The stories of the women who suffered harassment during the Alpine gathering in Rimini

The stories of the women who suffered harassment during the Alpine gathering in Rimini

During the meeting of the Alpini which took place from 5 to 8 May between Rimini and San Marino, dozens of women said they had suffered physical and verbal harassment. Their testimonies were collected by Non una di Meno - Rimini which, even after the incident, is working to keep attention on what happened because the institutions, both locally and nationally, seem not to have grasped the gravity.

The first reports came spontaneously on Thursday 5 May, the first day of the meeting, as reported by Non una di less. “We asked ourselves if there were others and we published a story on Instagram - says one of the activists of the Rimini collective, A. -. After the publication we have received thirty reports in two hours and today we are more than 150 ".

The logic of the pack Among the thirty reports arrived in a few hours on Friday is that of Nicoletta, Rimini student: “When riding a bicycle, cat calling is the order of the day, so when returning home I ran into a group of fifty Alpine troops shouting at me about everything, I didn't pay much attention to it. Then I saw that story of Non una di less and I shared it, immediately afterwards a friend of mine wrote to me to tell me that it had happened to her too ".

But the worst for Nicoletta was yet to come. She was alone in the bar where she works when she saw two groups of Alpini arrive: the first was quiet, they asked her to use the toilet and then they went to the bathroom after ordering a drink, but when the second group came in and someone started harassing her, the first group also joined them, the one that seemed calmer. "At first I didn't react, I knew that doing so would only make things worse, but at a certain point I didn't make it and I gave her four, that's where the worst part began," she said.

Nicoletta decides to go to the kitchen to take care of some chores in order to ignore what is happening in the dining room, but her silence makes the Alpine troops even more angry, especially the younger ones: "They started saying that I had something that was wrong, that I was frigid, a boy who must have been twenty-six at a certain point started beating with his fists on the window screaming: hey, I'm telling you, listen because we are Alpini! " . It seemed, says Nicoletta, that they were claiming their right to harass her precisely by virtue of their belonging to the group and it was precisely this "herd" dynamic that frightened her the most.

Preaching well Yet, just doing part of the body of the Alpini should oblige an even greater respect for others, especially if it is a lonely girl who is working or walking down the street, because in that moment not only are themselves represented but also the whole body of the Alpini. On the Ana (National Alpine Association) website it is possible to read a Decalogue of the Gathering which, among other things, reads: "Wearing an Alpine hat does not authorize anyone to feel superior to others, quite the contrary! Anyone guilty of this guilt must be immediately expelled from the Section. One of the most revolting spectacles is offered by those who raise their elbows - continues the Ten Commandments -. Drunkenness is one of the worst vices of man: it degrades and demeans the individual, compromising his personal dignity ".

When I read this decalogue to L., she smiles bitterly: she lives in the center of Rimini and tells of having witnessed many episodes of harassing approaches aimed not only at very young girls, also at adult women who went to the supermarket. Then, it was her turn: “Saturday morning I ran into this group of Alpine troops, one of them pointed the camera at her face asking me for a photo, I turned around and accelerated my pace”. But they continued to bother her and one of them yelled at her "We took the photo of your ass anyway". L., like Nicoletta, works in a bar and always comes home very late, when I ask her if, according to her, the Alpine troops had followed the part of the decalogue that concerns nocturnal noises, she tells me that she has come across a few Alpine troops playing drums and trumpets at half past four in the morning.

M. was also in the center on Saturday evening to meet a friend. She had arrived in Rimini the night before, she was tired and was looking for a bus to go home, but around her she perceived something strange: “I was alone and completely surrounded by men; my decision to take a taxi was influenced by the fact that as soon as I left to look for the bus, I saw that around me there were only men and nothing but men ". One wonders how a woman could have felt in her place without the possibility of a taxi, but M. is peremptory about this: "I should be free to do what I want without being conditioned by the fact that there is a gathering of Alpini ".

Not just words M. like L. and Nicoletta also suffered verbal harassment, but A. says that at Non una di less they have collected seventy reports of physical harassment, mainly from women who work in the hotel sector and in that of catering. According to the testimonies, many waitresses were groped during the service: "They are continuing, and it is getting worse" they wrote to Non una di less, who after the arrival of the first reports opened a Telegram channel to provide ongoing assistance. to those who asked for support from a distance.

Their employers, in most cases, have played down what happened by saying that after all, customers are customers and recommending not to answer badly, so the support for these women has come above all from co-workers, even if a girl who works in a hotel had to ask her boyfriend to work shifts with her because she was too scared. "There have been cases of people asking to go to their room and take a shower with them," says A., who at explains how he feels today after collecting all these stories: "It was a very intense four days and tiring, but on the other hand I am happy that this thing has come out and that so many are contacting us ".

An absence that weighs The institutions, however, have not made their support felt. In addition to the silence of the regional president and the local Democratic Party, the activists of Non una di less feel particularly disappointed by the deputy mayor of Rimini, Chiara Bellini. "I believe that we should never accuse a group or a category of people just because some bad guys, criminals or harassers are part of them", wrote Bellini on his Facebook page where a photo of him taken on the occasion stands out as the cover image of the International Women's Day with the words "I always fight".

"I called the organization and pointed out the reports of some women, because the wrong behavior of some could also harm the good reputation and civic sense of others", wrote Bellini on May 6, trusting that organizers allegedly held off "certain individuals who seek to tarnish your good name". Nicoletta turns the screenshot of a comment that appeared under Bellini's post where a user urged not to make a shit out of everything and to "avoid fundamentalisms and approximations of any kind", to which Bellini replies: "That's what I think too ' I. Let's have fun all and all together ". Too bad that in the center of Rimini in those hours of women, especially young people, there were few of them, because they were all very frightened by word of mouth and by the many stories of harassment that were making the rounds of social media.

It is no coincidence isolated Also in Trento in 2018, it was the turn of the activists of Non una di less to collect dozens of reports of women who claimed to have suffered verbal and physical harassment during the meeting of the Alpini. “The fact that girls who have been harassed in previous meetings have written to us was of great importance - says A. -. They thanked us because then they did not find a space in which to talk about each other. They also told us about sexual violence with ongoing complaints ". The testimonies of the Rimini women and those of the women harassed during the previous gatherings are all similar: cat calling, harassing drunkenness, groping at waitresses, restaurateurs and hotel staff, or those who cannot choose to escape or stay at home.

The pattern, therefore, repeats itself, but from the Ana they are keen to emphasize, in Rimini as in Trento in 2018, that no woman has filed a complaint. In their official note that appeared in the newspapers following the first reports, we read "that almost all black feathers are over 38 years old, as if to say that" tipsy "and annoying young people cannot be theirs" that "anyone he can buy an alpine hat on a stall, even if it is not original, and use it to badly exploit the festive atmosphere by mistaking the Gathering for a sort of Oktoberfes t "and that, moreover," it is almost physiological that episodes of rudeness may occur "in a context in which thousands of people gather.

“I also thought of going to report, but I thought that I am going to do it, to make me laugh in my face? »”, Says Nicoletta, disconsolate. "If people who have been victims of violence want to report, we are willing to give full legal support", says A. who, however, is not confident: "Reporting cat calling, as well as a touch and a tug, is to make a useless denunciation as there are no laws that protect the victims ".

From Non una di less they ask for answers from the institutions as a sign of respect for the many women who have written to tell even if in the words of all a certain sense prevails of distrust. Before saying goodbye, M. asks me to underline that cat calling is not just a harmless whistle but derives from the culture of rape: “This is what they cannot understand. I wish that the great feeling of unease that comes from these circumstances could reach them, we cannot and must not diminish what happened ".

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