The media’s treatment of the murder of Giulia Cecchettin, 22, allegedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend Filippo Turetta, has sparked widespread protest.
Feminist organizations, activists, and human rights groups claim that the media’s treatment of the story perpetuated patriarchal tropes.
Turetta disappeared from his house more than a week ago, and German police apprehended him on Sunday. He gave his permission to be extradited to Italy on Sunday night.
Turetta and Cecchettin vanished on the evening of either November 11 or 12. When a video of Turetta acting aggressively toward Cecchettin appeared online last Friday, it prompted an investigation into the possibility of attempted murder. The following day, an arrest warrant for Europe was issued.
When Cecchettin’s body was discovered on Saturday with several knife wounds in a valley between Lake Barcis and Piancavallo in Pordenone province, about an hour’s drive from the Slovenian border, fears that her disappearance might be another instance of femicide were validated.
Cecchettin and Turetta were both 22-year-old University of Padua Biomedical Engineering students. Their two-year relationship had come to an end in the summer.
Turetta arrived on the tragic night armed with multiple plastic bags and a knife, according to reports from the media. He covered her body and drove off. A few days before his arrest, his vehicle’s license plate was captured on camera by an Austrian security system.
Before the body was discovered, the media’s treatment of the case had already drawn criticism.
While investigations into the disappearance of Giulia Cecchettin and Filippo Turetta… are ongoing, local media begin their morbid quest for intimate details, aiming to sensationalize the story,” wrote the transfeminist group Non Una Di Meno (NUDM), Not One Woman Less. NUDM also organized a protest in Rome on Saturday evening.
Following Cecchettin’s abduction, the parents and friends of Turetta have been quoted in the media on multiple occasions, characterizing him as a “nice guy” who is incapable of such murder. Media also exploited intimate details of the couple, publishing their Instagram account handles and old photos of the couple happily in love under the title “Missing youngsters: found the body of a woman, presumed to be Giulia Cecchin.”
“We label this poor journalism ‘media violence,’ which is one of the many ways patriarchy manifests itself,” said NUDM representatives.
According to the Minister of Interior, Cecchettin was the 83rd victim of femicide in Italy in 2023. According to data from NUDM, Cecchettin is the 91st woman killed because of her gender, in Italy in 2023, by a person close to her.
Image via Wikimedia