. Because, in the words of Elena Bonetti, "Violence against women is neither rapture nor a disease, but a structural phenomenon. It must be clear that the condemnation and sanctioning of the behaviour remains firm, and above all that in the centres for recovery we do not work so that the abusive men can get back together with the abused women as if nothing had happened, but so that they can change their unhealthy mode of relationship with the other sex. Even on the benefits, which legislation now provides for can be granted in the case of course attendance, we say clearly that they must follow an assessment of the results and of whether the perpetrators remain socially dangerous. The centres for perpetrators of violence should not compete for resources with the anti-violence centres, but be part of a network for which resources should be increased". The centres for perpetrators of violence should be part of a broader revolution that revises and demolishes an entire mentality based on the principle that "boys will be boys" and that women are objects of property, figures over whom to exercise control. The interventions to be made are many and should reform our culture from its roots, involving politics, schools, labour, police, medical personnel and the media.