Pubblicato il: 24/11/2023
Students in the Great Hall of the University of Milan

Students in the Great Hall of the University of Milan

“Ad alta voce” (Say it out loud) is the new counselling and prevention service launched by the University of Milan to help female students recognise red flags in their relationships. Prior to this, our University had founded the Observatory on Violence against Women and set up the project Human Hall, a hub of research excellence promoting concrete actions to foster inclusion. Moreover, since last year the University has been offering the course “Gender Based Violence: an Interdisciplinary Approach”, to teach students how to detect, prevent and overcome gender-based violence in all its forms.

The new service was announced during the conference “Violenza di genere e stereotipi. Educare per prevenire” (Gender-based violence. Educate to Prevent), which took place on 24 November in the Great Hall of the University, on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The conference was also an opportunity to present the survey on gender-based violence and sexual misconduct at the University of Milan, whose results will be available at the beginning of 2024. “Ad alta voce” is promoted by the Deputy Rector for Legality, Transparency and Equal Rights Marilisa D’Amico and the Deputy Rector for Education and Student Services Marina Brambilla.

The initiative will be implemented in the framework of the psychological support services offered by the University, which help about 2,000 students every year, thanks to the agreements in force with local community-based services. “Ad alta voce” will also work in collaboration with the Sexual and Domestic Violence Support Service (Soccorso violenza sessuale e domestica - SVSeD), founded by Alessandra Kustermann at the Mangiagalli clinic. In the first place, the University will set up an on-campus counselling network for women who are involved in manipulative, obsessive or possessive relationships. The goal is to early detect these warning signs, which are too often minimised, and yet very frequently turn into physical and psychological violence. Subsequently, women who are struggling with this kind of situations will be referred to the SVSeD.

Marilisa D’Amico said: “The new gender-based violence counselling service, and its collaboration with a real anti-violence centre such as the one of the Mangiagalli clinic, will enable us to implement more targeted interventions to fight this serious phenomenon, for which even our students are seeking our help. To the shock and helplessness we all felt these last few days, the University can respond with educational, training and information activities on the territory, such as this one.” 

“This is a further measure that the University has put in place to ensure our students’ well-being. We are committed to making our University a place that supports students in all aspects of their personal growth and education, a place where they can be heard and assisted also when they experience violence and harassment, which must be stopped without delay”, continued Marina Brambilla.

The Rector of the University of Milan Elio Franzini concluded: “The death of Giulia Cecchettin, young woman and brilliant student, has prompted a huge public reaction and the need to take actions at different levels, actions that can wait no more. Universities are a place of growth for men and women, and play a key role in terms of education and awareness-raising. The University of Milan is carrying out many initiatives to tackle gender-based violence. Today, with this service, we want to take a step forward and give our female students the chance to be heard and helped, we want to join forces to prevent any threat of violence and encourage them to become fully aware of their rights.”