Sunday, September 2, 2018

Fathers’ Rights in Italy: Protest Against Suicides Resulting From Malicious Child/Father Access Denial


Fathers’ Rights in Italy: Protest Against Suicides Resulting From Malicious Child/Father Access Denial - By Robert St. Estephe

(This article was written in 2009 for the now defunct Glenn Sacks website. It was declined because suicide was considered to reflect badly on father’s rights activism because suicide is “violent.“ At the time the term ‘“toxic masculinity’“ had not yet gained currency as a feminist ideological explanation for male suicide.)

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Rome – April 7th, 2009 marked the 4th annual ‘“World Memorial Day’“ demonstration, an event held in Rome’s historic Piazza di Spagna. Giorgio Ceccarelli, president of the Italian organization Figli Negati (‘“Children Who Are Denied’“), announcing the memorial in his 2009 press release stated that the annual April demonstration is held in ‘“remembrance of all those Dads in the world who have killed themselves: men who have been destroyed by the pain because contact with their children was blocked by legal separation.’“

The date April 7th was chosen in honor of Antonio Sonatore, an Italian school teacher who set himself fire on April 7, 1996 in front of the Aosta Court House when a judge barred his access to his daughter following his separation from his wife. During the 2009 demonstration a minute of silence was observed at noon to commemorate another Italian father, Daniele De Nicola, who committed suicide on November 15, 2007 following the abduction of his son. Pro-family organizations from all over Europe are represented in the event. [Robert St. Estephe]

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‘“Separated fathers protest in Rome’“ Italy Magazine (English), Apr. 8, 2008

FULL TEXT: An association representing separated fathers staged a protest Monday near the Spanish Steps to draw attention to the plight of fathers who are denied visitation rights with their children. The demonstration coincided with the 12th anniversary of the suicide of Antonio Sonatore, who took his life outside the Aosta court house after he was denied the right to see his daughter. It is estimated that some 2,000 separated fathers commit suicide in Europe every year because they are not permitted to see their children. Monday’s protest included a number of black coffins to symbolise these deaths.

‘‘We want to remember those who have killed themselves and those who will commit suicide,’’ said Giorgio Ceccarelli, the founder and chairman of the Fathers’ Armada association, which is part of a Europe-wide association of like-minded groups which campaign for the rights of separated fathers.

‘‘In Italy, separated fathers are totally abandoned by the institutions,’’ he added. ‘‘Our country is the only one in Europe which does not have a Fathers’ Home,’’ a support centre for fathers left in emotional and financial difficulty after an acrimonious divorce.

Similar structures exist for women in Italy but not for men.

In the past the Fathers’ Armada has staged colourful demos in support of its aims, including a Batman parade around the Colosseum, marching through central Rome sporting orange wigs and large false breasts, wearing chastity belts at Rome airport and stripping down to boxer shorts to show how child support payments can leave them penniless.

The Fathers’ Armada won an important battle in January 2006 when parliament passed a law which strengthened the access and custody rights of divorced fathers and made joint custody of children the norm when parents split up.

In the past judges gave the mother sole custody of children in around 85% of cases.

‘“Separated fathers protest in Rome’“ Italy Magazine (English), Apr. 8, 2008

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Daniele de Nicola (died November 15, 2007)

A father of 31 years of Livorno has not endured the pain of losing his child, kidnapped by his mother in the indifference of the authorities to this type of crimes. The father had papered the city of his son’s pictures, the authorities let the child be made to go abroad on a regular scheduled flight.
In November 2007 Daniele hanged himself in the apartment he had just finished renovating for his family, and only grandparents remained to ask for the baby’s return home.


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APRIL 7, 2013, Aosta, Italy – A yellow flower, yellow as the brooms that pitifully, seventeen years ago, someone leaned on the black spot of gasoline in front of the court, where Antonio Sonatore sprinkled with gasoline and burned himself. It was April 7, 17 years ago; it was Easter morning and the man, psychologist and teacher, protested against a court ruling that allowed him to see his daughter only once a month. Sunday morning, before the court, the Association of Separate Parents for the Protection of Children organized a small ceremony, a bouquet of yellow flowers, a simple writing, 'Antonio Sonatore, a father', a moment of silence and then an applause for that father "guiltily forgotten" according to the association that asks the administrators of Aosta to name a street to Antonio Sonatore and to install a stele in his memory in the gardens before the court.

The service and photos on Gazzetta Matin on newsstands on Monday 8 April. In the photo, yellow flowers to remember Antonio Sonatore. (cinzia timpano)

[“Aosta named a street to Antonio Sonatore, the father who set himself on fire because he could not see his daughter,” newsvda.it, Apr. 8, 2013]

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