AN ITALIAN court’s decision to blame a woman’s bisexuality and red underwear and overturn the gang-rape conviction of six men has sparked outrage.
Following the ruling, Europe’s top rights court has criticised the court for perpetuating sexist stereotypes.An Italian court has blamed a woman’s bisexuality and red underwear[/caption]
The woman said seven men attacked her in her car after a party back in 2008 when she was a student.
She added she was drunk at the time.
An appeals court in Florence in 2015 overturned the convictions of six of the men, citing inconsistencies in the woman’s account of the alleged attack.
The court’s ruling has sparked fury among Twitter, with users criticising the decision.
“It is not a country for women,” a Twitter user wrote.
Another one added: “The European Court condemns Italy for prejudice against women.The woman said she was gang-raped by seven men[/caption]
“This is a country where violence against women is a social emergency. Nobody ever sees and hears anything.
“Prevention, controls and penalties do not work. The only thing that works is women’s courage.”
The European Court of Human Rights did not challenge that verdict but considered whether the wording of the judgement violated the woman’s right to privacy, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Concluding that her right to privacy had been violated, the ECHR said the “language and arguments” used by the Italian court “conveyed prejudices existing in Italian society regarding the role of women”.
“In particular, the Court considered the references to the red underwear ‘shown’ by the applicant in the course of the evening to be unjustified, as were the comments regarding her bisexuality, relationships and casual sexual relations prior to the events in question.”
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The Strasbourg court also took issue with the Florence court’s referral to the woman’s “ambivalent attitude towards sex” and the questions it raised around the woman’s role in a film made by one of her alleged attackers before the alleged rape.
The ECHR said it was crucial that courts “avoided reproducing sexist stereotypes” or “playing down gender-based violence and exposing women to secondary victimisation by making guilt-inducing and judgmental comments”.
It ordered the Italian state to pay the woman 12,000 euros ($14,600) in compensation.
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:
Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, where you call 999 and press ‘55’ if you can’t safely speak.
- Always keep some money or a bank card on you, including change in case you need a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to move towards an exit if you are inside the house and get your phone in case you need to call for help.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other potential weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom.
SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.