Serena Corsi *

The thread that ran through the discussion of the Focus Group of the Migrant Women Group in Centers against Violence: How the relationship produced changes was the question: does it still make sense to define us as native / migrant?

We have given ourselves different answers.

Why not: insisting on this difference could be a patriarchy trap to keep us divided, since our denominators as women are more important than differences; moreover, this definition is no longer restitutive of the experience of the second generations, an issue on which we will have to work with women who suffer the discrimination suffered by their sons and daughters but also by pressing on the institutions to modify the laws that deny citizenship to those who born or raised here.

Because yes : “Native / Migrants” whether we like it or not reflects a different legal condition, of access to rights; it is also an enhancement of the experience of migration as an encounter with otherness, as an adventure to evolve.

What arises from this meeting between natives and migrants in the centers and with what repercussions on the methodology?
In other words, how much better do we work with all women, including Italians, because the encounter with migrants and their experiences has stimulated us to reflect, to elaborate, to reveal?
We learn from the encounter with other cultures how much our cultural colonization weighs on us: just one example, in some centers people began to really reflect on the commodification of their bodies when they found themselves working with (migrant) women victims of deals with.

From unexpected subjects in our history as European feminists, migrants force us to conceptualize things that otherwise would have come much further in time, to dwell on taboos that are difficult to confront in our associations, therefore they provide us with a readable empowerment especially in terms from Loss (or renunciation) of self-referentiality; this is not only necessary, but fortunately physiological in the experiences in which specific projects on female migration have been functioning and rooted for years.
And so: in the relationship, it simply happens.

This not only for the paths and stories of women but also in function, within these projects, of the greater presence of migrant workers, thanks to which mutual reflections are experienced, sometimes symmetrical movements, in a permanent personal and collective research, which leaves room for more and more questions and fewer and fewer answers given once and for all.

In fact, questions that initially concern the lifestyles of others, over time become more and more questions about our lifestyle, about our state of the art with respect to the liberation of women in the West; the same happens symmetrically to migrant women, both workers and guests.

It is only in hand-to-hand combat, in this relationship in which we stop being self-referential, that we find creative ways that also affect the methodology: an example is the informal welcome that we experience in the Modena and Reggio Emilia Projects with migrants , that is to say a space of widespread relationship, of sociability, of sharing a meal, of "low threshold" moments of aggregation that then lay the foundations for the desire and trust to take a personalized path, which often over time also brings up the problem of violence.

Speaking of freedom and self-determination, we have also tried to tackle knots on which it is possible to read a certain rigidity for the history of the Centers, for example on spirituality or economic autonomy, knots that need to be addressed because they concretely concern the paths of women and their self-determination. It is not easy to avoid unknowingly proposing prefigured models without, on the other hand, falling into cultural relativism; we agree in keeping firm the horizon of "more rights for all" and not to retreat on the rights resulting from the struggle of the women's movement in Italy in the past decades.

"More rights for all", therefore, starting with citizenship rights, because their absence results in an incurable disparity, which hurts us, but above all because, with this expulsion from citizenship rights that we concretely touch in working with migrant women and their children, we can foreshadow what will happen to all if we continue to allow the logic of the market to decide life.

In this regard, we shared the intention of finally having our say as an Association D.i.Re on the shame of militarized borders, of the movements of women handed over to the mafias and of illegality, of the promiscuity in which women "prisoners" are forced to live in the Identification Centers once they land in Europe, of the violence they suffer before arriving . Now there is a neutral reception system, which does not take into account the different violence suffered by women on the way to arrival. We are convinced that these women and their stories should be welcomed "in the feminist way" exactly as we believe women who bring their experiences of violence to the Centers.
On a public level, we can support movements and campaigns already active in promoting a feminist and gender approach, for example the No Muri No Recinti Network of which Floriana Lipparini spoke in the pleanary assembly and which has already recognized the absence of stories "about the in the feminine ".

On a more micro level, we should also network with each other to bring out violations of citizenship rights (failure to issue a health card, obstacles to obtaining residency ...) on issues that could be resolved with political pressure at the territorial level / regional, running Working Groups that update each other on these fronts.

Finally, we said to ourselves that the matrix at the origin of apparently very distant gender-based violence episodes is identical: from refugee women abandoned by traffickers to die in the desert, to the British parliamentarian killed by a fanatic nationalist, to the Nigerian woman found dead there. 'yesterday on the tracks in Campania, the Orlando massacre, the femicides perpetrated by partners or former partners.

It is up to us to be able to read this identical sexist matrix, name it, and narrate it publicly.


*Lunenomadi Project Manager- Nondasola Association, Reggio Emilia