Outrage has taken over Italian social media after a judge in Rome acquitted a school caretaker after he groped a teenager, because according to the judge, the incident didn’t last long enough. Yeah, we’re shocked too.
The horrific incident occurred in April 2022 and saw 66-year-old caretaker Antonio Avola pull down the trousers of a teenage student, touching her buttock and underwear. As reported by the BBC, upon turning around the assailant told the girl: “Love, you know I was joking.” We’re not laughing.
The disgusting attack was quickly reported by the 17-year-old victim who was failed by the Italian judiciary system after a three-and-a-half year prison sentence was overturned and the molester acquitted. Apparently, what occurred can’t be classified as a crime as it didn’t last for more than ten seconds.
The unnamed student toldItalian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “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.” The student went on to add that she is “starting to think I was wrong to trust the institutions. This is not justice.”
The controversial ruling has sent social media into a spiral as Italians have started posting videos of themselves, dead eyed, with a timer on screen showing exactly how much can occur within ten seconds. The controversy has made #10secondi trend on TikTok, as well as the phrase “palpata breve,” meaning a brief groping.
In the above video,TikToker Francesco Cicconetti asked “who decides that ten seconds is not a long time?” and stated that “women’s bodies are not owned by men.” The incident has picked up so much traction that even White Lotus’ Paolo Camilli has posted about it on the video-sharing app:
Although I can’t speak Italian, the following skit gets its point across pretty well. Does the ruling seek to legitimise that groping and molestation under ten seconds is fair and valid?
The unpleasant videos highlight the absolute stupidity of the ruling—which seeks to invalidate sexual assault and puts women in Italy at further risk of experiencing similar attacks. This comes at a worrying time for Italy as it was reported in 2022 that sexual violence was up by 16 per cent in the country.