Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is bottom pinching in Italy legal?

Can you expect this to happen in Italy? This pinch
actually took place in Canada as this female reporter
was on the air talking about flooding in Oxfordshire.
The cheeky man was initially threatened with assault
charges, but in the end he was let off with a warning.
As a follow-up to my recent entry on aggressive Italian men, I thought I should also comment on the allegations of Italian men pinching women’s bottoms. This practice was rumored to be common some years ago but is said to be pretty much obsolete now. I have not heard of it happening to any women I know. However, while searching for other opinions about Italian men, I read this entry on a blogger website:
“In 2001, the Italian Supreme Court ruled a man grabbing a woman’s ass was not sexual harassment as long as the act was not premeditated. (Does ‘premeditated’ mean the defense team must prove the man sat at home for three weeks and planned exactly how he was going to pinch the buttocks?)”

I wanted to verify if this was true, so I conducted some research to get to, shall we say, the bottom of the matter. Indeed, I found that a court in Rome did rule in January of 2001 that it was not a crime for a man to pinch or touch a womans bottom provided it was “a sudden or isolated action.” In this case, a supervisor patted a female co-worker and then threatened to hinder her career if the incident were reported. She sued and won. The boss’s “hands-on” approach initially resulted in an 18-month prison sentence. Yet a higher court ruled in his favor, as the incident occurred “only once and impulsively.” Judges also ruled there was no proof the gesture was sexual.

But before you rush online to buy your ticket to Italy, I should warn that Italy’s High Court in Rome overturned the ruling in July of 2003. The panel of judges said: “Fondling buttocks unquestionably constitutes a sexual act because the perpetrator commits a substantive and concrete intrusion into the victim’s sexual sphere. Such acts, albeit superficial, amount to assault.”

So the bottom line is, no intrusion in someones sphere (or should that be spheres?). I was going to make a joke about this ruining my vacation plans, but I should probably keep my hands off that territory.
See also: Do Italian males live up to their reputation for their persistent and flirtatious behavior
Is Italy and safe and healthy place for young women (and men)?

1 comment:

  1. All of a sudden, my wife is telling me that I'm not free to pinch her behind sans her permission.


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