Protests in Italy after men cleared of rape because woman ‘too masculine’ to be attractive

  13 March 2019    Read: 1652
Protests in Italy after men cleared of rape because woman ‘too masculine’ to be attractive

Protests have taken place outside an Italian court after it emerged two men were cleared of rape partially because it was ruled the alleged victim was too unattractive to be a target.

A trio of judges – all women – said the 22-year-old Peruvian was “too masculine” to appeal to her attackers.

In written notes on the case, they said they had drawn their conclusions from a photograph of the woman, and had taken into account the fact one of the defendants had registered her in his mobile under the nickname “Viking”.

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More than 200 people protested the decision outside the court in the east coast city of Ancona.

Although the ruling was made in 2017, it only came to light on Friday when the country’s Supreme Court of Cassation, in Rome, scrapped the judgement and ordered a retrial.

The men were initially convicted of raping the woman – who is not named under Italian law – in 2015.

Evidence suggested they spiked her drink, and doctors said her injuries were consistent with being assaulted.

But the defendants were then acquitted by the appeals court in Ancona, with the judges stating that the alleged victim lacked credibility because she resembled a man and was, therefore, not attractive enough to be raped.

The woman’s lawyer Cinzia Molinaro then referred the case to the country’s highest court.

She said: “The judges expressed various reasons for deciding to acquit [the defendents], but one was because they said they didn’t even like her, because she was ugly. They also wrote that a photograph reflected this.”

She added: “It was disgusting to read.”

The case will now be reheard by a court in Perugia.

Luisa Rizzitelli, a spokesperson for Rebel Network, the women’s group which organised the Ancona protest, said the appeal ruling had been “medieval”.

She said: “It’s shameful. But to get almost 200 people at the protest was a miracle for Italy – fortunately, it shows that sensitivity towards such topics is becoming stronger.”


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