Femicide: on Treccani we read: direct or provoked killing, physical elimination or moral annihilation of women and their social role.
The researcher Milena Anzani, of the University of Padua, Institutions and policies of human rights and peace, defines even better the concept on which it is worth reflecting, also for the umpteenth killing that caused a strong emotional participation, the death of the young Giulia Tramontano, seven months pregnant, at the hands of her partner.
"Feminicide, contrary to what can be commonly believed, is not an isolated event that happens suddenly, but constitutes the last act within a cycle of violence. In this sense, femicide identifies a social responsibility in the persistence, even today, of a patriarchal socio-cultural model, in which women occupy a position of subordination, becoming discriminable, violable, killable subjects. In terms of individual behavior,femicide can be seen as the maximum expression of the power and control of men over women, the extremization of misogynistic and discriminatory behaviors based on gender inequality", argues Anzani.
Gender discrimination, stereotypes about women rooted in the socio-cultural substratum, the division of roles and the existence of unequal power relations between women and men are factors that force women to remain in a condition of subordination in which the cycle of violence is nourished. Feminicides/feminicides are therefore extreme acts of violence that underlie a complex reality of oppression, inequality, abuse, violence and systematic violation of women's rights.
The concept has spread in Europe only since the early years of the twenty-first century thanks on the one hand to the worldwide disclosure of the serious events in Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican city that has become the scene of countless disappearances and killings of women since 1993, and on the other hand thanks to the struggles and protests of the feminist movements, especially of Latin American ones, against these practices.
The first official references to the terms "femicide"/"femicide" can be found in the European Parliament (EP) Resolution of 11 October 2007 on the murders of women (femicides) in Mexico and Central America and the role of the European Union in combating this phenomenon, as well as in the Annual Report on Human Rights presented by the European Parliament in 2010, which reiterates its condemnation. Feminicide/femicide is then discussed in the European Union guidelines on violence against women adopted by the Council of the EU in 2008 and in June 2010 the High Representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, expressing her concerns about femicides in Latin America, defined "all forms of gender-based violence as aberrant crimes of femicide".
Femicide is a criminological term first introduced by feminist criminologist Diana H. Russell in a 1992 article to refer to the killing of women by men for being women.
On the other hand, the term femicide, from the Spanish feminicide, contains a much more complex meaning that goes beyond the narrow definition of femicide, focusing above all on the sociological aspects of violence and on the political-social implications of the phenomenon.
Used in 2004 by Mexican anthropologist Marcela Lagarde with the aim of drawing political attention to the dramatic situation experienced by women in Mexico, particularly in the Ciudad Juárez area, the concept of femicide has also become the subject of study by other Central American activists such as Julia Monárrez, Ana Carcedo and Monserrat Sagot, soon acquiring a global diffusion.
Thanks to the struggles of feminist movements and the work of scientific research, the term femicide has acquired a strong political connotation, to the point that in many Latin American countries institutions have introduced the category of femicide into criminal legislation, starting a debate that is anything but linear on the meaning of this word. If on the one hand, in fact, the formal use of the term femicide has made it possible to raise awareness in civil society on the structural dimension of gender violence and on the consequent need for an integrated and multidimensional approach to prevent and combat it, on the other hand the transposition of the sociological concept of femicide into a criminal case has posed the problem of identifying punishable conduct, different from other forms of gender violence already typified.
In Italy the concept of femicide, in the meaning outlined by Diana Russell, is used at a theoretical level by sociological and criminological research, while the term femicide, as defined by Marcela Lagarde, is preferred on the political level and by media communication to reconstruct news stories concerning the killing of women by men and includes all gender-related violence and discrimination, that affect the woman in her physical, psychological and social sphere.
The crime of femicide has become part of our Penal Code: in 2013 the Italian Parliament ratified the Istanbul Convention and approved the "urgent provisions for the fight against gender violence" provided for by the so-called anti-femicide decree (no. 93 of 14 August), converted into the law of 15 October 2013. The law on femicide provides for a special aggravating circumstance for this crime in the event that the victim is a pregnant woman, or is a person whose spouse the culprit is (even separated or divorced), or the one who is or has been linked to the same person by emotional relationship, even without cohabitation. In 2017, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Feminicide and All Forms of Gender Violence was established in the Senate. Law no. 69 of 2019 has further tightened the penalties for those guilty of domestic and gender-based violence crimes. In particular, with regard to criminal law, the law introduces four new crimes into the code: the crime of deformation of the appearance of the person through permanent injuries to the face (new art. 583-quinquies c.p.), punished with imprisonment from 8 to 14 years. At the same time, the crime of very serious personal injury referred to in art. 583, second paragraph, n. 4 c.p., which punished with imprisonment from 6 to 12 years very serious personal injuries with deformation or permanent scarring of the face. When the commission of this crime results in murder, the penalty of life imprisonment is envisaged.
The reform also includes this new crime in the catalogue of violent intentional crimes that give the right to compensation from the State; the crime of illicit dissemination of sexually explicit images or videos without the consent of the persons represented (c.d. Revenge porn, inserted in art. 612-ter c.p. after the crime of stalking), punished with imprisonment from 1 to 6 years and a fine from 5,000 to 15,000 euros; The penalty also applies to those who, having received or otherwise acquired the images or videos, disseminate them in turn in order to cause harm to the interested parties. The case is aggravated if the facts are committed in the context of an emotional relationship, even terminated, or with the use of IT tools; the crime of coercion or induction to marriage (art. 558-bis c.p.), punished with imprisonment from 1 to 5 years. The case is aggravated when the crime is committed to the detriment of minors and also proceeds when the act is committed abroad by, or to the detriment, of an Italian citizen or a foreigner residing in Italy; the crime of violation of the removal measures from the family home and the prohibition of approaching the places frequented by the injured person (art. 387-bis), punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years.
What penalty for the crime of femicide? If serious bodily injury results from the act, imprisonment from 4 to 9 years applies; the result is a very serious injury, imprisonment from 7 to 15 years; The result is death, imprisonment from 12 to 24 years. There are many discordant voices on this penalty, as evidenced by the approximately 50 thousand signatures collected in a few hours on Change.org to raise it to life imprisonment.