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July 10, 2020
Egilda Orrico, an activist, sits in the window of 'Lucha y Siesta' (Fight and Rest) women's house, a...
Rome, Italy
Rome abuse protection centre risks closure despite surge in domestic violence during coronavirus lockdown...
Egilda Orrico, an activist, sits in the window of 'Lucha y Siesta' (Fight and Rest) women's house, a building run solely by activists to look after women suffering from domestic violence in the city, in Rome, Italy, July 8, 2020. "This place changed my life. This house chose me, then I chose it" said the activist. 'Lucha y Siesta' has been a crucial lifeline for women suffering from domestic violence and abuse in the city for 12 years, helping and supporting over 1,200 women and around 400 children. The previously abandoned building was occupied and transformed by women's rights activists in 2008, who also use to the space to hold workshops and training for all ages on how to fight gender violence. It is now under threat and risk of closure as owners of the building, the city's heavily indebted public transport company ATAC, plan to sell it for around 2.6 million euros to claw back some much needed finances. During lockdown, 'Lucha y Siesta' had a 30 percent increase in requests for help, and had to come up with alternative ways to accommodate the emergency situation after local authorities threatened to cut electricity and water in the building in an effort to push the women out. Volunteers warn losing the beds available will restrict critical help for vulnerable women in the Italian capital. The entire city of Rome has only 39 beds available for women escaping violence and Lucha y Siesta makes up 14 of those. Three women arrived at Lucha during lockdown. Picture taken July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
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