Thursday, December 2

The Colosseum Lights Up - Against violence to women

Better to light one monumental symbol...than to curse the darkness

I interrupt my regular monthly report - Tante Belle Cose - to bring you Una Grande Bella Cosa:  November 25th marks the Int'l Day of Violence against Women, and on that day, Rome announced that the world's most loved symbol (well, not counting the WWF Panda) would serve as a torchlight for women the world over.  And, in a case of the wheels of democracy - or in Italy's case, bureaucracy - burning rubber, this initiative took root in only a fortnight.
Last October, Rome's Professional Women's Assoc. had the privilege of hosting the Hon. Monica Cirinnà, City Councilwoman for Rome, and President of the Commission for equal rights.  I cornered her and, from my lips to a goddess' ear, told her my dream: Under Mayor Veltroni, the Colosseum turned green each time America executed a prisoner.  Instead, I wanted to see the Colosseum lit up every time a woman in Italy was killed by her partner, lover, or ex. 
In Italy, every 3 days a woman's life is ended this way, and tragically, the figure (115 this year) is rising.  Combined with a spate of surrealistic episodes, like the Romanian woman killed by a punch in the face over an argument in the subway, to the 15 yr. old killed by her Uncle or cousin, or both, it seems no time is better than the present to do, as Cirinnà states, "Bring women out of the shadows."
And the motion was brought to the table, and passed. Although Mayor Alemanno was totally on board, stating, It's a symbolic gesture, one that shall shed light on the abuse of power over women who end up hidden in the dark recesses of society, three members on the right voted against it and another 6 abstained.  Let's hope that they're the first to see that by lighting up a symbol for humanity, humanity may get illuminated.  

My new dream? That other cities across the boot follow suit - so every time you drive by the Colosseum or town square and it's turned color, we can shed light on the plight of women the world over...
One small step for women, one large step for all humankind.


The reaction has been overwhelming. The next day, the Taxi Union came on board with offering women 10% discounts on nocturnal rides, after the motion passed that they wait until you've entered your building before taking off (although I must say, many of them already always did).


The Voting: 29 voti a favore, 3 contrari (Consiglieri : Berruti, Bianconi, Orsi) e 6 astenuti (Consiglieri : Angeliini, Cassone, De Micheli, Guidi, Mollicone, Naccari)

Links:  
Commissione delle Elette - Check out who are the keepers of the torch - Like the Vestal Virgins of long ago, their offices are on 'Via delle Vergini"
What the Commission did last month - a law against ads which harm women's dignity
 

17 comments:

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
Why would they celebrate an American prisoner being executed? It passes totally unnoticed here as it should be.

So what colour is for women murdered? I notice you wanted all points South to copy. Is the North so civilized?

Francesca Maggi said...

They didn't celebrate it (just as we won't be celebrating women's murders) - They tried drawing attention to it, that's all.

You barbarians in America, of course, still practice capital punishment. In Europe, when they're not starting world wars which kill millions, don't.

We're hoping for Fuchsia (thus my color choice in the entry), to be differentiated from Pink=Cancer.

No, my plea is for all points to copy. The North is far far less civilized on this account. They may have more murders in the south, but more women die at the hands of their partners in the north.

Here are the stats:
North-49% -vs- 24% South
Husbands 36% of cases, partners 18%, exes 9%, relatives 13%.
Italians victims (70,8%) & assassins (76%)

Makes a strong case for never marrying.

ECPage said...

OMG!!! God Bless YOU!
I'm in tears. I'm so touched by what you've accomplished.
Send me a picture of the Coliseum in pink, and I'll feature it on my new website to be launched soon.
I'll do a feature story on you and on this woman.
OMG!!!!!!!
Can we do an interview a whole broadcast on this subject including Italian women?
YOU GO GIRL..

CarolB said...

this is amazing. Light a single candle, as they say. I have always admired your social activism and this is truly a victory.

Anonymous said...

OMG ---- this gives me chills - all of it. wow.

BellaSuzi said...

I know you don't need me to tell you how amazing you are..BUT YOU ARE GIRLFRIEND...WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA..HOW POWERFUL..TO KNOW THAT I KNOW A WOMAN THAT CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS...
You gave me goosebumps, and I know in truth I will feel dread when I see our Glorious girl lit in PINK...
However, THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY..YOU CAN'T OPEN A NEWSPAPER HERE WITH OUT READING ABOUT IT. PAINFUL-BUT TRUE..WE NEED TO ILLUMINATE PEOPLE, NOT MONUMENTS.

mammaamericana said...

Wow. One person can make a difference. You are proof of that!!

cuz liz said...

Have I told you lately how awesome you are? Well, you are AWESOME! What a feat. Keep up the good work.

I do have an issue, though, with the discount taxi. I have never agreed with the "ladies night" mentality. To me is says we are not equal, but we are "special" and need to be treated with kid gloves, which ends up being condescending.

Francesca Maggi said...

I would tend to agree with you about 'ladies night' but, if it's the difference between walking home from the subway & getting door to door service, I think it's ok.

RetakeRome said...

Excellent initiative. Wait till I get ahold of Honorable Orsi and corner him about why he voted no! He is our contact for Retake Roma-(whose logo color is also fuscia!-great minds work alike) so his answer is particularly important to me.
Well done, thank you...soar on!

Rebecca
for Retake Roma
www.retakerome.it

PS: Have a look too at www.labsus.org, the organization with whom Retake Roma
has recently teamed up, because it shares our goals: promoting ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP, in conformity with article 118 of the Italian Constitution!

HarmCo said...

Verrrrry Cool -- You rock.

Kyla said...

WOW! That's impressive. We all have ideas but you make what's important to you happen - bravo! At first I thought, well isn't lighting something celebrating it? But then realized that the message must get broadcast and this is a brilliant way to "shed light" on a societal horror. The beauty is that it'll go way beyond Rome. My vote is for the color red

Francesca Maggi said...

@kyla Well, you're right - but, it is only by lighting it up that it'd get noticed, although I suppose we could turn the lights OFF on it as well, but people would most likely think it's a power outage ;)
I like to think, that each time I see it, I will remember one person's life - and make a mental note to honour her so she did not die in vane...

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
Once again you've written an article that evokes some comment, congratulations. Now duplicate it...often.

Franco said...

Yesterday was inaugurated the Colosseum restoration works
Franco.
www.adagiotours.net

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your efforts to get this realized.
It would be interesting to know how the 3 members on the right who voted against, and the other 6 who abstained, voted on the issue of the Colosseum turning green when an American prisoner is executed.
Why would it be that any elected member would not interested in shedding light on this important issue?
Nice article.

Francesca Maggi said...

@Anon - There are a few issues of late:

- It seems to have slipped from consciousness
- The gen'l consensus is that there are so many crimes against women, that the Colosseum would be perenially lit up - so, not going so well

As for your query:

- When it was lit green, the left was in office so totally different votes
- Why people don't want to shed light on this behooves all & sundry...but, it's most likely due to the fact that a woman (the only one now on the new admin) from the LEFT introduced it, so they naturally vote against it...(see U.S. politics by way of example).