Feminism | Posted by Valentina V. on 08/3/2009

16 Years Old in Milan: The Reality of a Dangerous City

Milan, Italy 

Milan, Italy

 

In these last years in Milan the female condition has generally become worse. I could say it has turned out to be unbearable.

A teenage girl isn’t free to live her life in a safe way, like men. Here they say: “You’re a young woman, you must be careful every time you go out.” And this is the reality: you wanna go out for a walk downtown with friends, wanna go to the cinema, wanna go to the swimming pool, anywhere you like. But remember one thing: when you’re not at home, you’re not safe. Never were.

It’s summer, the weather is sunny and hot, you’ve decided to go out shopping with a friend of yours. You’re in Milan: what should you put on? Not tops, not shorts; you’d better wear something not too “girlie”, because out there you could find men with no care for anyone. They could begin with a cunning glance, then a bad compliment and after the step become very short. In Milan you can’t trust in anyone.

So you begin to pay attention to everyone around you: not too confident with the neighbour, the keeper, the janitor at school, the boy who lives in the house next to yours and anyone who’s not strictly close to your family.

And again: there’s a disco party where all your friends will go, it could be a good time to enjoy yourself, but your mom will start to think this isn’t a safe place for a sixteen-year-old girl. If I were a boy, no matter: I’d be safe everywhere I’d go. And given that you’re a woman (for me, that I’ve always been proud to be a woman, this is unbearable!), your mother will probably begin to worry not only for a party, because every day, and I mean every day, in the TV news you can hear of women being violated by their own friends, boyfriends, even by their fathers, grandpas, brothers.

This makes me feel powerless and even more worried for the future of Italian woman.

The thing that makes me feel worst and drives me crazy is the government’s behaviour: institutions aren’t interested in changing this situation, they don’t spend money to protect us, for example with more controls, and they don’t care enough about the violent men who violate our freedom and dignity.

Above all, one could say: “I don’t give a damn!”. One girl could keep on going out alone in the evening and use the subway to return home, keep on frequenting clubs, pubs, cinemas, swimming pools, churchs, parks, stations, but she wil have the fear of men who don’t want to respect you. For now.

I can’t stand this. I do not want things still keep on going like now. Years ago I trusted in this country, I thought it was a free and safe place, but now I understood the reality. I don’t know how to change this situation, I know it’s not easy.

Maybe the problem stands in the boy’s education by their mothers and fathers. Maybe one change could start with a different upbringing.

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  • Elisabetta @ at 12:31 pm, August 3rd, 2009

    hi! hi have something to say about it…I’m 17 and I’m italian.. Not from Milan but from Naples.. that it’s generally considered more dangerous than Milan.. But hey! i’have not fear to walk alone in my city.. or.. better sometimes i have it as a man could have it…
    Yes,of course there are some men that had a wrong education and they couldn’t have no respect for women.. but they are anywhere in the world..
    And i have to say u that it’s not true that ,in italy, nobody does something to protect women..
    And i always wear short,and tops, and small dresses.. because i love them… and nobody can forbide me to wear them… cause like u i’m proud to be a woman..
    So we have to do something for this stupid men that don’t respect women.. but Don’t say.. that it’s an Italian Prolem.. It is a global problem..

    Anyway.. i love your blog.. and your posts and i think it’s really important what you are doing for women.. i read about your blog in an italian magazine.. and i was really impressed so i could discover this blog and read.. i wanna make something like this for italian girls.. maybe i will need your help.. so please contact me… :D i would be very happy and glad to speak with u..

    Forgive me for my english please.. i know i do a lot of mistakes.. but i’m studying it.. and i promise i will improve it..

    I hope i can talk u with u soon..

    xo

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 12:50 pm, August 3rd, 2009

    Italian Emos stole Julie’s brain!

    *calls state department, demands they file a formal protest for brain’s return*

    It’s not Milan, or Italy, it’s everywhere, you are just more aware of it away from home.

    I’m not saying major metros are not dangerous, even the safest areas are not that safe, I’m living proof of that.

    BUT I know 2 women who were raped as teens in stereotypical small towns out-in-the middle of nowhere USA. What did good ol’ boy law enforcement do? NOTHING.

    Girls are rapped on US college campuses/towns all the freaken time by all-American middle class boys who live next door – what do college administrators and the campus police do? Attempt to cover the whole thing up.

  • Julie Z @ at 3:32 pm, August 3rd, 2009

    sorry I didn’t write this – Valentina did, I just forgot to change the name.

    and of course this happens everywhere, nowhere does this post claim that Milan is the only place this happens, it’s just one perspective.

  • RebJ @ at 8:15 pm, August 3rd, 2009

    Reminds me of living in India (or any south asian/middle eastern country for that matter). The mentality there is that how a women dresses or how she behaves strongly affects whether or not she will be assaulted or raped. If you’re showing a slightly more skin that normal, you are, without a doubt, “asking for it”.
    It is wrong on so many levels, and harmful for both men and women. How to fight it? I don’t know, but I feel that it has to do a lot with how boys are raised by there parents in comparison to girls.

  • valentina @ at 9:10 am, August 4th, 2009

    Hi!Sorry If I didn’t explain myself, but my article shows only what I live everyday in Milan. I don’t want to make comparisons with other countries or cities because I have never had any experience of daily life out of Milan. Anyway when I say that the government isn’t interested in protect our safety, I mean the punishment of paedophiles. Most of time they go in jail for a very little time, and so I don’t think this is the right way to solve the problem.

  • carolina @ at 5:31 am, August 5th, 2009

    hi everybody, i’m 17 and from milan.
    personally i thnk that the government s not oin enough for the proble, and blusconi, our prime minister, has als said he cannot put a soldier near every single cue girl. that mans he doesn’ want to try at all to slve the problem eriously.
    now i’m talkin also about politic: what ca we expect from a government whi has a boss that has parties with minr girls?
    that’s very unrespecting for italian women.
    anonther issue is the punishment: after a very few time rapers are free! and it’s incredible how ful are our prisons.
    i reckon this is part of the italia mentality, as long as a lot of politician (i’ve read on newspapers) hav said that the problem is also how the women dresses up.
    doesn it mean thati cannot wear anything sort or “sexy”? YES!!
    i don not have th righ anymore to wear what i want , if i do not want to be raped, giving the raper and excuse.
    this is not bearable.
    i’ve read of a case in which the woman, trying to defendherself, made worst her situation: the judge said that in that way the repar had to become violent. so it’s not his fault. i really cannot believe that.
    sorry for my english : )

  • Jade @ at 8:56 pm, August 8th, 2009

    This is a fascinating post-I’ll soon be spending a month in Italy and am very curious to see what sorts of sexism I’ll encounter/notice/confront. I know that prior to my travels in western Europe I assumed that women were not subject to a 2nd set of rules for behavior in society, and am shocked to find out that in certain “developed” countries these rules in fact really exist.

  • valy @ at 4:37 am, August 9th, 2009

    are you going to stay also in Milan?

  • Para las lectoras. XVI « El Rincón del Ornitorrinco @ at 8:05 pm, August 14th, 2009

    [...] Pues las que viven en países “primermundistas” no las tienen todas consigo tampoco. Lean lo que opina una chica de 16 años que vive en Milán. Si eso pasa [...]

  • ele @ at 10:25 am, August 20th, 2009

    hi! i’m an italian girl from i little city near Milan…you can walk in Milan with tops shorts etc…well if you go to a disreputable district you have to be carefull but if you walk in Duomo place you don’t have this problem…but i think in all of the big cities in the world there are a man that don’t respect women….

    XXX Ele
    Ciao!!!

  • dare2believe @ at 8:09 am, September 20th, 2009

    I’m thirteen and I live in Italy, in a small town near l’aquila.
    All I need to do is listen to a conversation between boys my own age and really, iit all revolves around sex and in a very disrespectful way towards girls. A boy who rapes a girl is actually more respected among his peers!

    Although generally, that doesn’t limit girls choices in clothes or going out, I think something needs to seriously change in boys education.

  • albana @ at 11:30 am, February 3rd, 2010

    Hello I’m Albana and I’m from Kosova.Hmmm I thing that this problem is in all of city.Some boys don’t care about feeling’s a gir that hi says any bad word ,but I thing girls need to be more carfuly.I thing this is a rally big problem

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