An Italian court has reportedly acquitted a man of rape after it ruled that the woman leaving her toilet door open was an “invitation” and “gave him hope”.
The incident was said to have happened in the toilet of a bar in Turin in 2019. The woman asked the man to show her where the bathroom was, left the door ajar, and asked him to pass her some tissue, according to local newspaper CronacaQui.
The man was originally convicted for sexual assault but the Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction after finding the alleged victim “gave him hope” by her actions.
The woman’s deposition had previously said she had repeatedly said “no” and “what the f*** are you doing?”, according to Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.
The ruling has sparked outrage across Italy, with politicians slamming the decision.
Maria Edera Spadoni, vice-president of the Five Star Movement, said the fight against gender-based violence “risked being undermined by such rulings”.
“Women must feel looked after and have faith in the justice system,” she tweeted.
Laura Ravetto from the right-wing League party discussed the case in parliament, saying it was “unacceptable”.
Meanwhile Amnesty Italia said the ruling showed “stereotypes continue to exist in the halls of justice”.
The 25-year-old man had previously been sentenced to two years and two months for in 2021.
The Court of Appeal has now reportedly referred to these events in its decision to overturn the conviction.
“We cannot exclude the possibility that the young woman had given the man hope, getting him to accompany her to the bathroom, pass her some tissue, keeping the door half-open, an opening certainly read by the accused as an invitation to go ahead.”
It comes just several years after a court in Turin acquitted a man of rape because the woman did not scream.