* Giuliana Pincelli

The objective of the second group was to start from what troubles us, from what we encounter as an obstacle and is perceived as a source of malaise for all of us who work, even if placed differently, in associations and anti-violence centers, to put try some categories and analysis schemes elaborated by Ota de Leonardis in his studies on institutions, and test their usefulness. So let's try to see ourselves, our Centers as institutions. There is no doubt that almost all the Centers that refer to Di.Re now have the characteristics that I list below and which are undoubtedly typical of the institutions:

  • We have ensured durability and stability over time
  • We count on public funding disbursed in various forms that allow us to welcome women in situations of violence, with continuity and effectiveness.
  • We use paid work
  • We are able to provide women in need with ongoing help and responses at different levels
  • Many of our Centers are part of the territorial networks to combat violence against women, generally under the direction of local authorities.

Alongside the positive aspects that are partly present in the points indicated above, we also perceive problems and criticalities that I will indicate briefly, but which would require to be illustrated through the many examples that our everyday experience offers us: opacity, that is, letting ourselves be guided by routine behaviors and automatisms that we can no longer see and name ..., the stickiness, the tendency to put forward the purpose of one's self-preservation and expansion with respect to our original purposes, with the loss of sense of our doing... this, which is the heaviness of having become an institution, lies in or behind many criticalities, problems, discomforts that we feel but, at times, due to a lack of reading skills, we transform into unmanageable conflicts or sterile contrasts (e.g. . the conflict between operators and volunteers, between professionalism and politics, between old and young, etc.) from which we can no longer extricate ourselves, real language traps.

Let's stop being afraid of recognizing ourselves also in our reality of institutions, let's stop throwing the responsibility for our difficulties and contradictions only on the outside, on the constraints and limits set by public institutions. Looking inside ourselves, increasing awareness of the mechanisms in which we risk being trapped, can at the same time help us to identify strategies for change and seize the positive potential that being a women's institution it allows us to develop, even in comparison with other institutions, of women who work in fields other than ours, but to which we are bound by a common political ground.

In the group discussion, the point of view presented in the introductory report proved to be very productive and stimulated a great variety and richness of reflections that do not have the space to be presented here. What emerged most interesting and which requires at least a mention in these few notes was the effort to identify directions for change:

a) Differentiate the sources of financing, reducing the share of public money compared to private financing through a relaunch of the fund-rising

b) To move in the direction of opening the possibility for the women we welcome to become 'activists' on an equal footing with us, removing what today is an obstacle to the desire that is sometimes expressed by them

c) To set in motion situations in which it is possible to act together with the women received, starting from their needs, for example. to have a home, so that we are no longer only those who make requests, but also those who show the strength that we have been able to build in the relationship

d) Broaden the view (both as an analysis and as an intervention) from violence against women as a precise fact in the relationship between the sexes to the systemic and structural violence to which all, in this phase of neoliberalism, are subject.

A final theme, introduced by the report, that of the forms of internal democracy, the management of conflicts and the question of power within us, in relations between women, gave rise to many and interesting reflections, for example. in particular, we focused on the passage from the conflict (which can be experienced in a positive sense) to war, when the woman who is different from you is experienced as an enemy, as the bearer of a vision that is irreconcilable with yours and the way opens up to abandonment and expulsions. On this issue, as well as on the dissatisfaction with the use of majority and minority mechanisms, typical of that representative democracy with respect to which women have always felt quite alien, we have proposed to make them the subject of discussion at the next meeting of the School of policy.


*House of women in order not to be subjected to violence in Modena