Anna Costanza Baldry
Many different ways have been devised for keeping women sub-
ordinated in patriarchal societies. … Rape and assault, both within
the family and outside of it, are two of the most crude and brutal
ways in which patriarchal societies seek tomaintain the sexual
Domestic violence is considered to be any form of violence—psychological, physical, or sexual—perpetrated within the family. In terms of this chapter, domestic violence is that perpetrated by a man against a female partner, not only in married couples but also in partners living together.
The problem of domestic violence has been addressed only recendy. Very few books or articles were written until the 1980s. There has been in Italy and elsewhere a denial of domestic violence as being a crime against the person; it has rather been regarded as a personal matter to be dealt with privately by those directly involved (Ventimiglia, 1996). Moreover, the attitudes of those who interact with female victims suffering domestic violence (police officers, social workers, lawyers, judges) are difficult to change. The lack of support and negative attitudes make it difficult for women to step out of violent relationships, especially in parts of the country where there are no shelters or other organizations to support them.