Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

An 11 year old girl has a “romantic” relationship with a 60 year old man

This is the reason given by Italy's top appeals court to annul a 5 year sentence for child sexual abuse. Apparently, the 11 year old girl and a 60 year old were in a "romantic relationship" and the 11 year old is " in love" with a 60 year old man.

Details on the case are sketchy in the UK media but certain facts are known.

1. The man works for the local social services.
2. The child was living with the man at the time having been placed in his care.
3. The sexual violence was discovered during a police raid of the man's villa,
4. The age of consent in Italy is 14; 16 if the partner is in a position of trust.
5. The court of appeals was overturned the sentence because of "extenuating circumstances".
6. The "extenuating circumstances" are the fact that the pair are "in love"
7. The case has been returned to the original jurisdiction for a retrial which is within the bounds of the normal legal process in Italy.

Let us be very clear here: this is a case of child rape. There are no "extenuating circumstances" ever which result in a child having a consenting sexual relationship with an adult. The fact that the child was placed in the care of the adult demonstrates a fundamental failure of child protection in the jurisdiction. A judge who believes a child can consent to a sexual relationship with an adult in a position of power over them should not have his job.

This is a clear case of child sexual abuse. This is rape culture in action.

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3 thoughts on “An 11 year old girl has a “romantic” relationship with a 60 year old man

  • Anon says:

    This case made me feel sick On holiday in Italy in the early 80s (to see my relatives,) we were staying in a remote house with them. I was 10 years old. An older male cousin in his teens used to come in my room when i was alone and “French kiss” me. I did not understand what he was doing and felt very confused. Something in me though told me not to say anything. I was in a country i didnt know where i didnt speak the language. He used to hold me really tight and try to get me to put my arms around him but i would always let them flop down by my sides. I never said anything while i was there. I just knew not to. I think even at that young age i knew id be blamed. So i kept quiet. I told my dad a few years later who said “youd better not be lying” and then said there was no point mentioning it because it would just cause trouble.
    I remember crying on the plane home from that holiday because i thought that i would miss the person who had been forcing his kisses on me. (i will point out here that he didnt go any further than that) so when i saw this story in my Twitter feed yesterday i knew how that young girl may be feeling. Confused and scared. My experience happened 30 years ago.
    Italy has a MAJOR problem here. Their figures for domestic violence are through the roof. Their mysogyny makes me sick and fills me with despair.
    After seeing this news item i feel its been confirmed that i did the right thing in staying silent.

  • natalie says:

    im so truly disturbed by this article, so much so that i was determined not to comment on it, but i need to have my say……
    how on earth can any judge, (and remember a judge, someone in a very powerful position, someone that has to have some sense of right and wrong to be where he is today) even entertain the notion of an 11 year old child being in love with a 60 year old man, its just so super insane, and to make it worse this man is a so called professional in the social care system, the very agency that is supposed to protect children from harm, abuse and predators, this child is not only being groomed by a dangerous predator, but let down in the most despicable manner by social services, a child of 11 hasn’t even fully developed puberty, but yet is supposed to be able to make a decision on weather she is in a loving and committed relationship.
    how in 2013 this is allowed to happen by a court system defies any normality i am accustomed too. ok i know that it is in italy, but its not like its another planet, its ridiculous.
    this man is obviously a danger not only to this young child but to society as a whole, because there is nothing normal, decent or just plain ok about a man that claims to be in love with a baby, and that essentially what this girl is to him, she is not old enough to vote, drink alcohol, leave schoolin my opinion have a boyfriend, let alone consent to sexual intercourse, so this man has practically been given permission to obtain himself a child bride to rape, abuse, control and manipulate into anything he wants, and nothing about that is ok, or legal, this is a disgrace, and should not be allowed to happen, this child needs to be saved and protected from the evil she has been placed in, before its to late. very very sad by this.
    although some people may think my opinion is quite harsh, i would say, imagine, your daughter, niece, sister, o grandchild in this situation, and think again.

  • You have to wonder about whoever made the decision.