Unfortunately violence against women has always been a debating issue. The President of the Association “Stop Veils Shout Liberty”, Ebla Ahmed, takes us through the current national situation. She has been fighting for over a year with the help of haer association to spead out information and promote initiatives in order to protect the weakest ones.
Is Violence masculine?
According to the number of cases -as one of the SVSL experts and lawyers, Massimo D’Onofrio pointed out- the phenomenon is more often linked to the man, seen physically stronger especially in a couple’s relationship, although there are many cases in which the male partner suffers and goes through a lot of pain. There isn’t much difference anymore meaning that it is no longer so clear to identify the percentage of crimes committed domestically than others. The latest social relevance coming from recent stories created new words and expressions such as: femicide. A term used to refer to a recent legislative action dedicated towards repression and the prevention of violence against women.
In your opinion, should penalties be reinforced and stiffened up?
Recently the Head of State pointed out: “Following all the serious events concerning brutality against women and the urgent social alarm, immediate action against such treatments must be taken in order to severely punish whoever deserves it, and introducing in certain cases, prevention so that any women and victims would be protected against domestic violence”.
Indeed, new measures should be adopted as soon as possible. We obviously need remain greater firmness.
It is fundamental that adequate training is given out to healthcare professionals, employers and specialists in order to support victims, which must, however, be financed and funded.
We believe that femicide is often preceded by unmistakable signs, although it is not always easily recognizable.
The famous criminologist Marco Strano who is one of our Honorary Members, has always battled both in Italy and abroad against violence. He regularly holds seminars and conferences regarding the topic. His latest italian publication called “VIOLENZA (IN) FINITA” has been defined as a very useful tool of analysis.
There is an original story behind the birth of Stop Veils Shout Liberty, isn’t it?
Yes, a sort of dream that I have chased for several years-confessed Ebla- without letting myself down being able to accomplish it in a short time. I was sick and tired of wrong information especially about religion being an excuse to carry out crimes. It ‘a good and beautiful paradox: No Holy Book itself encourages violence! I firstly wanted to defeat discrimination, before approaching and combating abuse. However I needed a group and a strong slogan. I was sure about my plans; I only needed a good team that could back them up. The meeting was incandescent with Anita: Being a Muslim myself, while Anita being Catholic, we were in a perfect harmony sharing the same principles: RELIGION is not involved. It is sometimes instrumental and untrue. She appreciated my honesty therefore she dedicated me the name of the Association. Shortly thereafter, I met a brave and enterprising man called Alessio Sacco, whose respect towards women is definitely exceptional.
What are the objectives achieved so far?
First of all open up to various networks, the vice-president Anita Madaluni explains- directly working closely with other associations (White Mathilda, Dupp, Bindun, City Angels).
The Italian view is rather on “associative individualism”, which tends to limit activities and misleading the development of projects. If you are on your own… you do not go anywhere. In a few months, we have been able to open five branches that offer free legal and psychological assistance (Milan, Brianza, Montecatini in collaboration with the Municipality and the Italian Red Cross, at the MondoSole Center in Rimini, Rome at Crime Cafe’ Study Center) moreover in large islands (Coro Intrempas, in Sardinia and La Fucina in Sicily) and collaborating in many countries (USA, Albania, Eastern Europe, Canada, Brazil). And -Another initiative that we’re very proud of is our self-defense courses completely free of charge throughout Italy.
Are institutions participating to your initiatives?
Despite our new and fresh association, they realized that apart from words we have real facts. Alessio Sacco adds saying – That is why the Region of Lombardy, and many other towns have already realized that we have achieved a great deal. Including our most ambitious project: a Refuge Home (top secret location), which will welcome up to eight people. We helped many women from different nationalities. Women who are already in the hands of our experts.
We are all aware of our leading professionals.
For instance Daria Pesce lawyer and already Honorary Consul of Portugal, lawyers such as Francesco Pesce, Massimo D’Onofrio, and Luca Bauccio, the counselor Annalisa Cantu, center ASPIC, Dr. Roberta Lovreglio, Dr. Bruna Correnti, the criminologist Marco Strano, the heart surgeon Professor. Alessandro Frigiola and the Judge Jacqueline Magi.
What are the next initiatives for the upcoming winter?
We may rely on Honorary Members who hold prestige enabling us to get a good visibility in order to reach our social objectives. Last but not least, In addition to the professionals, we can count on great public figures like Nino Benvenuti, Ronnie Jones, Massimo Di Cataldo, Cesare Guidetti, Don Mazzi, Manuela Olivieri Mennea, Lucio Presta, Francesco Testi, Antonio Giuliani, the lawyer Daria Pesce, Paolo Limiti, Marcos Vinicius. Whenever we can, we try to help out other associations, in fact we recently had a fantastic social dinner thanks to a giant truffle harvest from the famous Abruzzo region – a little help for Comics4Africa. Well … we’d like associations to help each other more often. Anyway get ready and be prepared: after our opening ceremony at the Pirelli Tower in Milan, we are planning a big event in 2015 which will hopefully introduce us officially in Rome … and who might know…maybe in the Parliament?
Lawyer and writer Ebla Ahmed, who holds an Italian- Yemeni passport, belonging to the second generation in Italy, has founded STOP VEILS SHOUT LIBERTY since November 2013 along with the journalist and International P.R. Anita Madaluni and the young entrepreneur Alessio Sacco, who is the only man part of the team (except for Honorary Members)