Rape video and suicide shock Italy
A video of a teenage girl being raped that was posted online by her friends and the suicide of a woman publicly humiliated when her sex tape went viral has provoked a row in Italy about misogyny, voyeurism and social media.
Police in Rimini are investigating the rape in a nightclub toilet of the 17-year-old girl, which was videoed by a female friend who held her smartphone over the top of the booth as others laughed. A 22-year-old man is suspected to have dragged his victim into the toilet.
There has been outrage in Italy at the callous way in which the girls filmed the rape and sent it via a messaging app to about 50 friends. This prompted the girl, who has not been named, to go to the police. She said that she remembered very little about the night because she had been drinking.
Stefania Pezzopane, a senator, claimed that it showed that “sexual violence against women was a deeply rooted cultural phenomenon. Not only did a boy see a drunk, underage girl only as prey to overpower, but her friends, witnesses to a crime, instead of seeking help decided to become accomplices.” She added that young people “find it difficult to distinguish between reality and virtual reality”.
The case made the front pages of newspapers alongside that of Tiziana Cantone, 31, from Naples, who hanged herself after a video of her having sex was seen by a million people online, turning her into an unwitting celebrity.
The phrase “You’re filming? Bravo”, which she was overheard saying in the video, became a catchphrase in Naples, and was even printed on T-shirts.
Ms Cantone apparently willingly took part in the filming last year and sent the video to male friends, four of whom are under investigation for instigating the suicide.
She left her job, moved to Tuscany and tried to change her name, but reportedly remained obsessed with the ridicule and insults aimed at her online.
“Every mouse click was like a stone — Tiziana died this way, slowly, the victim of a stoning in the social media era,” the Italian newspaper La Stampa wrote.