Romina Meneghini’s ex-husband destroyed her leg with a shotgun. He received a sentence of 5 years and six months in prison, but to this day, he has not had to pay a single day of the sentence and remains free.
When Esteban Piccinin —an Argentinian former road racing pilot —was sentenced to 5 years and six months in prison, his wife and victim, Romina Meneghini, finally felt some satisfaction.
Her husband's violent gun attack changed her life forever, robbing her of her health, her mobility and her sense of security.
After three years of marriage, and one month living apart, Piccinin attacked Romina with a shotgun— which she said could easily overthrow a wild pig —from less than 2 meters away.
However, five years after the sentence was issued in 2014, Piccinin still hasn’t spent a single day in jail.
Even though the crime of "femicide" already existed, the incident was ruled as "aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and possession of a weapon of war."
After a judge found him guilty, the man appealed the decision, and the case was moved to the Federal Court. To this day, the sentence continues pending, and he’s taking advantage of the situation, walking around as if nothing happened.
"I survived everything only for him to continue to walk free. It was a year of terror; I lived screaming in pain," said Romina. "I was imprisoned the three years that I was married to him," she added.
Piccinin used to threaten her, repeating that "I’m going to kill you first and then I’ll shoot myself." But that fateful day, he only shot her.
Once separated, he stayed living in his home in Morón, where they lived together since it was the property of his parents.
“If he hasn’t hurt you in the last years, he will not do it now.”
On October 15, 2013, Romina had planned to pick up some of her belongings in the house. She let him know beforehand, and he agreed. But once they were face to face, Piccinin took the opportunity to commit his brutal attack.
"He had planned it, he deceived me and locked me in the garage. Then, he went to get the gun, loaded it, and when he came back, he shot me."
The bullet left a 17-centimeter hole in Romina’s leg. She was in a coma for a few days, had to undergo 57 surgeries, suffered two cardiac arrests, and is still going to rehab.
To this day, Romina still receives a disability pension, but it took her five years to get it.
"He not only ruined my physical health," says Romina, explaining that she has experienced severe psychological strain, depression, stress, anxiety, and many other mental health issues.
She also revealed that the man even sent other people to threaten her during her recovery, which led her to remain silent until the trial.
However, she said that "the judge was not interested in listening to me, nor did they ever interviewed the neighbors or witnesses."
In 2017, Romina had to ask for a restraining order before undergoing one of the many surgeries she has received.
It was necessary because Piccinin now works as the head of maintenance in the hospital where she was going to be operated.
And even obtaining the restraining order was difficult. Some officers told her that “If he hasn’t hurt you in the last years, he will not do it now,” Romina recalled.
For now, Romina keeps waiting for the Supreme Court to act on the request for a complaint filed against Piccinin so that he can finally serve his sentence.
Romina is one of the millions of women all around the world that wait for justice to be served on their domestic violence cases. Although she can consider herself lucky for surviving the attack, there are many other women who end up buried and unable to make their voices be heard.
However, there are other women that have become survivors and that are fighting for female rights, like he Italian Gessica Notaro, a former beauty queen that was the victim of an acid attack perpetrated by her ex-boyfriend.
Edson Tavares, the ex-boyfriend of the Miss Italy finalist, was convicted last year for the violent attack that left the beautiful woman disfigured. The court decided to combine the penalty with the crime of harassment, which Notaro also suffered for two months.
The man was initially sentenced to 18 years in prison, but after an appeal, his sentence has been reduced to 15 years.
Notaro's left eye suffered irreparable damage, while her face required many surgeries. today, she uses a patch to cover her eye, but has made her story becomes an example of how domestic and gender violence is affecting more and more women globally.
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