Compassion for the Benevento PM

The words used to request the filing of the case of rape of a husband against his wife tell the story of the lives of many people who have been taught to silence their own desire to make room for male desire. Perhaps the case will not be dismissed, but the story remains, in all its truth.
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Reading the device with which the Public Prosecutor's Office of Benevento asked for the dismissal of a woman's complaint of sexual violence against her husband, I found myself coming to terms with an unconscious feeling of compassion.

Those words stuck in my mind: the reported fact cannot be rape, argues the PM, because man must "win that little bit of resistance that every woman, in the course of a stable and lasting relationship, in the tiredness of daily taskstends to exercise when a husband attempts a sexual approach.".
Thus, the alleged violent acts reported by the woman are judged to be mere "carnal facts that need to be scaled down in their scope'.

These are the resigned words of a woman, and behind her a genealogy of resigned women, that tell of the sad ordinariness of the lives of wives educated that men, in the words of Elena Ferrante, "I'm going to be a man... willing to defend and serve them even if they crush and tear them". For quiet life they must learn to make themselves deaf and dumb to their own desires, even when they are sad and tired, meekly disposing themselves to welcome that discharge sex -i "carnal facts'.- to which a man is by nature entitled.  

Reading those words presented itself to me the noisy crowd of mothers and mothers of mothers who have always educated their daughters, pushing them towards their ineluctable destiny as women: "you do this and that'. We did it, we swallowed our anger, you're doing it too, don't look for trouble.

With those words, as in a calami slip, the Benevento prosecutor seems to have temporarily escaped the language of justice, albeit approximate -a rape is a rape is a rape- to write a fierce little story about the lives of many, with which too many will have recognised themselves.

The filing will probably be denied, the clamour has been too much. But that story remains, with all the pain and all the truth within it. It will serve some purpose.

Marina Terragni


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