An Italian court has cleared a school caretaker of sexual assault despite the man, Antonio Avola, admitting what he was accused of. A sexual assault of less than 10 seconds, one judge said, was "palpata breve"–a brief groping–and not a crime.
"The judges ruled that he was joking? Well, it was no joke to me," the student told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"The caretaker came up from behind without saying anything. He put his hands down my trousers and inside my underwear.
"He groped my bottom. Then, he pulled me up – hurting my private parts. For me, this is not a joke. This is not how an old man should 'joke' with a teenager."
"That handful of seconds was more than enough for the caretaker to make me feel his hands on me."
She says she feels doubly betrayed – by her school and by the justice system.
"I'm starting to think I was wrong to trust the institutions. This is not justice."
Crime being about the perpetrator's motives and gratification, and having nothing in particular to do with the victim, is the deepest rot in the boughs of justice there–and that's even before we even get to the jocular sexism legally justifying what might otherwise still be a crime.
Recent figures from the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) suggested that 70% of Italian woman who had suffered harassment between 2016 and 2021 did not report the incident.
"They will feel that reporting abuse is just not worth it. But it is important, because silence protects the aggressors."
Another rapist was cleared because his victim was 'masculine,' another because she left the toilet door open, thereby giving him hope, another because she wore tight jeans. Italian judges, man. Where are the mafia when they might finally be good for something?