Female bullies

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The Istanbul Convention, enacted in May 2011, and which represents the first binding legal instrument at international level to prevent and combat violence against women and within domestic walls, is on the way to being ratified by member states of the council of Europe. Poland too, in these days, has become the seventeenth European country to validate and confirm their commitment to this plague that unfortunately, even today, despite the high level of attention that has been placed on it, continues to occupy the headlines all over, with more brutal reports, as in the episode of the girls abducted in Nigeria, whose whereabouts are still not known, up to recent episodes of violence perpetrated in Pakistan and Iraq against  defenceless children  purely out of religious reasons.

Italy was among the first EU countries to have ratified the Convention of Istanbul that officially came into force last August, while the other seven member states of the Council of Europe still have not adhered: Russia, Moldova, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In our country, the violence continues unabated, under various forms, both notable, as in cases of femicide,and the more “modern” as in the case of bullying and cyber-bullying, which cannot but arouse concern and alarm following recent statistics.

According to a survey of Postal and communications Police, conducted in collaboration with Miur,the Guarantor Authority for children and adolescence, through the Skuola.net portal, as part of the itinerant education campaign “Llife as part of social”, on a sample of respondents, on 15,268 youths, 1 out of 3 have admitted being victims of bullying episodes. The age bracket most at risk is between the ages of 14-17 , where the victims are almost 2 out of 5.

What is most alarming is the growth on episodes of female bullies, one victim out of three denouncing the presence of at least one girl among the bullies. What also is striking, is that in cyber-bullying, the girls ar the ones to suffer the most, and although this is one of the newer forms of violence, the offline form is on the rise accounting with 87% of the victims targeted wholly or mainly in real life everyday. The survey also reveals that victims of this form of violence, find it difficult to speak about it; in fact, only one out of three especially in the age brackets between 14-17, confides in adults in whom they confide in, while between the age brackets of 11 and 13, there is a greater tendency to be more open.

Behind the wall of silence, also lurks some form of silence, which leads both the victims and spectators of the assault to be silent so as not to appear “weak”  and out of fear for a possible retaliation. As women of the Cisl, we fully reject the idea of a society where even a minor does not have the necessary support to safeguard their physical and mental integrity and of their peers involved in incidents of bullying.

This is why, we go back once again to once again to emphasising the fundamental role of the family and the school, that never as in this moment of crisis and social depression, have been exhorted to be more present in the quality of life of children and to be more willing to listen, as in all things, prevention remains the best weapon to counter such phenomena that are the resulting symptoms of a deeper malaise of youth today, and that often is the cause for them to drop out of school at an early age. No doubt, times are difficult today, where lesser investments are being made on education, where poor families live in conditions of strong discomfort.

For these reasons, the CISL, has returned to demand a reduction in unproductive expenditure and taxes by proposing an overall tax reform, through the campaign we have enacted in all the city-squares of Italy and on social networks (#firmalacrescita), for a proposed popular law that will be more fair, just and family-friendly.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati


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