most absurd human rights violations

The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (131): Protester Charged With Sexual Assault After Kissing Riot Police

This photograph of Nina De Chiffre went viral on social media and was hailed as a symbol of peaceful protest in the country

This photograph of Nina De Chiffre went viral on social media and was hailed as a symbol of peaceful protest in Italy


[A] 20-year-old student was photographed kissing officer Salvatore Piccione during a protest against a planned rail link in Northern Italy. …

COISP, a union representing Italian police officers, later revealed that they had lodged a complaint with Turin prosecutors. Franco Maccari, the union’s general secretary told La Repubblica: “We have accused the protester of sexual violence and insulting a public official.

“If the policeman had kissed her, World War III would have broken out,” he said. “Or what if I had patted her on the behind? She would have been outraged. So if she does that to a man on duty, should it be tolerated?”, he added. “A kiss is a positive thing,” he said. “But in this context, between these two people, it was just disrespect.”

It later emerged that Nina De Chiffre had not only kissed the officer but had also licked her fingers and touched his mouth. According to reports the protester has since been charged with “sexual violence” and causing “offence to a public official”. (source)

Obviously not the first time the word “rape” has been redefined to fit the needs of the powerful. More posts in this series are here.


6 thoughts on “The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (131): Protester Charged With Sexual Assault After Kissing Riot Police

  1. QWerty says:

    Ok, I do not understand why it is absurd at all? The policeman is doing his job and gets kissed without being asked whether he wants to (against his will). This kind of behavior is exactly a definition of sexual abuse.
    Try now substituting “policeman” and “he”/”his” for say “stewardess” and “she”/”her”. Do you still think this would be fine?
    And not once was “rape” mentioned anywhere in the source, which is manipulation at its best. The incident is referred to as “sexual violence” which it obviously was.

    • Maybe you’re right. However, making a difference between rape and sexual violence sounds silly to me. If you define rape as limited to forceful penetration you’re obviously too restrictive. Unwanted touching can also be rape. There’s no way of denying that. But not all unwanted touching is rape. This was a case of unwanted touching, but it was also a political statement. And reducing it to an act of sexual violence or rape is a transparent way to intimidate protesters.

      • At least I *assume* it was a political statement. I can’t read the woman’s mind and there’s no additional information that is immediately available. It would not be the first time that protesters engage in expressive acts of affection towards riot police, for example as a way to indicate that they are against “the system” and not against individual elements of the system.

        I can’t tell what it was. But neither can you tell that sexual intimidation, let alone sexual violence was the woman’s intention. Hence, as there’s doubt let’s try to err on the side of the least powerful. You know what the consequences are of a successful prosecution for sexual violence.

        To me at least this sounds very much like intimidation on the part of the state.

  2. QWerty says:

    “This case was nothing like rape or violence” I do not think it is for me or you to judge. The policeman might have felt very humiliated (and abused), and to be honest he could even be a less powerful person in this case as he could not freely respond with self-defense, being in uniform and representing the state.

    As for the intentions, I do not think they matter at all to the victim, and so I do not think they should be considered when deciding whether an offense was committed. Would you think that a rape is any less of a rape in a case where few men rape a lesbian woman to “teach her the right way”, you could not deny that it was a political statement but I do not believe it matters, and makes it any better?
    If you believe that there is not much difference between a rape and sexual violence in general you should see this point particularly clearly.

    Rape is a much narrower term than “sexual violence”, but you are right in some cases it is hard to draw the line. Nevertheless, in my opinion the term rape should be reserved to a sexual penetration against one’s will.

    Lastly, I think we have to remember that the policeman is not just a part of some “state force”, he is also and individual and as such he should be equally protected as any other person.

    • I agree the police officer has rights like anyone else. But being humiliated doesn’t warrant a charge of sexual violence and all the possibly grave consequences it entails.

      And intentions matter all the time in criminal justice. Otherwise there wouldn’t be hate crime or premeditated murder or civil disobedience.

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