Putting the Lie Back into Sexual Liaison: Italian Supreme Court Says Wives Can Lie About Lovers

The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that wives can lie when asked questions in a criminal iinvestigation that would reveal an affair. It is a jurisdiction that might have saved Bill Clinton, but it is not clear that the Court would extend the same privilege to men. The Court has a history of bizarre, sexist rulings such as its 1999 decision that a woman was not raped because she was wearing tight jeans, which had to have been removed with her consent.

The case before the Supreme Court involved a woman only identified as Carla from Tuscany and her husband Vincenzo. Her husband had complained about harassing calls from a man who turned out to be her lover. When police asked 48-year-old Carla whether she had loaned her cellphone to the man identified as Giovanni and whether she knew him, she denied both allegations. The Court reaction was molto bene, bravo!

The Court agreed that she had good reason to lie since her husband could use the statements against her in a divorce and would be harmful to her reputation: “the fact of having an affair is a circumstance that could cause damage to her honour in the minds of her family and friends. . . . It is clear that one does not deny the loan of a mobile phone to police unless one has a serious reason to do so.”

Before married women start to book trips to Italy, they may want to review the Court’s other curious contributions to the law.

Italy long had a very lax rule on rape, making it well difficult to prove. The country finally amended the law but the Supreme Court, made up of elderly (and apparently dotty) men struck back is a bizarre decision overturning a rape conviction that created what is known as the ”jeans alibi.” The case involved an 18 year old woman who went for driving lesson in a town near Naples. The 45-year-old instructor allegedly drove her to a remote spot and raped her. The Court ruled that because she was wearing tight jeans, she must have taken them off voluntarily and thus consented to the sexual encounter. He was only given 35 months for the crime but that was overturned.

The court said, ”It should be noted that it is instinctive, especially for a young woman, to oppose with all her strength the person who wants to rape her. And it is illogical to say that a young woman would passively submit to a rape, which is a grave violence, for fear of undergoing other hypothetical and no more serious offenses to her physical safety.”

For the full story on lying for love, click here