Italy Ruling in Rape Case Triggers Outrage

Judge was skeptical because the woman didn't fight back hard
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2017 10:59 AM CDT
An Italian judge threw out a rape case because the victim didn't scream.   (Getty Images/ kieferpix)

(Newser) – A judge in northern Italy has triggered outrage after setting free an alleged rapist because the victim didn't scream. The woman said she tried to fend off her attacker, a colleague, by saying, "Stop it" and "Enough," but didn't cry out for help, the Washington Post reports. As a result, the judge called the woman's account "unlikely" and said the 2011 attack "did not exist," the BBC reports. He faulted her for not showing "adequate emotion that a violation of her person had to inspire in her." The woman said the man forced himself on her and threatened to withhold work if she didn't comply. She told the court that "sometimes saying no is enough," adding that "maybe I did not use the force and violence that in reality I should have used, but that is because" the man was "too strong." Now she faces a slander charge.

The defendant, 46, a Red Cross worker, maintained the two had consensual sex. The ruling has prompted the justice minister to demand an investigation. Lawmaker Annagrazia Calabria fumed that the "incomprehensible" decision left her "speechless," adding, "Certainly, you cannot punish the personal reaction of a woman terrified by what is happening to her." The Post notes that it's not the first controversial judgment in Italy involving sexual assault. In 1999, a high court famously threw out a rape conviction because the young victim wore tight jeans. (Ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi once said Italy was facing more rapes because its women were "so beautiful.")

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