'Almost satanic': Pope Francis condemns violence against women

‘Almost satanic’: Pope Francis condemns violence against women

Pope

In a strong public display of condemnation, Pope Francis has spoken out about violence against women, saying domestic violence is “almost satanic”.

The 85-year old made the comment on a television program broadcasted on Sunday on an Italian network station, which featured conversations between him, three women and a man. 

One of the women, Giovanna, a victim of domestic violence, asked Pope Francis about his views on the issue.  

“The number of women who are beaten and abused in their homes, even by their husbands, is very, very high,” the Pope replied. 

“The problem is that, for me, it is almost satanic because it is taking advantage of a person who cannot defend herself, who can only [try to] block the blows,” he said. “It is humiliating. Very humiliating.”

The pope reiterated his belief that women who were beaten and abused had not lost their dignity. 

“I see dignity in you because if you didn’t have dignity, you wouldn’t be here,” he told the woman. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the pope has spoken out against domestic violence on a number of occasions, highlighting the importance of addressing the issue as incidents soared when lockdowns left victims trapped with their abusive partners. 

In February, in a video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network as part of his prayer intention for the month, he called abuse and violence against women “acts of cowardice and a degradation of all humanity.”

“Let us pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded by all,” he said.

“It’s shocking how many women are beaten, insulted and raped.”

“The testimonies of the victims who dare to break their silence are a cry for help that we cannot ignore.”

The latest police figures from Italy showed an average of 90 daily cases of violence against women in the country—  62 percent were domestic-related. 

On the same day as his latest comments were made, the Pope celebrated his 85th birthday with children and families helped by the Vatican’s charitable paediatric clinic, the Santa Marta Paediatric Dispensary. 

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