At Giulia Cecchettin’s funeral, her father said he hoped her death at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Filippo Turetta might be the impetus to work against gender-based violence.
“May Giulia’s memory inspire us to work together against violence, may her death be the impetus for change,” Cecchettin said in his message to mourners at Giulia’s funeral in Padua.
“My daughter Giulia was exactly as you have got to know her: an extraordinary young woman, cheerful and lively, never satiated with learning.” He continued, that she had “embraced the responsibility of family management after the untimely loss of her beloved mother” Monica last year.
“Femicide is often the result of a culture that devalues the lives of women (who then become) victims of those who should have loved them. Instead they are harassed, forced into long periods of abuse, until they have lost their freedom, before they also lose their lives,” said Cecchettin.
“How can this happen? How could this have happened to Giulia?
“There are many responsibilities, but the educational one involves everyone. I turn to the men first of all: we must be the first to show that we are agents of change, against gender violence,” he added.
“I love you so much, and Elena and Davide [Giulia’s sister and brother] love you too,” said Cecchettin.
“I do not know how to pray, but I know how to hope.
“I want to hope together with you and your mother, and all of you here present, that this rain of pain will fertilise the soil of our lives, and one day it will sprout, and produce its fruit of love, forgiveness, and peace. Goodbye Giulia, my love,” he concluded.
Thousands attend Giulia Cecchettin’s funeral
Just under 1,200 mourners could be accommodated in the basilica itself, with the rest watching on big screens in Prato della Valle and live on television.
Lessons were suspended at Padua university where Cecchettin was due to graduate on November 16. Tuesday was also been proclaimed a day of mourning in the Veneto region, with flags on public buildings at half-mast.
“Today, on the day of Giulia Cecchettin’s funeral, I ask the entire Veneto region to send a collective signal, loud and clear, against gender violence,” said Veneto Governor Luca Zaia on social media. “[It must be] A day that becomes indelible, that marks a step forward so that events like this might never happen again,” he added.
On Monday night, the headquarters of the regional government were lit up in red in memory of all victims of femicide.
Following Giulia’s father’s message, the coffin was carried out of the church to long applause, bell-ringing, key-rattling and shouts of “Giulia, Giulia!”. The 8,000 mourners gathered outside had been asked by the family to make noise for a minute, challenging the country’s indifference towards femicide.