An inter-university Desk against gender violence is set to open in Pisa at the instigation of the three Universities of the city, the University of Pisa, the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Sant’Anna School. The opening ceremony will take place on Wednesday 8th June at the new aula magna of the Sapienza, with a public event at the presence of Paolo Mancarella (Rector of the University of Pisa), Luigi Ambrosio (Director of the Scuola Normale Superiore), Sabina Nuti (Rector of the Sant’Anna School), together with representatives of the three Universities’ Guarantee Committees (Comitati Unici di Garanzia-CUG), and of the association Casa della Donna, in charge of the service.
Anonymous, free of charge and exempt from any obligation to report, the Desk will be available to those who study, research, teach and work at three Pisan universities. All those who have been victim of acts of discrimination, gender violence, or other acts in any way related to their sexual identity, including in places other than university premises, can approach the Desk. This initiative will address the needs of a vast community of more than 60.000 people, comprising students, teaching and administrative staff and that of private companies entertaining working relations with the three academic institutions. The Desk will offer, both in Italian and English, a service of listening, assistance and information on people’s rights, with a view to refer the situations of special needs and more complex cases to the relevant territorial structures, associations, social, medical and legal institutions. In order to guarantee anonymity for those approaching it, the location of the Desk will remain confidential.
The inter-university Desk against gender violence has been created thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Guarantee Committees of the three universities, convinced of the need to intensify their commitment in relation to the protection of victims of acts of violence and gender discriminations in the broadest sense, including the psychological, physical, sexual, moral and economic spheres. The creation of the Desk will be accompanied by an information campaign both online and through the display of information materials at the three universities’ premises. By asking a number of direct questions – Sexual harassment? Verbal violence? Stalking? Digital Violence? – the aim of the campaign is to highlight concrete cases in order to explain in what circumstances it would be appropriate and advisable to approach the Desk.
“The creation of this Desk marks a strong stance and stems from our firm resolve to counter gender violence. Not only that of physical nature, but also discrimination and other forms of harassment, too often overlooked, if not ignored, making this phenomenon – has commented the Rector of the University of Pisa, Paolo Mancarella – all the more pernicious. The fact that the project of the anti-violence Desk is born out of a joint initiative of the University of Pisa, Scuola Normale Superiore, Sant’Anna School, makes this achievement all the more relevant. I am convinced that first and foremost institutions should lead by example for citizens, as parents should do with their children. Only in this way it is possible to effectively counter gender violence, thereby removing its root causes and bringing about a significant change in our society”.
“We have worked jointly with the three Guarantee Committees more than one year and a half to create the Desk in order to identify the aspects to address, starting from the assumption that gender violence has a structural dimension that permeates all social contexts, including the academic communities – says Renata Pepicelli, professor at the University of Pisa and coordinator of the project for the establishment of the Desk. “Our Project – she continues – not only wishes to provide listening, support and aid to women, LGBTQI+ people and males who have suffered from violence and harassment, but also to promote a culture of respect and equality”.
“The inter-university Desk is a tangible element – notes Luigi Ambrosio, Director of the Scuola Normale Superiore – of which those who have suffered from violence in connection with their gender identity can avail themselves. Operatively taking advantage of the association Casa della Donna, the Desk guarantees well-established professionalism in managing such sensitive matters. For this reason, we have welcomed with great interest the project, which is part of a longtime process of development of inclusive policies undertaken by the Scuola Normale Superiore, for instance through the adoption of a Gender Equality Plan aimed at planning a number of actions to promote gender equality in our community”.
“The creation of the anti-violence Desk shows the three Pisan Universities’ will to actively have an impact – underlines Sabina Nuti, Rector of the Sant’Anna School – on this issue, which is more present in the everyday life of our students than one could think. This Desk, strongly promoted by the three Guarantee Committees, which I take the opportunity to warmly thank for the work they have carried out, will be a clear reference point, easily accessible by all to find support and indications to fight against any form of gender-violence”.
“L’istituzione dello sportello antiviolenza testimonia la volontà dei tre atenei pisani di incidere attivamente – ha sottolineato Sabina Nuti, Rettrice della Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna – su questa problematica molto più presente nella vita quotidiana dei nostri studenti e delle nostre studentesse di quanto si creda. Questo sportello, fortemente voluto dai tre CUG, che colgo l’occasione per ringraziare caldamente per il lavoro fatto, potrà essere un chiaro punto di riferimento, facilmente accessibile da tutte e da tutti, per trovare supporto e indicazioni per combattere contro ogni violenza di genere”.