A Petal Down on the Ground

open letter from Claudia Contin

An offended woman is like a petal on the ground.
A humiliated woman is like a fresh rose crushed in the mud.
A violated woman is like a burnt forest.
A woman killed is like the desertification of our future.
Let's stop this germination of violence from the beginning.

With all women of "infinite will" and all men of "excellent will", we would like to share a sad and painful thought on this umpteenth World Day dedicated to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which finds us powerless and astonished at the escalation of gender-based violence that still characterizes the society of the Third Millennium.

A little over one year after the adoption in Italy of the " Red Code", which was supposed to break into the pattern of family and extra-family violence to act as a tool for the prevention of extreme acts such as "feminicide", today we are facing the dramatic overlap of the 2020 pandemic emergency.

The health emergency has forced the world and Italian governments to impose drastic measures such as lockdowns and social distancing, aimed at saving lives and relieving the clogging of inadequate health services. But there has been no time, or awareness, or expertise, to prepare the tools to deal with the consequences of such health measures.

For many fragile people and many women in trouble, displacement restrictions have turned into a nightmare of " reclusion at home" and social distancing has turned into an alienating "isolation from society".

A Petal Down on the Ground

All listening centers, all social workers involved in monitoring high-risk situations, all projects to raise public awareness, have been unable to operate in the ground and on the frontline, uselessly pouring their skills into smart-working in telephone centers and web communications. But a weak person, locked in the house with a torturer, is constantly watched, not even having the physical and mental space to make a phone call or to connect privately with these services. And in the meantime the tension increases.

Even police forces have been compelled to focus on interventions to ensure compliance with the anti-pandemic regulations, taking action for calls from neighbors on private parties, family gatherings, birthdays, noisy but "positive" celebrations (with all that this word entails). But there were no adequate Presidential Decree to ensure that the neighbors, friends, relatives, and the emergency call 112 could also focus operationally on the banging noise and screams that occur in domestic households of under 6 persons.

So, today, on this painful day of collective conscience, the italian government has had to deal with an exponential increase in the number of feminicides in 2020: in 10 months, 90 such extreme acts, one every three days... and not including the other acts of submerged violence protected by the global silence of social isolation.

We too, actresses and actors in the world of theater, we female and male comedians in the world of satire and social reflection, even all of us operators in the collective imagination, were compelled to close theaters and live events, as well as many other cultural activities such as libraries and museums, before and for a longer period of time than all other commercial activities considered "essential" for survival. We female and male artists have also rushed to the web to offer support to the struggling society. But we know that is not enough! We know that the web doesn't reach the conscience and doesn't offer real handholds in the real moment of need and tragedy.

Here from the artistic workshop "Porto Arlecchino", we wish to offer support, we humbly wish to propose operational reflections, to offer a minimum of hope to those who can't see a solution for their future, female or male, nor for their children.

We ask the Governments not only to pass laws and provide funding, but also to streamline as much as possible the procedures of direct prevention and emergency action in any case suspected of "gender abuse".

We ask women of infinite will and men of excellent will, that the chasm of silence that surrounds the dramatically increasing family hardship in our peninsula should begin to be disrupted.

We can learn a lot from the hardship of the year 2020:
"Even the slightest lack of respect can be the beginning of an endless tunnel... Speak to someone right now!"

If the sensitivity of those who read us can accept it, attached we offer a photographic image by Luca Fantinutti as a visual message of "A Petal down on the Ground".

See you soon!

Claudia Contin Arlecchino

Porto Arlecchino
Study of Theater Art and Craft
of Claudia Contin Arlecchino and Luca Fantinutti
e.mail: staff@portoarlecchino.com
web.site: www.portoarlecchino.com

Porto Arlecchino