Many young Italians are expressing their outrage on social media, after a judge cleared a school caretaker of groping a 17-year-old student. All because it did not ‘last long enough’. Less than 10 seconds, specifically.
Italian Instagram and TikTok has been flooded with videos under the #10secondi hashtag in response to the case. The incident involves 66-year-old Antonio Avola admit to grabbing a teenage student at a Rome high school. He was let off charges of sexual assault.
The student described the incident to the court. She reportedly says she was walking up a staircase with a friend, when she felt her trousers fall down. She felt a hand touching her buttocks and grabbing her underwear.
“Love, you know I was joking,” the man allegedly said when she turned around. The teen reported the incident, which happened in April 2022, to the police.
The 66-year-old admitted to groping the student without consent, but defended it was a joke.
The judges allegedly ruled that the incident did not “meet the criteria for a crime” as it lasted less than 10 seconds. A Rome public prosecutor reportedly asked for a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, before the caretaker was acquitted of sexual assault charges.
Lasting an unnervingly long 10 seconds
Men and women in Italy took to social media to post clips, where they star stone-faced at the camera while groping their breasts and chests, along a timer counting down 10 seconds.
The videos are meant to show just how unnervingly long 10 seconds – during a sexual assault – can be.
Other videos show them continuously caress themselves for nine seconds, only to stop just before the timer runs out. Some video even have the users mockingly tell their groper to stop before the timer reaches 10 seconds: becoming assault. Some even laugh in their videos to mock not realising it was ‘only a joke’.
@theconiugi Sotto i 10 secondi la passi liscia… menomale… MA STIAMO SCHERZANDO?????? #10secondi #leggeitaliana #fakesituation #prank #positivity ♬ suono originale – The Coniugi
The videos are often tagged with #10secondi or ‘palpata breve’ (a brief groping).
The victim is 17-years-old
Following the defeat, the student says she now fears that this ruling will deter girls and women from coming forward if they become victims to such attacks.