Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crucified Woman

MILAN - a leaflet for the campaign to combat violence against women: a naked woman in the crucified position, with the cloth which traditionally cover Jesus' groin and the inscription: "Who pays fof men's sins?". And the subtitle: "Only 4% of the women victims of violence denounce their own persecutor. The others pay for him too". This is the proposal arrived to Milan's Publicity Office from Telefono Donna (Women Phone) for the campaign on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women which will take place in 25th november.

The request is to expose 500 leaflets with this image in public space of the municipal district of Milan. In the leaflet the woman is lying down on a sheet, two pillows behind the open arms, legs with overlapped feet, palm of the hands lying down, as pierced by nails, in the traditional christian iconografic position of Jesus.

The town councillor for the urban furniture Maurizio Cadeo, is unwilling. He explains: "I don't know if I can refuse the spaces, but I totally repel the content which offends our christian tradition. I put the political problem and I will inform the mayor: I will ask to Telefono Donna to withdrawal the leeflet".

"I will let councillor Cadeo to decide. It's difficult to give a judgement. Judgements risk to be personal. It's not easy". This is what the mayor, Letizia Moratti, says during a presentation at Fieramilanocity, to answer about the leaflet.

"I am honoured because of what the mayor said. She shows care, class and sensibility. She has my approval, she didn't fall in the trap of who wants the fight. Unfortunately others are not her same level". This is the way Stefania Bartoccetti, founder of Telefono Donna, intervenes as regard what the mayor said.

"It seems deplorable to me - Bartoccetti says - the behaves of councillor Cadeo: he just could call me to tell he doesn't agree with the image, he still didn't do that. It's not fair he accuse me to use the religious theme in an offensive way: if I didn't have faith I could not testify my effort for violence victims. The mayor understood this and this is the reason she assumed that position. I thanks for her sensibiliy for an organization which works since 16 years, with 75 thousand cases resolved".

"We never started to print 500 leaflets if we didn't have the town authorization. But we have. The councillor didn't tell me anything about his objections. I know that now and I am surprised. We already have permission for the image and the spaces and we already asked for the terms of delivery. We have 500 of them in 100x140 size. I am surprised and I think this is not the right way to proceeed: give permission and then raise objection to the press. If they said they don't agree the leaflets we didn't proceed". The campaign, Bartoccetti explains, was created by Arnord Worldwide Italy.

"For sure it's a strong image and a strong impact message - Bartoccetti says - but the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women doesn't talk about candies, and in a campaign we can't just give numbers. Our mission is to pay attention and give voice to who lives this violences, and their real-life story is : I feel myself crucified. The message we want to give is a deep suffering one: for Heaven's sake, it's not comparable with Jesus' one, but is a deep suffering anyway". No intention, Bartoccetti specify, "to contrast town administration, even if I didn't expect this reaction after a given authorization".

"We ask for the immediate withdrawal of this campaign, which pursues a fair purpose exploiting the Christianity symbol". This is the position of the leader of AN at the town hall, Carlo Fidanza. "We need more respect for our cultural heritage. They talk a lot about dignity: this leaflets contrast dignity, common sense and public morals".

"I invite Telefono Donna to work more on concrete proposals rather than aping Oliviero Toscani. That image is in bad taste". This is the way the Forza Italia's leader at the town hall, Giulio Gallera, intervenes about the leaflets. "Sensitization on violence against women has to be tackled in a way different than images which has in bad taste and offend religious. Telefono donna should work more on concrete proposals".