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February 18, 2006
Bad Girls Deserve Abuse? Italian Court Says 'Si!'

The Italian supreme court handed down an inexplicable decision in a sexual assault case, saying that the jury should have been told about the sexual history of a 14-year-old girl when considering the guilt of her stepfather for forcing her to submit to oral copulation. The decision paves the way for a reduction in the 40-month sentence of the abuser and has caused an explosion of angry criticism in Italy:

exually abusing a teenager is less serious a crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy's higher court said on Friday in a controversial ruling that immediately drew a barrage of criticism.

The court ruled in favor of a man in his forties, identified only as Marco T., who forced his 14-year old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him after she refused intercourse.

The man, who has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail, lodged an appeal arguing that the fact that his stepdaughter had had sex with men before should have been taken into consideration during his trial as a mitigating factor.

The supreme court agreed, saying that because of her previous sexual experiences, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".

"It is therefore fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin, Italian news agencies quoted the court as saying.

So now the Italian justice system wants to set up a degree of varying damage to women who are sexually abused based on their own sexual experience. It seems to me that a 40-month sentence already seems rather light for a stepparent who abused a young girl under his care. Now the court wants to set an even shorter span depending on whether the victim has engaged in consensual sexual activity. Why? Does the Italian justice system believe that good girls don't deserve to get raped, but somehow bad girls ask for it?

Their court has embarrassed Italy, and for good reason. Their notion of sexual predation belongs to the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first, and Italian women should consider themselves under siege by their own justice system. The Italians have unwittingly taken a step closer to the Islamist position that women corrupt men and push the burden for sexual crimes onto the female victims instead of the male perpetrators. Can the burqas be far behind?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 18, 2006 12:44 PM

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