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Feb 19 2006

Italian Patriarchy, 1; Abused Teenage Girls, Bupkis

You know how when a teenage girl isn’t a virgin, it means she’s a dirty slut? So if her stepfather forces her to give him a blowjob, the court can say, well, she was just a dirty slut, so the experience of having her mother’s husband cram his dick down her throat against her will couldn’t have been all that traumatic? So it should just be a slap on the wrist for mommy’s stud-muffin?

ITALY: NONVIRGINITY LESSENS SEX ABUSE CHARGE, COURT SAYS Sexually abusing a teenager is a less serious crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy’s highest court said in a ruling. The court ruled in favor of a man who forced his 14-year-old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him and appealed a prison sentence of 40 months, arguing that the fact that the girl had had sex with other men should have been taken into consideration at his trial as a mitigating factor. The court agreed, saying that because of the victim’s previous sexual experiences, her “personality, from a sexual point of view,” was more developed and that therefore the damage to her was less than if she had been a virgin. The decision, which drew a barrage of criticism, opened the way for the stepfather to get a lighter sentence. (REUTERS)

[thanks Janice F]

48 comments

3 pings

  1. Kate

    So the Italians once again show off their patriarchal colors. I had a friend who was a third generation Italian-American. We used to discuss and compare the extent of patriarchal control in our families. She won out all the time, in fact her patriarchy ratoinalizations put a serious rift in our friendship.

    In all frankness, the Italians only have the temerity and the more entrenched patriarchical structure to allow their highest court to make such public statements and make such rulings.

    Less we think we have come much farther, think about the ‘abortion debate’ and how no one ever seems all that outraged about teen aged girls being pregnant or for that matter, 11 and 12 year olds engaging in sex.

    In a patriarchy women exist only as the repositories of dick, cum, digits and whatever else that may garner male pleasure. Therefore it is little wonder then that most people still can’t get their minds around the idea of women and girls as sentient beings.

    I just cringe whenever I read, hear or see a woman preening their daughters to comply with a construct that reduces them to the above while at the same time prattling on and on about liberal they are.

  2. Kat

    Are you SURE we’re living in the 21st century?

  3. wolfa

    I think you’ve totally misunderstood this case. The reasoning behind the ruling seems to go like this:

    Really, once you’ve had sex, or given a blow job, or had a kiss, or even thought about any of the above (especially if you’re not married), then you must want them all, at any moment, with any guy, so there’s no “damage” if you’re forced to do them, because you’re not being forced. There are some unfortunate laws on the books saying this isn’t the case, so this is the first start at chipping away at those laws. And only troublemakers would try to get their parents or parental figures jailed, and all trouble makers are super sluts who want sex all the time with everyone.

    It’s not just about teenage girls: anyone can be a dirty slut who has thought about sex.

  4. misspinkerton

    i’m with kat. that is beyond fucked up.

  5. Violet Socks

    Yeah, I posted about this yesterday when I saw it in the news — I couldn’t effing believe it.

    These same Italian fucktards are the ones who ruled a few years ago that a woman can’t be raped if she’s wearing jeans. (Their reasoning — and I use the term loosely — was that since it’s impossible to remove jeans without the wearer’s assistance, any sex must be consensual).

    Just to put things in perspective: in Italy rape was not considered a crime against a person until 1996. Before that, it was a “crime against public morality,” and convictions were virtually impossible to obtain. Is there any better example in the modern Western world of women’s non-personhood?

    It’s enough to make the patriarchy-blamer’s blood boil.

  6. Kate

    Yuppers, the ‘ole patriarchy at work. Only diff there is that laws that offer any effort to unweigh the man’s side of the scale(however slightly) haven’t stuck.

    Same old same old as here though, once a girl’s been penetrated, she ain’t nuthin but a dirty whore to be used and every man looks for a virgin so he can be the first in line for ownership and once that happens, well damn, its just a friggin’ free-for-all.

  7. Princess of Cybermob

    I don’t know enough swear words in English to be able to express my disgust sufficiently. But I do blame the patriarchy in every language I know.

  8. westlin

    This makes me want to throw up. And leaves me feeling abused by association.

  9. metamanda

    in Italy rape was not considered a crime against a person until 1996. Before that, it was a “crime against public morality,”

    not that this should make anyone feel any better, but that was also the case in Brazil until at least the late 90′s. I have no idea if that has changed yet.

    yuck.

  10. Ms Kate

    After all, her virginity is her daddy’s property anyway. She messed up what was his before he could get to it, so, well, what the hell.

    Never mind that her “unvirginal” status may have been the result of abuse, and would be considered the result of statutory (not caccitore) rape in the US.

  11. jaye

    Must be many men on the Italian high court who have had sex with their daughters and step daughters.

  12. Dorothy

    I can see a couple of “reasons” for this:

    1) Italian legal philopsophy is still stuck in the Medieval “rape is a theft of property” paradigm. The punishment of property crimes is less severe if the proprty is less valuable. Since a non-virgin is “damaged goods”, the girl’s “property value” is lessened, and therefore, the step-father gets a lighter sentence. This is infuriating, but it’s less creepy than…

    2) A woman’s first sexual experience is supposed to be traumatic. Since the step-father’s abuse was not her first sexual experience, the girl was already de-sensitized and didn’t suffer as much as she should have. That just makes me cringe at the possibility of what must be going through the judges’ minds when they have sex…”Gosh, I hope this *really* screws her up!”

    Ew.

  13. LMYC

    I’m a dago, and let me tell you something, shit like this is why Italian women are hard as nails. We tolerate NOTHING. I can tell you stories of my grandmothers defending themselves with cast-iron frying pans and butcher’s knives. The subtle and ancient art of poisoning was developed by Roman women — when you keep a woman from defending herself in the open light of day, she will resort to other ways. So if Italian men want to shit all over women — as men everywhere want to do — they’d better sleep with one eye open if they know what’s good for them.

  14. ginmar

    I love it how it’s a neverending circle. Blame the victims of abuse for the abuse inflicted on them when the original abuse makes them vulnerable.

  15. antelope

    I can’t find data on it, but a family friend who married an Italian guy & has lived outside of Florence since the early ’60s tells me that Italian women in their 20s & 30s are choosing not to ever marry in droves, and with full support from their mothers, who are very different from the mamma mia of the past & can’t see any reason why their daughters should put up with the same kind of crap as they did.

    I think she even said that while educated women are opting out of putting up w/ Italian male b.s. at higher rates, women w/ lower education & income levels are also marrying & a substantial amount less than they used to, and are also saying the reason is because they don’t see any benefits in being treated like a subhuman.

    The Italian media is, of course, lamenting this horrible state of affairs & wringing their hands as to what can be done to change *female* attitudes.

  16. Heo Cwaeth

    “The Italian media is, of course, lamenting this horrible state of affairs & wringing their hands as to what can be done to change *female* attitudes.”

    Well, that’s the standard cycle, isn’t it?

    1)Treat women poorly, and tell them it’s their fault.
    2)Women notice, and complain.
    3) Continue treating women poorly, and tell them there’s nothing they can do about it.
    4)Women notice, and (shock!) do something.
    5)Lament the ill-temperedness/immorality/non-compliance of women.
    6)Change the laws to further imprison women, so the something they once did is not a viable option anymore.
    7)Repeat as necessary.

    Bodicaea wasn’t just having a bad day, after all.

  17. wordgirl

    Two years ago a beautiful young woman who is the daughter of friends spent her junior year in college studying art in Italy. Two weeks before she left, she was attacked by 8 young men–well known in their village. She was raped several times and savaged in ways I won’t go into here. There was no justice for our friend either. Despite the fact that she was a very religious girl and guest in their country who had not been sexually involved with anyone there , it seemed not to matter to the families of these young men. They convinced the patriarchy powers-that-be that they were all virgins, too, and she had really “enticed” them into having sex. WITH ALL OF THEM!! Of course, the authorities believed the boys and not our friend. She had to be treated for some STDs which, due to the way they favor men there, made their case for their “alleged” virginity and her “alleged” promiscuity more plausible…at least to the idiots deciding who was guilty and who was innocent. She is still healing. The animals who raped her were not held accountable. So no….I’m not surprised by this article at all.

  18. dd

    westlin – I felt the same way when I read this story. It’s how I feel when I read any of these stories: initial total rage, then degraded and weak when I realize there’s nothing I can do to help that girl. It’s definitely a big “fuck-you” from the patriarchy.

  19. Sharoni

    And lest we forget, Italy is the home of the Vatican, which is the home of Catholicism, which is the home of people who have been oppressing women for centuries and make no bones about it. And I’m not sure if it’s still so, but never mind abortion, isn’t birth control illegal in Italy? I wouldn’t get married either. I wouldn’t even let one of those Italian fucktards touch my little finger, much less anything else on my body! I blame the patriarchy, the church that created the patriarchy, the men that enthusiastically support the patriarchy, and now I’m going to have to go to sleep thinking about this. I think I’ll think about barbeque instead.

    Hey Twisty, hope you’re feeling okay, your ramblings have been fruitful and your blamings superb.

  20. Christopher

    What. The. Fuck.

  21. Les

    When I read this story, I wonder how long before the American Supreme Court makes a similar ruling, what with our shiny new justices.

  22. jc.

    Our swedish high court ruled last year that raped and sexually assaulted/abused female minors are entitled to a lesser financial compensation as the “outrage” and trauma is less for them than an adult female.

  23. Galloise Blonde

    jc, that’s horrible! How on earth could they justify that? How can they generalise like that? I’m dumbfounded, and fizzing with rage.

  24. TP

    ARGH! How totally moronic.

  25. Kaka Mak

    For fuck’s sake! As Kat said: “Are you sure we’re living in the 21st century?”

  26. Nia

    Spaniards of all genders like to go out at night until very late hours; we do have a very strong “party is life” mentality. We also love to go on holidays to Italy and everyone is very surprised that a) Italians, who have the same mild climate as us, don’t go out that much. b) the ones who do, are nearly all young men. You don’t see any Italian women in the bars and discos. The Italian men then get a reputation for flirting/predating the foreign tourists.

    Spaniards travelling to Italy are puzzled by this, or they just assume the patriarchy doesn’t like women having fun at night. I never thought that Italian women might not be going out because they are scared.

  27. Twisty

    The first time I was ever goosed in my life it was on the steps of the fucking Duomo in Florence.

  28. laughingmuse

    Aside from the utter fucktardedness of this ruling….

    I am really changing my mind about visiting Italy.

  29. Jezebella

    If you’re going to Italy, go with your mama. Italian men will not mess with a woman who’s with her mom (or, I suppose, someone who could be mistaken for her mom). I was in Italy for almost two weeks with my mother and experienced no hassling whatsoever UNTIL I went for a walk in Florence while mom napped. I didn’t go anywhere else on my own after that one creepy afternoon.

  30. Kyra

    I wonder: if someone were to castrate the judge responsible, could they get a lighter sentence due to the fact that since he’s an asshole, he’d have been less likely to get laid, and therefore has suffered less from the loss of his testicles?

  31. yankee transplant

    Coming out of hiding to say, WTF?????????

  32. The Fat Lady Sings

    Italian men think nothing of shoving their fingers up into your vagina right out on the street. One of my theatre students was a fashion model before going the acting route – and she did runway work mostly in Milan during the 1980’s. ‘Wilding’ is common there – a group of men push you up against a wall and rape you with their hands. No one does anything to stop it – incidents like that occur right out on a busy public street. If you have the temerity to complain to the police – they get their rocks off making lewd comments calling you a whore for walking alone (during broad daylight on a public street) and they suggest the assault was your fault.

    So my model friend made good use of make-up to disguise her looks – or she pretended she was a nun (not that that always worked). Photo shoots or runway shows were even worse. The girls used to guzzle champagne just to be able to stand it. She barely lasted a year before heading home. According to her, Central Park in New York after dark was a safer place for a young woman walking alone than downtown Milan during lunchtime. Consider that the next time you make travel plans.

  33. Carpenter

    Wow, I remeber seeing the movie Fight Club years ago and getting mad as hell that the oly reason the middle aged male character didn’t have sex with his 16 year old daughters friend was that she was a virgin, cuae it would have been OK to fuck her otherwise. Then having my mal friends who saw the movie tell me that that character was a good guy cause he wouldn’t do a virgin. So this attitude isn’t that far removed in the US. If I were in Italy I’d start a riot.

  34. Violet Socks

    Italian men think nothing of shoving their fingers up into your vagina right out on the street.

    I’ve just thought of a good use for Amanda’s imaginary Vaginal Dentata.

    Isn’t it interesting how the myth perdures that Italian men are great lovers? That the Italian man, he loves the women! Actually it seems abundantly clear that Italian men hate women with the passion of a thousand suns.

    ‘Wilding’ is just the Italian equivalent of throwing acid on unveiled women, raping any woman not in hijab, stoning women who speak in public, yadeyadeyadeyade.

  35. Violet Socks

    or rather the heat of a thousand suns…

  36. Fran

    Carpenter,
    It was the movie-”American Beauty”, and it won an Oscar,among it’s many other awards. Go figure.

  37. Tony Patti

    The Italian laguage is hard-wired in many ways to produce complete and total acceptance of the Virgin or Whore vision of what it means to be female. Rape was practically legal the entire time I lived there.

    The Italian women were as hard as nails. I used to try to caution American women who went there about the rape situation but it is hard for an American to understand why those nice italian guys would think it their right and privilege to gang rape her if she was stupid enough to let them get her away from any witnesses.

    American models in Milan were fair game for the worst of the lowest sexual predators in the whole country. So much for the fun time in Italy your male-pleasing ways will get you. I weep for these girls, brought up to think that catering to male desires was harmless and a great way to make money, when they are thrown to these wolves.

    Yet when I went out in the four years I lived in Italy there were beautiful women everywhere. Women dressed very well, sometimes sexy, mostly just very sharp and elegant. But they traveled in packs. They lived in, at the least, pairs. I never really understood what it meant to an Italian woman to be alone with me. I never violated that trust, either.

    Italy is a place where sex is completely out of control for many men. When they have babies they calm down a little bit. Not so much that they would ever become faithful or turn down a chance at rape, but a little.

    Sexy talk in Italian is based on the word slut. It’s almost enough to make you wonder if it’s a pejorative term. But I was a straniero, what did I really know?

  38. Lorenzo

    I’m second generation Italian (my parents were immigrants) and this horrifies me, while not shocking me. The normalization of a highly predatory sexuality in men is virtually absolute there and the mysoginy is still quite explicit and pervasive. It’s one of the things that dissapoints me most about it.

  39. Burrow

    And I have a passport from this country. Ugh. I never travel alone in Italy either, mostly becasue of this and the fact that the last time someone pinched my ass I hit them really hard with my bag, asshole. It’s good to not be alone if you tend to do things like that, and although my cousins don’t understand why I get so angry having some local boys to stand up for you in these situations is unfortunate but neccesary. (Though I usually get a lecture about how I shouldn’t hit men over the head with my bag for pinching my ass, but I’m really good at tuning them out.)

  40. Violet Socks

    I don’t think I should travel to Italy. I don’t even cope well with American sexual harassment.

    Once when some car-borne fucktards harrassed me by cruising along the sidewalk where I was walking, I became so enraged I attacked them with the shoes I was carrying. Tried my best to beat the shit out the guy’s head. Not smart, but I was majorly pissed and sick of not being able to walk in the goddamn city without being harassed. Fucktard driver hit the gas and they sped off, looking scared!

  41. Twisty

    Ha! Weenies.

  42. Jodie

    Maybe it’s because I’m old and “fluffy” (fluffy enough that apparently there are no Italian clothes my size) but when I visited Venice and Rome in 2004 with my pretty 18 year old daughter, no one bothered us, flirted with us, or touched us.

    Men and women both were kind and helpful, both my daughter and I were treated with respect every place we went (including the outdoor junk market in Rome), and we didn’t have any problems at all, except for the female gypsy pickpocket who tried to steal my purse.

    Even during the transportation strike, when we walked through what looked like some unsavory neighborhoods when we were stranded, we had no problems.

    Perhaps it was that we went during December, and there were few tourists, or maybe it was because we stayed in hostels. Maybe we were just lucky.

    I suppose what I am saying is that I was utterly horrified by that court ruling, and by the experiences others are relating. I don’t know how to reconcile that with my experience there.

  43. Christopher

    “Our swedish high court ruled last year that raped and sexually assaulted/abused female minors are entitled to a lesser financial compensation as the “outrage” and trauma is less for them than an adult female.”

    How does that even make any sense at all?

    The Italian ruling is about like saying “He was always giving people little gifts so obviously he didn’t mind so much when I stole his car”. It’s a blatantly disfunctional and wrong view of humanity but at least there’s some kind of internal logic to it.

    But how does this swedish thing even work? What’s the logic?

    And yeah, Italy just dropped to roughly the level of Afghanistan or Pakistan on my list of places I want to visit.

  44. SisterJ

    How do we know it wasn’t the stepfather – or some other fucktard of his generation – who made her a non-virgin in the first place? Does this mean it’s OK to be the second, third, fourth guy in line at a gang rape?

    And could somebody PLEASE make a map showing places where it’s safe to be a girl?

  45. B

    That thing about the swedish court actually came about because of the new and stronger laws regarding rape. Now even statutory rape is considered real rape and what is sexual abuse if the girl is over eighteen is rape if she is younger.

    Naturally some idiot judges then decided that this must mean that raped children then shouldn’t have the same amount of compensation as adult rape victims.

    I believe that the outrege this ruling caused made them change the laws again so that children wouldn’t be able to be discriminated like this again.

  46. ginmar

    Sisterj, that would be a mighty blank map.

  47. BetaCandy

    Thanks for the education, guys – I had no idea Italy was like that. My travel dollars will be spent elsewhere. That’s just plain evil.

  48. Jenny M.

    A few years ago Italy decided that if a woman was wearing tight jeans before she was raped, the act couldn’t be considered a crime because she had to pull down her pants, therefore giving consent.

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    [...] 2. If an Italian girl isn’t a virgin, it means her rapist is less culpable for his crime. Because rape is way less tragic if you’ve had sex before. And if your step dad forces you to give him oral sex, well, it couldn’t have been that bad since you’re already a slut. [...]

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