According to an Italy court, pedophilia is love. In the case of a 60-year-old man who took in an 11-year-old disadvantaged girl, the Italian court has annulled the man’s five-year jail sentence for rape of a minor.
The reason for the annulment, the court says, is because the older man and the prepubescent girl had a “romantic relationship,” and the girl claimed she is in love with the much older man. In Italy, the age of consent is 14, but in cases where one person is an authority figure or caring for the other, the age of consent is 16.
The 60-year-old man works in social services in the Italian town of Catanzaro, and had taken responsibility for the 11-year-old girl’s care. The illicit relationship was discovered when the police raided the man’s home and found the pair naked in bed.
The annulment by the court will be appealed for a new sentence, and a retrial will take place. According to the Italy court, pedophilia is love.
According to a published study in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Italy is experiencing a rising trend in child abuse. In the first large-scale study of its kind, between 1996 and 2003, 200 children under the age of 14 who visited the Soccorso Violenza Sessuale (SVS) Centre in Milan were seen for suspicion of child sexual abuse. This retrospective study showed about 80% of cases were normal or nonspecific, according to Joyce Adams’ Classification Scale. This study, however, focuses on suspicion of child sexual abuse in Italy, not confirmed child sexual abuse cases. The data from this study confirm similarities in other non-European countries, especially in terms of clinical signs of child sexual abuse.
Studies on the long-term effects of child sexual abuse show that when children become adults, they are more prone to depression, guilt, shame, eating disorders, anxiety, repression, denial, and sexual and relationship problems. The most common effect, however, is depression. Self-blame is common also, and years of low self-worth can lead to self-perceived negativity. Such abuse often occurs in family settings, along with physical and emotional, drug, and family abuse.
How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the key to preventing child sexual abuse is to provide safe, nurturing relationships. The most important relationship is between child and parent. New parents are not usually taught parenting skills but they can be learned. When a parent is able to communicate effectively, use proper discipline and provide a safe environment for the child, this enables the child to feel confident and capable. Being responsive to the child’s emotional and physical well-being is of paramount importance. The security of having loving, involved parents cannot be overestimated.
Children at risk for child sexual abuse come from stressed families, especially where drug and substance abuse occur. Neglect is a major factor, as well as family violence, poverty, and chronic health problems. Families without strong support systems, including friends or other family, can also suffer. Children under the age of four are especially at risk.
By Juana Poareo