Male violence on women has no colour, no religion, no culture – it crosses all the patriarchal societies because it needs to maintain the power imbalance between men and women. But there are forms of violence which are imported with migration, and affect mainly migrant women, putting their lives and bodies at stake, when they are not in a position where they can enforce their own rights.
Today we suffer the consequences of “neutral” anti-racist policies which have been favouring cultural rights on women’s rights, strengthening the patriarchate within some migrant communities. We need to defend secularism not only against Catholic fundamentalists but against every kind of interference in the public sphere and in women’s self-determination by every religion in this country.
Interculturalism is an intricate process that has to be built day after day through dialogue and conflict as well. It may fail if we don’t have a strong focus on the protection of women’s rights and individual liberties. That’s why we prefer talking about GENDER INTERCULTURALISM.
For migrant women the current immigration law implies a double blackmailing: it makes them more exploitable in labour, and it ties them down to their husbands’ documents in case of family reunification. Therefore, for foreign women the residence permit can become an instrument of patriarchal control in the hands of violent employers and family members.
Women asylum-seekers and women refugees have survived many different forms of male violence – gender discrimination, domestic violence, traffic for sexual exploitation, difficult access to education and efficient social services, abuse related to traditional practices such as forced marriage (including early marriage), genital mutilations, corrective rape; situations which are exacerbated by the ever-increasing religious fundamentalism and by war.
Due to the absence of humanitarian corridors, migrants are forced to travel in a total lack of safety. Travelling poses an even greater risk for women, as they are exposed to systematic rape, also used as a blackmail to exploit them economically and sexually.
In transit and arrival countries, women find even more violence. In the absence of gender-sensitive policies, the public-funded so-called “reception” centres (centri d’accoglienza) are often the scene of sexist abuse, while outside these centres, in addition to the growing race/gender intersectional discrimination, there is the institutional violence of economic and social policies which are strengthening poverty and inequality and therefore affecting migrant women’s lives in a double way.
In the current context of daily episodes of sexist and racist violence, it becomes more important reporting the abuse suffered by migrant women and women asylum-seekers, and supporting them in the realization of their life projects. Therefore, we call to fight for a new Migrant Feminism, taking into account the class/status differences which affect deeply women’s possibility of self-determination, and fighting against the rising fundamentalism and fascism.
The women of Trama di Terre
Adhesions: ADIF – Associazione Diritti e Frontiere, Casa Internazionale delle donne di Roma, Donne in rete per la Rivoluzione gentile, Donne in Nero Italia, casa delle donne Lucha y Siesta (Roma)
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