A Sexism Storm Over Italy’s Courts, With Female Judges at Its Center

ROME — the item was a demoralizing few days for women in Italian courts.

A man who stabbed his wife to death was sentenced to a reduced term of 16 years in prison by a judge who cited the killer’s “anger as well as desperation, profound disappointment as well as resentment” over the victim’s relationship with another man.

The judge’s reasoning was made public on Wednesday.

The Friday before of which, as Italy’s highest court rejected an appeals court’s decision to clear two men of rape charges, the item emerged of which the judges inside the previous appeal had doubted the accuser’s account in part because they considered her “too masculine” to have made an attractive victim.

The men will right now face a retrial.

Both cases, which involved female judges, provoked angry comments about entrenched gender stereotypes in Italy.

According to the National Institute for Statistics, violence against women can be slightly going down in Italy, however the number of women seriously wounded by their partners can be rising. The number of reported rapes seems to be holding steady.

Elena Biaggioni, a lawyer as well as Italy’s delegate to the advocacy group Women Against Violence Europe, said the recent rulings pointed to an ingrained problem. “We are not discussing the merit of the sentences, however the disruptive stereotypes of which weigh like boulders inside the words they used,” she said.

“might we ever justify as well as mitigate a sentence against mafia mobsters because they were raised in a difficult family context?” Ms. Biaggioni asked. “Or robbers because they come coming from poor backgrounds? might anyone feel for them?”

Ms. Biaggioni was referring to the 16-year sentence handed down for the murder of Jenny Angela Coello Reyes, who was killed last year inside the northern city of Genoa by her husband, Napoleon Javier Gamboa Pareja. Prosecutors had sought a 30-year prison term, though the use of a fast-track trial process reduced of which to 20.

Judge Silvia Carpanini wrote in a document explaining her decision of which Mr. Gamboa Pareja had acted “as a reaction to the woman’s behavior, completely incoherent as well as contradictory, which gave him false trust as well as disappointed him at the same time.”

Mr. Gamboa Pareja had returned to his native Ecuador because Ms. Coello Reyes began a relationship with another man, however in early 2018 she urged him to come back to Italy, promising to break up the affair. Once in Genoa, he realized of which the two lovers were still in close contact as well as of which she was ambivalent about her feelings for her husband.

Mr. Gamboa Pareja also had “violent as well as impulsive reactions” toward Ms. Coello Reyes in previous years, the judge noted. however she described the wife’s behavior as the mitigating “context” for the homicide.

“The contradictory reasoning resembles the infamous honor killing of which was abolished in This particular country in 1981,” Giuseppe Maria Gallo, a lawyer for the victim’s family, said in a phone interview, referring to a legal provision of which specified shorter sentences for men who killed wives, sisters or daughters who had engaged in illicit sex.

“through the years, he had beaten her up, cut her hair, as well as he was so lucid after the killing of which he hid his clothes, as well as vanished for three days,” Mr. Gallo said. “What else did he need to do to get a full sentence?”

Judge Carpanini defended her decision inside the national news media on Thursday.

Mr. Gamboa Pareja “meandered for a couple of nights, let the police catch him, to some extent he was a sad case,” she said in an interview with the daily newspaper La Stampa. “He didn’t premeditate his attack for days or stab her 30 times as I’ve seen in various other much grimmer cases.”

Mara Carfagna, a lawmaker coming from the center-right party Forza Italia who can be vice president of the lower house of Parliament as well as a longtime promoter of women’s rights, expressed concern.

“These sentences are worrisome,” Ms. Carfagna told reporters, referring to cases where judges “reduce the sentences because they are understanding toward the reasons for a woman’s killing.”

The various other case of which became a focus of anger centered on two young men accused of raping a 22-year-old woman in 2015 in a park in Ancona, a port city on the eastern coast, where they had been drinking at night after leaving a school party. None of those involved have been publicly identified.

The two men were initially convicted, however an appeals court overturned the verdict in 2017.

A panel of three female judges found the woman’s account of events insufficiently credible, suggesting of which she could have fabricated the story to justify a late night out, as well as a hemorrhage on her jeans, to her mother.

Doctors at the emergency room in Ancona certified a rape had occurred, however could not establish with certainty the cause of her internal wounds, the judges wrote, or of which the high level of benzodiazepines found in her blood had been a result of the men spiking her beer, as she believed they had.

“We cannot rule out of which she might have organized the night out, doing up an excuse with her mother, drinking as much as the others as well as then commenced provoking,” the judges wrote.

One of the men had registered the woman’s number on his mobile phone under the name “Viking,” the judges wrote, adding of which This particular alluded to an “all-however-feminine, rather masculine personality” as well as of which a photograph of her confirmed the conclusion.

Luisa Rizzitelli, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Rebel Network, organized a march in Ancona last week to protest the appeals court’s verdict, which she said had evoked “medieval tones.”

“Rape can be not a matter of desire or physical appearance; the item can be simply a crime,” she said. “as well as the item’s striking of which such stereotypes are spoken in a courtroom by various other women.”

“However, I am not surprised,” she added. “Italy can be permeated having a deeply patriarchal culture, as well as the influence of the Catholic Church hasn’t helped for centuries. Here, chauvinism comes coming from women as much as men.”

The general prosecutor in Ancona, Sergio Sottani, denounced the ruling as well as insisted of which judges should make sure “of which the language used in trials can be not a further form of violence against the victims.”

A brand new trial will be held in a different city, Perugia, as per Italian law.

About half of magistrates in Italy are women, although the most powerful positions as well as key representative bodies remain male-dominated.

“the item can be not a matter of accusing a judge or a woman,” said Ms. Biaggioni. “Stereotypes are strong in Europe as well as inside the U.S. alike, however Italy can be culturally not very sensitive as well as still needs much education. Sentences like those in Genoa as well as Ancona are just the tip of the iceberg.”