Berlusconi Rape Comment Triggers Outrage

Too many beautiful women to protect, says prime minister
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2009 5:50 AM CST
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is in hot water again, this time for saying there's aren't enough soldiers to protect all of Italy's "beautiful women" from rape.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's comment that his nation is facing increasing rapes because Italy has such "beautiful women" has sparked an uproar, reports the Times of London. He vowed to deploy more soldiers to fight crime, but said it will be impossible to protect everyone. "We could not field a big enough force. We need so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful," he said.

Critics accused the 72-year-old leader of being flippant about a serious situation. "Berlusconi would do better to stay silent rather than make offensive remarks about women," said a left-wing politician. "He is saying that if women go out alone, they risk being attacked because the whole territory cannot be garrisoned." Three particularly brutal rapes this month in and around Rome triggered an outcry among some sectors of the public against immigrants after Eastern Europeans were arrested in one of the attacks.