A new high-school curriculum in Italy aims to tackle skyrocketing femicide rates by training boys to fight the urge to hurt or murder their girlfriends.
It’s 8:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and the first lesson of the day in this Italian high school—as well as a handful of others like it—is about how to fight the urge to kill your girlfriend. Adolescents are taught relationship respect through texts and role playing. A boy is asked to confront his girlfriend about a text message he found on her phone without raising his voice or using violence. The girl is asked to stand her ground and not let him dominate her. The students are also shown news reports about the hundreds of women who were killed or gravely injured in domestic violence attacks in recent years. The anti-violence initiative, which kicked off this year in the northern town of Turin, is a last-ditch effort to fight fatal domestic violence epidemic sweeping Italy. In 2010, 127 women were killed; 129 were killed in 2011 and 124 were killed in 2012. In 2013, so far, nearly 80 women have been murdered at the hands of men who once loved them.
On average, one woman is killed by her husband, partner or ex-lover every two days in Italy. On Monday, Marta Deligia, 29, was strangled by her ex-boyfriend Giuseppe Pintus, 36, in Sardinia. Pintus had been threatening to kill his former lover unless she agreed to rekindle their relationship. Deligia had complained to the police for months that he was stalking her and sending her threatening text messages. “Save me,” she told police in a formal complaint against him in early September. “He is crazy and he wants to kill me.” Deligia was right to be worried. Pintus waited outside her apartment until she left for work at 5:30 am Monday morning. According to police reports, he jumped her, strangled her, loaded her corpse in his Fiat Brava and dumped her body in the countryside. Then he called the cops and reportedly confessed that he had suffered a “raptus” of emotion. “I went crazy, but I don’t want to spend 30 years in prison. I’m going to kill myself.” Police were able to trace his cellphone and arrest him.