Laurence Dorman writing about...

Credit: Russell McGovern

The Theory of the Rose

Italy - Thousands marched through the streets of Rome between Piazza della Repubblica and the square in front of the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran on Saturday in a procession organised by Non Una Di Meno, the feminist network that was founded in October 2016 in a sudden burst of energy as multiple currents came together to campaign on a common platform for women’s rights and to combat male violence against women. The crowds were made up of people from collectives, autonomous groups, anti-violence centres, women’s shelters, as well as just normal members of the public, all there to build on the momentum that was started the year before.

They were there to announce their Feminist Plan to Combat Male Violence Against Women, which proposes no less a “program of struggle against the violence of patriarchy and capitalism”, and makes bold demands for structural change and new rights in order to achieve these aims.

At the end of the march, among the many speeches and announcements that were made, a letter was read out, written by a young militant named Eddi, a member of the movement who had left to unite with the Kurdish women fighters in the YPG who have liberated the Raqqa from the yoke of Islamic State. She spoke of the ‘Theory of the Rose’, that has inspired the Kurds.

Every creature has its own self-defense system. The rose cultivates the beauty of its petals thanks to the thorns that protect it from that which menaces its existence. Every woman is a rose that can only flourish thanks to her thorns, her defenses. To defend onself, one needs cultural, philosophical, and social foundations that are entirely different from those that are at the base of the patriarchy. The women’s revolution is the revolution of the roses.

The following day the president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, invited 1,300 women to attend a hearing on violence against women. The testimonies were aired live on public television, and account after account was heard of women whose lives had been broken by male violence and inadequate protection in society as the state failed to help them bring their aggressors to justice. Unresponsive police forces, slow and unpredictable courts, prisons that fail to sufficiently rehabilitate. Behind these stories, a figure: every two and a half days, a woman is killed at the hands of those who are supposed to love her.

With the shockwaves from media campaigns against male violence like #MeToo still reverberating around the world, the movement called for a global strike of women and men on the 8th of March 2018 in order to coincide with the International Women’s Day. The formation of a truly international, grass-roots women’s movement seems to be becoming a reality. May the rose revolution unfold the world over.