La Casa della Donna, freedom is in the air

Domestic violence, poverty and social insecurity: many women risk paying a very high price in this pandemic. The Solidarity Fund "Nessuna da sola" can really support them!

26 May 2020
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In Pisa, since 1990, there is an association, the Casa della Donna: a free, open, feminist place.

The house is a space for meeting, for reflection, where every day women regardless of age, sexual or religious orientation, social status or geographical origin, commit themselves to their rights and the fight against gender violence, to encourage the growth of subjectivity. autonomous women.

There is an air of freedom and justice at the Casa della Donna.
This is why it is a place that made us fall in love from the first moment we met him.

In the past few months, the crisis caused by Coronavirus has been straining all of our lives. La Casa della Donna has a very careful eye on the impact that all this can have on women, in particular. Already fragile in the labor market, women risk paying a very high price in this crisis, also in terms of employment and economic autonomy. Because they are more exposed than men to precariousness and because they are more used in the service sectors, that is, in those sectors that are suffering the most severe backlash. In fact, many have already lost their jobs or have seen the sources of income drastically reduced, which in the short and medium term can hardly recover.

How is the Women's House reacting?
What are you doing to support the women who are part of it?
How can we join them?

Cristina Galasso, one of the volunteers, tells us about it.

Tell us about yourself: who are the women of the "Casa della Donna" and what is the secret of your strength?

We are women of different ages and experiences who share a common commitment: to promote women's rights and freedom

We believe, in fact, that there is still a lot of work to be done in Italy and in the world so that all women can enjoy the right to self-determination and freedom. A large part of our society is still deeply pervaded by a thousand-year patriarchal and sexist culture that considers women an object subject to male power and not instead an autonomous and free subject. 

The most terrible and at the same time most evident product of this culture of male domination over women is the violence that affects us at all latitudes. Male violence against women is primarily a denial of freedom and the right to be themselves. 

That is why for all of us fighting violence means above all working on building a new culture of gender relations. The strength of our commitment comes from the awareness that everyone can do their part to trigger change and all together we can make a difference.

Would you like to tell us about some of the battles won in these years? Stories that have remained in your heart, moments of change and great happiness.

The first big battle we fought and won was our home. It was 1990 and after a long struggle we finally managed to get what is now our headquarters in via Galli Tassi, a place that is above all a space of freedom open to all women in the city. Shortly thereafter we inaugurated the library which, with its 6 thousand volumes and 100 magazines, is today the largest genre library in Tuscany, and then in 1993 we opened the anti-violence center and shelter for abused women, the first in Tuscany. 

Over the years we have activated other important services and initiatives, such as the Italian course for migrant women that for over twenty years has offered many foreign women not only the opportunity to learn Italian and integrate more easily but also a place to meet others women, Italian and foreign, and forging relationships and friendships. And then the creative writing workshop with the inmates of the Don Bosco prison and the Festa delle Lettrici which over the years has become a participatory appointment for those who love women's reading and literature. It is also a source of great pride for us to have been among the founders of the national network of Dire anti-violence centers and the regional Tosca network. 

But perhaps the most important result we have managed to achieve in recent years is the construction of a network of relationships and services to support women in the area. A network that just two years ago has become even stronger and more widespread with the opening of six anti-violence branches in six municipalities in the Pisan area. 

Today, 30 years later, our house with its services and the activity of nine working groups is a point of reference for all women in Pisa and beyond.

How has Coronavirus impacted women's lives and how have you responded to requests for help?

The Coronavirus emergency has had a huge impact on women's lives. In fact, women risk paying a very high price in this pandemic because they are more exposed to domestic violence, poverty and social insecurity.

As the data of our anti-violence center, which has received 207 calls in the last two months, also show, forced isolation within the walls of the home is exposing many women to the risk of violence. Not only. The effects of lockdown and social distancing are causing an increase in women experiencing situations of serious economic difficulty.

The crisis triggered by the health emergency is severely testing the employment and autonomy of women. Because women have always been more exposed than men to precariousness and because they are more used in the service sectors (tourism, trade, assistance, etc.), or in those sectors which, due to the blockage of productive activities, are suffering the most repercussions hard. In fact, many have already lost their jobs or have seen their sources of income drastically reduced. Among them also women users of our services, followed by our anti-violence center or leaving the refuge home. They are single women with sons and daughters, jobless or precarious women, migrant women, women with experiences of violence. Women whose lives have been turned upside down and made even more difficult by the Coronavirus emergency. 

To offer them concrete support, we thought of activating the Solidarity Fund "Nessuna da sola". We wanted to call it that because it is not only a fundraiser but an initiative of solidarity and active participation.
The objective of the Fund is to offer concrete support to at least 10 women who, due to the pandemic and the economic crisis, are experiencing very difficult days. Thanks to the Solidarity Fund, each will receive a contribution to support basic necessities, such as paying rent and household utilities, buying food, clothes, diapers, toys and educational materials. In assigning the contribution, we will give priority to unemployed women with children.

For your crowdfunding you have provided some nice rewards. Can you tell us about it?

The first reward we thought of, in addition to a big thank you to all those who will help us, is the offer of our membership card, as a tangible sign of participation and sharing. 

And then there are the feminist cups that we made to remember three fundamental figures of the women's movement: Audre Lorde and Adriene Rich, two American feminists who fought a lot for the rights of lesbians and black women, and then Carla Lonzi, between the most authoritative voices of Italian feminism and founder of Female Revolt, one of the first feminist collectives in Italy. 

Finally, last but not least, a beautiful numbered print by the Pisan painter Milena Moriani, known for her great skill in the use of color. In 2016, just before his death, he created a beautiful exhibition right in our house and on that occasion he wanted to give us a series of prints. His works are now kept in numerous public and private collections in Italy and abroad. Here, those who donate 100 euros will receive all three rewards!

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