Italian women hold their breasts in protest after a judge cleared a caretaker of sex charges after he groped a schoolgirl for less than ten seconds.
The 66-year-old carer admitted pushing in April 2022 but was cleared of wrongdoing by judges in Rome who ruled that the brief sexual assault ‘did not constitute a crime’.
Italian women are sharing videos of themselves rubbing their breasts in protest at a judge’s decision to refuse to punish a school caretaker for pushing a student because the act ‘lasted less than 10 seconds’.
The incident came to light in April 2022 at a school in Rome, when 66-year-old custodian Antonio Avola plunged his hand down the trousers of a 17-year-old female student, twisted her hips and pulled her underwear.
After being reported to police by the victim, Avola admitted to the act, claiming he did it as a ‘joke’. Prosecutors had called for the old man to receive a three-and-a-half-year sentence for sexual assault.
But a judge this week acquitted Avola of all charges because moving for less than 10 seconds was ‘not a crime’.
In the wake of the shocking verdict, Italian actor Paolo Camilli posted a video on his TikTok account in which he filmed himself rubbing his chest for silence for about 10 seconds, indicating the length of time the caretaker was able to attack the teenager.
His post sparked a storm of protest across social media, with the hashtags #10secondi (10 seconds) and #palpatabreve (brief groping) used to share outrage.
Italian women are sharing videos of themselves rubbing their breasts in protest at a judge’s decision to refuse to punish a school custodian for molesting a student because the act ‘lasted less than 10 seconds’
Thousands attended the protest, with some videos re-shared by notables including Chiara Ferragni, a famous Italian social media influencer with nearly 30 million followers.
Meanwhile, the student is angry with the court’s decision not to punish Avola.
‘The judges ruled that he was joking? Well, it wasn’t a joke to me,’ the student told Italian publication Corriere della Sera.
‘ The caretaker came up from behind without saying anything. He put his hand down my trousers and inside my underwear.
‘He patted my bottom… for me, it’s not a joke. Thus an old man should not “joke” with a teenager.
‘That handful of seconds wasn’t enough for the caretaker to feel his hands on me.
‘I’m starting to think I was wrong to trust the institutions,’ she said, referring to her decision to report the supervisor to the school and the police.
This is not the first time such a decision by Italian judges has caused outrage in the country.
In the wake of the shocking verdict, Italian actor Paolo Camilli posted a video on his TikTok account in which he rubs his chest for about 10 seconds of silence.
In 2016, a 65-year-old Italian man accused of pushing his female colleagues was found not guilty of sexual harassment because an Italian court ruled that he was driven by an immature sense of humor.
The ruling was condemned in the country where nearly a third of women between the ages of 16 and 70 are reported to have suffered some form of physical or sexual violence.
A junior colleague accused the man of touching her sexually, while a second woman said he treated her ‘like a little girl… like he was giving me a light slap on the back’, court documents said.
The court in Palermo, Sicily, admitted that he had behaved exactly as the women said but decided to acquit him anyway.