Carole Beebe Tarantelli ’64 is an educator, psychoanalyst, former member of the Italian Parliament, antiterrorist activist, and women’s-rights advocate.
After graduating from Wellesley, Ms. Beebe Tarantelli earned a M.A from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Brandeis, both in English literature. While at Brandeis, she met Ezio Tarantelli, whom she married in 1970. The two moved to Rome, where Ms. Beebe Tarantelli began her career as an educator, teaching English language and literature at the University of Rome.
During this period she became interested in psychoanalysis, and in 1979, began training as a psychoanalyst at Centro Italiano di Psicologia Analitica (the Italian Center for Analytical Psychology) in Rome. She began private practice in 1982. In addition, she took part in the feminist movement in Italy and participated in numerous international seminars of feminist intellectuals.
In March of1985, Ms. Beebe Tarantelli’s husband, a prominent economist, was assassinated by Red Brigade terrorists. Later that year, she met in prison with a group of terrorists who had begun to question terrorism and the ongoing bloodshed it was bringing to Italy—part of an effort to fully understand the trauma her family had been through. She also became a visible antiterrorism activist, writing op-ed articles for prominent Italian newspapers and appearing often on television to talk about terrorism.
In 1987, Ms. Beebe Tarantelli was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies, becoming the first American citizen ever elected to the Italian parliament. While in office, she concentrated on women’s issues, including rape legislation, domestic violence, abortion rights, and family leave, as well as prison and health-care reform. She was instrumental in the effort to reform the country’s rape laws, ensuring that rape would be punishable as a serious crime in Italy. Ms. Beebe Tarantelli was re-elected twice, before retiring from politics in 1996.
In 1988, Ms. Beebe-Tarantelli joined a group of female colleagues to found Differenza Donna, an association to combat violence against women. From 1988 to 1995, she served as president of the organization, which opened Italy’s first shelter for victims of domestic violence. Differenza Donna has now expanded its operations to three shelters. It also provides 24-hour hotlines, counseling for women, and legal services.
Today, Ms. Beebe Tarantelli continues to teach at the University of Rome, to practice as a psychoanalyst, and to volunteer for Differenza Donna.
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