Women’s Safety, Viola Walk Home Research

largea start-up business born out of the association DonnexStrada gathers evidence to ‘map’ the most dangerous stations and railway routes after the incident on the Milan-Bergamo train

ONE overview to gather testimonials, in a completely anonymous way, about the experiences we had in stations and trains, in order to collect useful data for taking specific measures. It is the initiative started by Viola Walk Homean Italian start-up that aims to address issues of gender-based violence with effective responses and solutions and create safe spaces for people across Europe.

The start-up was born from the Italian association DonnexStrada, which guarantees help to women from different angles. Viola, specifically, manages a 24/7 video calling service, for all those who want to be accompanied when they return home in the evening, taking advantage of the volunteers who are put at their disposal. The investigation began after the news of it sexual assault by a 21-year-old girl on a regional train covering the Milan-Bergamo route.

The attack dates back to Last April 5th. The young woman had asked a man for information at Porta Garibaldi station and as soon as she boarded train 24531 connecting Varese to Milan, she found the same man on the train, who pushed her into the seats and raped her. He reported to the police who intervened that in the carriage a passenger was also present, who instead of intervening left: “When I regained consciousness – she told Polfer, who accompanied her to the hospital – I screamed as loud as I could and hit him under the chin. I ran until I found the conductor and with him we ran to the top of the train where the police were. The survival instinct saved me.”

A chilling episode, which once again puts safety in stations and trains in the spotlight, especially for women. And Viola Walk Home started the research precisely so that we can have a complete picture and start from it to ask for targeted and specific interventions: “We need voices and experiences to collect data to improve safety inside stations and trains – they explain – In light of the recent events that happened on the Milan-Bergamo route, now more than ever it is important to understand what we need to do to fix the trains and the stations from the safest places. Help us by completing the survey, together we can make a difference. Security is a right, always.”

DeStalk, the European project against online gender-based violence


DeStalk, the European project against online gender-based violence

The purple points for networking in the area

In addition to Viola Walk Home, DonnexStrada is working on another project aimed at combating gender-based violence. These are the so-called “Purple dots“, or activities that operate in contact with the public, such as bars, restaurants, pharmacies, hairdressers and beauty salons that can they turn into territorial garrisons.

The aim of the project is staff awareness of these activities about sexual harassment and violence, disseminate information within the business itself and create a network where victims of gender-based violence can find support. Help offered can range from letting the woman in if she is being stalked to ensure the danger ends, calling the police or directing the victim to the nearest Women’s Home or hospital. for investigations in case of sexual assault.

DonnexStrada’s goal is unlock 100 Purple Points by the end of 2023, to make the city safe and also informed about the resources that exist in the area: “The Punti Viola project is part of DonnexStrada’s mission to activate all citizens in the area – explained Ilaria Saliva, president of Donnexstrada – We address activities in contact with the public since they can effectively respond to local needs, having direct daily contact with the people themselves. It is a project that aims to spread fundamental information in a widespread way and which, in the long term, wants to reach every part of Italy.”

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