Gender Violence. The Long Red Trail
Feminicide. A word born from the need to mark a difference with respect to “simple” murder.
Almost to underline, with a definition aside, the alarming frequency with which this kind of facts follow one another.
During the frantic deployment of news on newspapers or the media, mixed between not too veiled threats of planetary wars, news of wretched populations scattered by violence and the as inevitable as dissonant pink curtain, the inevitable death of a woman, murdered by an ex-boyfriend, an ex-husband, an ex-lover.
Sometimes even the children that the two wretches have brought into the world got involved in the tragedy.
Almost 7 million, according to the Italian National Statistic Institute, are the women who during their lives have undergone a form of abuse. Over one hundred women in Italy every year get killed by men. It is a long trail of blood that does not seem to hint at diminishing. The causes appear to be the same. Jealousy, end of the relationship.
But why so often does it happen that the end of a relationship leads to such violence escalation? Why does the threat of abandonment assume such annihilating connotations for a man as to lead him to prefer years in prison, the death of his partner and also the end of his own life?
From a psychological perspective, one should look at the feminicide from more angles. In extreme synthesis one might consider attachment relationships and personality variables. The world of relationships is closely connected with and determined by the dynamics of attachment. The mirror of parental relationships, which continues to reflect images that are assimilated to them throughout our adult existence. We tend to seek, more or less consciously, partners who confirm our idea of how affective relationships are made. If we have been loved, listened, respected children, we will probably choose a partner who knows how to transmit a sense of coherence and continuity with this vision. Conversely for less fortunate and idyllic childhood stories.
Familiarity wins over the possibility of redemption.
Almost always at least.
In fact it is not a mathematical equation, the result of which is one and only one. During life, corrective experiences can happen, both in a positive way, pushing to revise our theory about love towards more optimistic perspectives. But traumatic or traumatizing experiences also occur, giving life to new codes of behaviour in love.
“I will never let anyone betray me again. I will never give myself so totally to a person who can hurt me “
Attachment is not the only factor at stake in relationships.
The personality structure of each, the personal purposes, the intolerable emotions that signal the threat to these existential purposes. Each individual has his own personal functioning in the world, on the basis of the goals he pursues: being loved, being a good parent, making a career, not suffering, not feeling guilty. Etcetera, etcetera. It jumps to the eye that the balance of purposes, aware and not, can be configured in infinite combinations.
A talk about people is always a hyper-complex speech and difficult to condense in a few lines. Let’s figure when you have to go into relationships topic, between people and personalities.
When we talk about feminicide, we think of it as a violent and archaic reaction. Something not thought of, but acted instinctively, impulsively. Or something that is programmed lucidly within a far from feeling common logic, so much so that it is bizarre. I am reminded of the case of the man who went to see the game as it was nothing, after butchering his wife and children in the house.
Now, among the variables taken into account so far, attachment and personality, we can not leave out the evolutionary nature of the human mind.
We are a species that in the course of evolution has gained impressive cognitive abilities compared to our ancestors. But what we should not forget is that evolution does not mean that archaic legacies are necessarily lost. Next to great intellectual abilities coexist sequences of behaviors of lower levels. Much less mentalized actions.
In front of the threat and the sense of impotence of abandonment, it is possible that the state of activation causes a blackout of higher capacities. We undergo a switch, moving from an evolved functioning, the result of centuries of cultural representations of relationships, to action modalities that through anger and violence restore a precarious control over the world.
An involution I would say almost, of all the steps forward in human civilization on the subject of human rights.
A snapshot of darkness in the ability to see the woman as a conspecific, as a bearer of needs and rights now consolidated in the rules of internalized behavior (as well as in written ones).
Awareness on the phenomenon of gender violence and feminicide is growing, not only in Italy. But the problem should be dealt with in a more incisive way.
There is a basic need, transversal also to other problems outside the world of couples (we think of bullying, the abuses on animals, affective dependences) to relearn to mentalize the other one, to humanize him/her.
And to do this the intervention should be capillary and huge. It is not possible to reeducate such a complex function only by opening counselling desk in schools, by organizing sporadic events, simply to be sorry every time a woman is killed again.