Feminism | Posted by Valentina V. on 08/3/2009
16 Years Old in Milan: The Reality of a Dangerous City
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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