Violence goes beyond femicide, Marceline Naudi tells vigil for Daphne Caruana Galizia

Violence against women starts with harassment and degrading words, Naudi says

Malta needs a change in its mentality towards women, gender studies expert Marceline Naudi warned during a monthly vigil held in remembrance of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  

“Violence isn’t just femicide – violence against women starts with harassment and the words used against her, in the street and on social media, words that are degrading and treat women as objects of pleasure for others,” she said. 

Naudi did not refer to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder as a femicide, a phrase that had irked activists campaigning for justice for the slain journalist. 

Instead, Naudi used her five-minute speech at the vigil to focus on gender-based violence more generally, after Polish student Paulina Dembska was raped and killed in a Sliema garden on 2 January. Her murder sparked a wider debate on gender issues. 

“We need a change in the mentality that women are there to cater to others – that women are only good to take care of children, of the house, and less suited to be party, country, or company leaders. This with the mentality that men are good for these tasks, but less so to wash floors or clothes,” Naudi said. 

“We need to stop these gender stereotypes that lead to the perception that violence against women isn’t a big deal. And while we do this, we need to make sure that women suffering this violence see justice served.” 

“It’s an unacceptable thing that a woman who files a domestic violence report has to wait years for the case to be taken to court. It’s unacceptable that women are made to feel that they’re not being taken seriously when they file a report, or when they take a case to court.” 

Naudi was the second speaker at the vigil. First to the stand was Alessandra Dee Crespo, Vice President of NGO Repubblika, who spoke more directly about Daphne Caruana Galizia and the mission statement of activists fighting for justice. 

“We’re still fighting because we want to make sure that the past isn’t buried, or worse, repeated,” Crespo said. 

The last speaker was Jon Mallia, known for his podcast series on Facebook and Youtube. He recently interviewed Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and spoke about  the impact of his mother’s murder as well as her wider legacy. 

“Those small moments I spent with Matthew [Caruana Galizia] were among the most authentic moments of my life. The most intense. Moments that led me to what I felt in my bones was certain. That’s why I’m here tonight,” Mallia said.