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“Led to dare”: another verdict about a rape was overturned in Italy because the victim was considered to be “luring” the attacker

In a western society that claims to be progressively more feminist and forward-thinking in regards to women’s rights, the number of day-to-day examples of the hypocrisies of these premises is increasing instead. On the 7th of July 2022 the Court of Appeal in Turin, Italy, overturned its previous sentence in the first degree. This sentence had previously condemned a 20 years old man to two years, two months, and 20 days of jail, after being found guilty of sexual abuse against a young woman. Now the judges have discharged the man in appeal of the charge of abuse, finding the elements of the conviction not consistent enough.

The crime took place in 2019: the woman and the man at issue had been friends for some time, while one night they met around the city of Turin, in a bar on Garibaldi street; they both had consumed alcohol that night. The woman asked her friend to escort her to the toilet of the bar since the man had previously worked in the place and knew its location. And in the toilet is where the rape took place.

According to the new sentence of the Court of Appeal, the girl “altered by an excessive use of alcohol [...] induced the approach of the young man, who was waiting for her behind the door". The sentence states that the girl leaving the door of the bathroom while she was using it slightly open lured the man into entering the toilet and sexually abusing her since he thought the open door was an invitation and expression of consent from her. Another detail that has been highly discussed is the fact that the zipper of the jeans the woman was wearing was damaged, if not completely torn apart, after the attack; the man charged with the crime himself never denied having taken down the pants of the woman. According to the judge of the Court though, this was not a clear sign of aggression: "nothing can exclude that on the excitement of the moment, the hinge, of modest quality, has deteriorated under forcing", he states.

This case has sparked in Italy many protests and discussions about the state of feminism and women’s rights in the country, where the issue of consent and the “guilt” of the victims of abuse still seems to be a very big problem. The conversation revolved around the theme of a woman’s responsibility in being attacked, depending on the judgment of her articles of clothing or the amount of alcohol she had been drinking. The case will be discussed again in the Supreme Court since the Prosecutor General's office has appealed the verdict.

Image credits: LaRegione

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