Photographer Szymon Brodziak shoots a visually delicious, mysterious spy story for Martini Cava in Rome. Ironically, in this AOC feature that links one of the most sensual countries in the world with its severe problem with violence against women, everyone is mentioned in the credits but the models.
Born in 1979 in Poland, Brodziak shoots only in black and white.
Violence Against Italian Women
Many women were horrified to read in May that acid attacks against women are escalating in Italy. It seems a total contradiction in reality that a country so drenched in sensual beauty and authentic joie de vivre Italian style leads the European continent in violence against women.
The rise in assaults against Italian women in which they are murdered by their lovers in acts of jealousy causes particular concern. One of the latest victims was a 15-year-old girl beaten, stabbed 20 times and then burned alive, allegedly by her boyfriend who has confessed.
It’s said that Fabiana Luzzi bled for two hours in the southern town of Corigliano Calabro, when her jealous boyfriend returned with a tank of gas. The young woman tried to fight him off when “he doused her with fuel and set her afire.”
A recent UN Report says that homicides against men have fallen in Italy, as violence rises against women. Author of the report Rashida Manjoo says that 78 percent of all violence against women in Italy is domestic in nature, with one third of Italian women reporting facing physical or sexual violence during their lifetimes. It’s believed those numbers are underreported.
Even on television, Italian women keep their mouths shut. Manjoo cited studies that found that 53 percent of women appearing on television in Italy didn’t speak, while 46 percent of them “were associated with issues such as sex, fashion and beauty, and only 2 percent issues of social commitment and professionalism.”
Italy Ratifies Istanbul Convention
On June 7 Lithuania signed the Council of Europe Convention dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Called the Istanbul Convention, the initiative was introduced in May 2011 and has been ratified by only five other states — Albania, Montenegro, Portugal, Turkey and most recently Italy.
It’s not clear how many delays in ratification are cultural versus institutional. New Europe reports:
“For example, the convention requires a free national telephone hotline for victims of domestic violence. In an interview this month, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told the French press that – starting next year – such a nation-wide telephone hotline would be made available. France is among the 25 states which have signed, but not yet ratified the convention.”
In its essence, the Istanbul Treaty says that domestic violence is not a private matter, that states have an obligation to prevent violence, protect victims and punish the perpetrators.
Like the recently passed UN Treaty to protect women, opposed by the Vatican, fundamenalist Islamists including the Muslim Brotherhood, the treaty bans cultural customs based on religion and ‘honour crimes’. In fact, the Vatican led activity at the March UN Summit, trying to defeat the measure.
I was rather shocked to read that yoga is considered the work of the devil. Sure enough, former Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says that yoga — along with Harry Potter — are the tools of the devil. And retired Pope Benedict has warned that yoga “can degenerate into a cult of the body.” Bottom line, in the case of Christianity, ambivalence about having a healthy relationship with one’s body and sexuality are a daily struggle.