February 17, 2006

Not a Virgin? Not a Victim.

While I'm sure plenty of people, plenty of US folk, will be happy to dismiss this as an 'other' phenomenon--don't worry about it, it's them not us--here lies a court ruling that's pertinent to our time, not place. It could happen here. It probably has. (Legal eagle Quenchers, can you tell us?)

ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- Sexually abusing a teenager is less serious a crime if the girl is not a virgin, Italy's higher court said on Friday in a controversial ruling that immediately drew a barrage of criticism.

The court ruled in favor of a man in his forties, identified only as Marco T., who forced his 14-year old stepdaughter to have oral sex with him after she refused intercourse.

The man, who has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail, lodged an appeal arguing that the fact that his stepdaughter had had sex with men before should have been taken into consideration during his trial as a mitigating factor.

The supreme court agreed, saying that because of her previous sexual experiences, the victim's "personality, from a sexual point of view, is much more developed than what would be normally expected of a girl of her age".

"It is therefore fair to argue that (the damage for the victim) would be lower" if the abused girl was not a virgin, Italian news agencies quoted the court as saying.

This means the man could now be handed a lighter sentence.
We have our own versions, of course. In rape trials, it is illegal to bring the victim's sexual history up or attempt to defame her or him but it happens all the time.

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