25 November: ActionAid launches ‘Black Friday’

RCompared to 2022, the cut in funding for cancer prevention is 70%. gender violence in Italy. With the report “Prevention Below Cost”, ActionAid complains that funds for prevention are completely insufficient. And he starts the initiative “Black Friday”

November is not just the month Black Friday, the “black” Friday dedicated to Christmas sales. November is above all the dedicated month combating gender-based violence and violence against women, a scourge which, however, does not seem to receive the necessary and appropriate attention even at the government level. This is what it says ActionAid with its new awareness campaign, which borrows the very idea behind Black Friday to denounce a “discount” that has very little upside: the government’s cut in funding for gender-based violence prevention.

In fact, in the last year, the grants in Italy are reduced by 70%going from over 17 million euros in 2022 to 5 million in 2023. And with “Black Friday“, the club and its historic ambassador, Claudia Gerini, are shining the spotlight on it with a maxi-digital billboard in the center of Rome in full Black Friday style, featuring -70% off. From the dark background we see a woman step out of the shadows, and at the same time scripture appears explaining where the ‘cut’ was applied: to prevent gender-based violence, a phenomenon that affects 1 in 3 women in Italy. Therefore, ActionAid with the Black FreeDay campaign asks the government for a medium and long-term prevention strategy, which acts on the widespread male chauvinist culture in Italy, which causes discrimination and violence against girls and women.

“Violence against women in Italy is daily” – said Gerini, who has lent her face to ActionAid’s fight for years – “It manifests itself in many different ways and destroys the lives of those who suffer it without exception. Intervention to support these women is essential, but arriving later is not enough. It is necessary to combat gender-based violence in all its forms before it occurs. For this reason, it is not allowed to provide discounts on prevention.”

The choice to associate two such different anniversaries is not at all accidental. In fact, on the same days of November, Black Friday (November 24)a moment of contagious shopping with deals ahead of Christmas gifts, and the Day for the Elimination of Male Violence Against Women (November 25).

A symbolic coincidence to draw attention and explode the contradictions about the underfunding of anti-violence policies in Italy. I am almost 7 million women who have experienced some form of physical violence during their lifetime. More than 2 million have been stalked. Millions are victims of psychological or financial abuse (Source Istat). And 104 femicides last year alone. With these numbers, the one to prevent gender-based violence is the discount we can’t afford. Prevention, in fact, has never been a priority for any successive government over the years. The few special funding has been pooled in some periods, such as 2022, only to be cut again.

Figures from ActionAid study: resources increased by 156%, but only 12% goes to prevention

“In 10 years the financial resources allocated to the ‘Femicide Law’ for the anti-violence system increased by 156%, but the number of women killed by men in the family-emotional context did not decrease, remaining similar from year to year. – underlines Katia Scannavini, deputy general secretary of ActionAid Italia – This shows how inadequate the anti-violence policies adopted were, with severe punishment funds allocated for prevention, which in the last three years was only 12% of the total. With the Black FreeDay campaign we want to ask the Government and Parliament to really build a future free of violence for girls and boys, because without adequate funds and policies aimed at prevention we will continue to intervene only as a response to the violence that has already suffered by women”.

ActionAid has dedicated a study to the investment that the Government and Parliament have dedicated to gender-based violence and violence against women, which has analyzed the last 10 years, i.e. the period between the passing of Law 119/2013, which dictates “provides for urgent matters concerning security and the fight against gender-based violence”. Resources had significant growth and the largest increase in funds (67%) happened between 2020 and 2023, a period during which the State committed approximately 248.8 million euros. Of these though just 12%, i.e. 30.9 million euros, were intended for prevention. Only 5.6% of total anti-violence funding 2020-2023 is committed to education and awareness-raising interventions aimed at undermining social norms and behaviors that produce and reproduce violence, so-called primary prevention.

United Nations Gender Social Standards Index: Italy’s indicators are worrying

However, the urgent intervention in primary prevention with effective and long-term actions is also underlined by global data United Nations Gender Social Standards Index (UNDP 2023), which measures stereotypes and beliefs that cause gender inequalities. Today, the Index reveals, more than a quarter of the world’s population believe it is justified for a man to beat his wife. Italy has particularly worrying indicators: 61.58% of the Italian population has prejudices against women and 45% have beliefs that can justify physical, sexual and psychological violence from a partner. In comparison, Spain has fared better than us over the years: only 50.74% of the population is prejudiced and 29% justifies violence. Only cultural work that counteracts the habits and patterns of violence against women and girls can therefore reverse the trend.

The Black FreeDay campaign, in addition to maxi-billboards and advertising spaces, will be reinforced on ActionAid’s digital channels and with calls to action from activists and creators who will bring the message back “from their Instagram and TikTok profiles”To liberate women from violence, aiming downward is not worth it“.

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