The modern, Italian Cinderella lives in Turin, the city surrounded by the Alps. She is a 7-year old girl who doesn’t live in a castle. She comes from a tiny village in Morocco, where she lived with her mother and the abusive grandmother. Cinderella’s father had left, building a new life and family in Italy.
After years apart, he wants her back. And Cinderella believes this is the beginning of a new chapter, away from the grandmother’s abuse and with her father, the king. When the 7-year old reaches Turin, she meets her stepmother and her half-sister, who is almost her age. She thinks she will now have a playmate, to dress up dolls and do puzzles with. After all, they are both princesses. She has no idea how wrong she is.
The abuse begins
She soon understood that she wasn’t a princess, just a servant. The princess was the other daughter, who received both privileges and love. While the Italian Cinderella has to take care of the house, clean, wash, and iron, the princess watches. And so do the stepmother and the father, barking orders at the girl.
She has to take of three people. There is so much to do, she falls behind in her school work. Since she doesn’t have time to study, she gets bad reviews from the teachers. The bad reviews equal punishment. It can be a bite, a slap, a pinch. Or the stepmother hits her with the belt or she burns her. Meanwhile, the father watches. Sometimes, he even joins in the abuse, tying his daughter on a chair and whipping her with a belt on the sole of her feet. The stepsister covers her mouth to make sure the girl doesn’t scream.
However, the abuse isn’t only physical. In fact, the Italian Cinderella barely eats, often just the scrapes. She doesn’t receive a word or a gesture of affection. To her family, she is worthless, a simple “nothing.” The last drop on the psychological abuse is the threat of sending her to Morocco to force her into marriage. The 7-year old girl believes every word. And she is alone.
She is alone until her physical education teacher notices warning signs. Cinderella is now 11 and she has endured the abuse for four years. She has had enough and she reveals everything.
The Italian cinderella case is now closed
Both the stepmother and the father went on trial for the alleged crime of mistreatment. The defense claims the girl was exaggerating in the description of the abuse. After months of witnesses, defense, and accusations, the case is now closed. The father has been acquitted while the stepmother has been sentenced to one year and six months in prison. While the reasons for these decisions aren’t clear yet, it seems like justice for the Italian Cinderella hasn’t done enough. Just like it doesn’t do enough for the victims of stalking.
The consequences for the girl
The abuse and reclusion has caused her problems that go beyond the physical scars or the psychological ones. Now, the Italian Cinderella is dyslexic and she suffers from dysorthography. Her experience translated into a tangible symptom, into something others can see and notice. But they noticed too late the abuse.