Italian journalist sexually harassed after match shows more needs to be done to protect women

If you had watched a Serie A match over the weekend, you would have noticed that the players and managers were lined up with a red mark on their cheeks.

It is not the latest fashion statement, but a symbolic gesture to address violence against women.

This campaign, titled Un Rossa Alla Violenza – a red card to violence – started in 2018 after Serie A partnered with a non-governmental organisation fighting domestic violence against women, WeWorld Onlus.

Players were also urged to contribute via social media with their wives or partners, with the women wearing red lipstick, and the same shade smeared on the cheeks of the players.

This season, its purpose was also to raise awareness of an anti-stalking hotline. This hotline in Italy was for women to report stalking and violence. In the last calendar year itself, calls to that hotline rose by 79.5 per cent.

Over the same weekend that Italian football showed its disapproval of violence and stalking against women, a female journalist, Greta Beccaglia was harassed outside Empoli’s Stadio Castellani at the end of the Tuscan derby between Empoli and Fiorentina.

This incident occurred on ‘live’ television, and was committed by Fiorentina fans; a fan could be seen slapping Beccaglia’s bottom as he walked past her.

She was immediately called by the president of the Order of Journalists of Tuscany, Giampaolo Marchini, who condemned what had happened and showed solidarity towards the journalist. He reiterated that the time had come to stop making light of violence against women, calling it a cultural and societal problem.

The journalist herself chronicled what had happened on social media, saying that Fiorentina fans, who had just witnessed their team lose by two late goals, started yelling unpleasantries at her as they came out of the stadium.

She soldiered on by smiling through the jeers, but claimed it was a smile of nervousness and sadness. She then urged those who recognised her assailant to message her privately.

It is a sad turn of events and demonstrates that a lot more needs to be done, not just in Italy, but all over the world, to better protect women against violence and sexual harassment.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.