Experience taught me that personal stories and events help people understand the pain of different causes
Being part of a charity means devolving time and effort for a cause that may interest only part of your community. A challenging skill that can be acquired when taking part in a non-profit is being able to spread this interest to those who personally do not feel a connection with the cause, but realize its importance. As co-founder and board secretary of a charity, bon’t worry INGO, that fights gender-based violence, it is part of our mission to be able to include the community as whole in the public debate.
A conference on bullying and cyberbullying
On October 8th, bon’t worry organised a conference on bullying and cyberbullying with members of the government like Senator Elena Ferrara — who signed last year a law to protect younger communities online on cyberbullying —, lawyers, and military representative as Captain Giovanni Colletti, part of the Milan investigative group to fight online crimes, as speakers.
Why should everyone care?
Why should anyone care? I am honest when I say that I am unable to “care” for so many causes it feels greatly overbearing. This, I think, is due to the mistake that frequently charities make when they engage with the public: it is not that society should care it is that a message should get through. Opening the debate, and repeating these events, is quite simple, while getting it into the minds of people who then go out in society and now realize things they did not previously observe, is difficult. If you come to any of our events, aside from the great utility that donations bring allowing us to financially support our victims, we care about spreading the reality of the issue. It is a step forward when there is understanding and awareness on any cause that is then spread among each other.
I frequently heard the phrase, “I did not know.” Yes, we often do not know that the smiling married couple next door is actually separating because the husband abused the wife and forced her to a life of hidden domestic violence. We did not know that the man screaming randomly to his broken car down the street is being psychologically abused by his partner. It did not hit me so harshly, until I co-founded this charity, that babysitters could have the courage to abuse six months infants, or even that fathers could abandon or rape their daughters so easily. The most absurd fact I once heard is that sometimes mothers, aware of the abuse on their daughters, let that happen, frequently not out of fear, rather because “the husband knows better.”
All forms of abuse are violence
I prefer events where people happily gather to support each other, such as the small concert at the Teato Dal Verme in Milan, organized after the conference. Italian and international artists such as Claudio Damiani, Marina Morena, Daniela Ferrari Boschi, Rosy Cannas, Marina Morena, Alex di Maggio, Elisabetta Viviani, Klaus Bellavitis, and our testimonial Vittoria Iannacone, were present. In three years of existence of the charity, experience has taught me that personal stories and collective events help people understand the pain of different causes because, unfortunately, abuse has no limits.
You can be an abused woman, immigrant, or animal, and your violence may be physical or mental, it does not matter: it is anyhow a form of violence. I entered this charity with a personal story of a difficult divorce between my parents and an absent father who left my mother and I, yet I do not compare my story to a woman who was abused. If I cannot even remotely comprehend her pain, it does not mean I cannot help her. Sharing the pain is a form of help. Being able to spread this message of respect regardless of gender, race, religion, or even species, seems so difficult even to explain. Victims are ashamed and this is why spreading the message is crucial.
Italy’s system stipulates that legally the police needs permission to arrest an abusive man even when his victim reported the crime. This system needs to evolve, not to change. We should comprehend the forms in which abuse happens and we need to learn how to respect. In over three years, we have supported over four hundred victims towards a healthy life away from violence, celebrating their courage to move on.
Human’s cold treatment
After three years, I am speechless to the limits of pain humans can inflict each other, but I am even more speechless to the cold treatment humans have for those who have suffered. It takes a smile, a nice word, a simple presence, a supporting word to make a difference, not only money or huge amounts of time. It takes being honest that you do not love someone else and leave them unhurt, it takes respecting an animal and not hurting them just because they allow you to, and it takes respecting someone else for personal choices that do not hurt or take away your freedom.
It takes also awareness of things you may not comprehend, as climate change, but trust that collectively we must act and that those actions, as energy saving choices or protesting against gender-based violence, are necessary for us all to prosper. As living beings who choose to support one another.