Woman beaten to death - femicide rates in Italy reach high levels

Italian Justice Minister sends in inspectors over case of woman killed by ex

By Region News North-east Italy

Justice Minister Marta Cartabia is sending in inspectors to see whether prompt and appropriate action had been taken in the case of a woman beaten to death in Bologna on Wednesday.

At the end of July, Alessandra Matteuzzi, 56, reported for her ex to the police for stalking. Giovanni Padovani, her 27-year-old former boyfriend, bludgeoned her to death with a hammer and other blunt instruments including a baseball bat on Wednesday.

Her nephew called for more people, including allegedly negligent officials, to pay for violence against women in Italy.

The case has revived criticism of Italian measures protecting women from violence and alleged police inaction.

Action against all responsible

Matteuzzi reported Padovani for stalking at the end of July.

“My aunt was a kind person and she didn’t deserve all this, I hope this episode serves to help change things,” said her nephew, Matteo Perini. “I expect him to rot in jail, but that it won’t be just one individual who pays, otherwise it will happen again”.

Women’s rights and domestic abuse activists in Italy have also called for those who failed to act to protect Matteuzzi to pay for their alleged negligence.

Beaten to death

The alleged femicide took place in the courtyard of Matteuzzi’s condo in via dell’Arcoveggio in Bologna. She was still conscious when medics arrived but died in hospital of massive head injuries. An autopsy has been ordered.

Matteuzzi had last reported Padovani at the end of July, after their relationship ended a few months earlier, police said. She said he had been stalking her, judicial sources said.

Padovani is thought to have flown to Bologna from Sicily on Tuesday and waited for Matteuzzi under her flat. She was on the phone with her sister when she was attacked.

Her sister told Tgr Rai Emilia-Romagna, “She got out of her car and started screaming: ‘No Giovanni, no, I beg you, help.’ I was on the phone. I immediately called the Carabinieri who arrived straight away. I live 30km away. In the end he beat her to death”.

Femicide in Italy

Italy has so far this year seen one femicide every three days. The victims have been exes, girlfriends, mothers and sisters.

Anti domestic abuse group D.i.Re-Donne in Rete President Antonella Veltri said “this umpteenth femicide shows the institutions have given a wholly inadequate response to the crisis, and they do not correctly apply existing provisions”.

In what smacks of an inappropriate and inadequate response, Bologna Chief Prosecutor Giuseppe Amato denied charges of judicial negligence in the case. He said a probe was immediately launched after the stalking report was registered on August 1 and the investigation could not conclude until August 29 because some of the people implicated were on holiday.

“We did what we could,” he said. The stalking report did not highlight “situations of a concrete risk of violence, it was just the typical conduct of bothersome stalking”.

The alleged murderer

Padovani has been arrested for the aggravated murder of Matteuzzi. He is a lower-tier Italian soccer player and former model. From Senigallia, in the province of Ancona in Marche, he has played various teams in Serie C and D including Foligno, Troina, and Giarre. He is currently with Sancataldese, another Sicilian Serie D team.


What Amato considers “just…bothersome stalking” casts a shadow over the life of many women, and in some cases results in injury or death. Surely, it is time Italian authorities take action to prevent these types of incidents by giving sufficient resource to reports of stalking, threats and abuse.

And at a time when politicians are vying for votes, now is the time to make concrete promises that will be acted upon. Not, like Giorgia Meloni, to take advantage of a woman’s abuse for electioneering purposes, but to push through laws that show that all Italians, all people visiting or living in Italy, are due equal protection.

Now is the time to teach and show respect for each other.

Now is the time to rid Italy of the misogynistic attitude demonstrated by numerous events such as Matteuzzi’s murder, and which can be found underlying many aspects of society.

This needs to start in the early years. Respect for each other, regardless of gender, sexuality, race or anything that differentiates one from another, needs to be taught from the cradle in homes, in schools and echoed throughout Italian society.

The death of a woman or girl at the hands of another person every 3 days is not only unacceptable it is unbelievably barbaric in the 21st century.

Now is the time to act to prevent the unnecessary death of another mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin or grandmother. Now is the time.

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