Female protestor who kissed riot policeman's helmet charged with sexual assault

You are correct it is possible for men to be on the receiving end of sexual assault as well. However this case? Really it’s just the police trying to find anything, anything at all to get back at the protesters. One’s who I’m sure they’d wish would just go away, and stop ‘complaining’ so much.

I don’t see the police being so forthcoming when they’ve beat people, sprayed them with CS etc… One rule for them, another for all you little people.


At the simplest level, this is unwanted, non-consensual sexual attention. Are we for that or against it?

All the other considerations of gender and power dynamics and body armor and what if the tables were turned might play into the decision to prosecute and the sentencing, but I think there’s a basic humanitarian concern underlying this.

What if the person in body armor was a woman, but the person doing the kissing was also a woman? What if both were men? What if the person in armor was a journalist, and the kisser was a member of parliament? What if this happened at a club instead of a street protest?

Those are all filters we can put on this to distort the issue of non-consent. But I think we all need to learn to respect that line, ALL THE TIME, no matter who is on the other side of it.

Because right now it seems like a lot of people in this thread are kind of saying consent only matters some of the time with certain types of people.


If kissing is inherently sexual in Italy then most people are guilty of sexually assault every other time they say hello.


This is what makes this story so ridiculous.


The protestor kissed an inanimate object that happened to be being worn by the officer. If someone kisses my jacket on the bus is that sexual harassment? I don’t think I could get the police to take that one seriously, which says something… doesn’t it?


It’s amazing to me how many smart people totally don’t get it. This isn’t about sex; it’s about authority. She failed to fear the power of a cop. That’s what makes the gesture so powerful the government needs to throw its full force at her.

Now I find myself wondering if the folks who saw nothing but naughty sex in this story were Americans. Here, everything is about sex.


How do you know that? You’re imposing your own genderless sense of equality upon the Italian authorities. The reverse situation mentioned by Franco could be “a female cope being kissed by a male protester”. We don’t know because it’s being paraphrased as well as translated from Italian to English. For Franco, that may be a very real concern. For the sake of caution, he may be doing this out of a sense of political correctness (or he may just be doing it out of spite to jail the woman who dared defy his crew).

Without being too snarky, I know because I read the excerpt:

He explained that if it had happened the other way round, with a police officer kissing a protestor, ‘World War Three would have broken out.’"

Won’t someone protect the police from kisses?

Isn’t the context clear? Besides if the story were about sexual inequality then this would be a GOOD example, as it is being fairly applied irrelevant of gender. So if that’s the gripe that one chooses to focus on they should be satisfied with the outcome. [Edit: although I guess that’s the gripe, in that ‘there’s nothing wrong with this’ - which isn’t true, but with regards to the gender-side of things, is]

But that’s got nothing to do with it. The protestor is being prosecuted because they’re a protestor, and the police will use any tool at their disposal to control people (especially the Italian police, who are extremely corrupt). If the roles had been reversed nothing would change - it would still be a civilian kissing an inanimate object owned by a person of authority, and reversing those roles as the police officer suggests would change the situation for reasons he doesn’t seem to understand.

The quote included doesn’t indicate that the officer is trying to be sensitive toward anyone other than his fellow officers.


Noted, and the post has been edited with a mea culpa for misreading the damn thing :stuck_out_tongue:

See, that’s my reaction to the inevitable chorus of “Fuck the police, they’ve done [bad things] and just hate that their power is challenged! They’re such cry-babies State-sanctioned violence! Kettling! Beating little old ladies to death! Attica! Attica!” that inevitably accompanies every single article on BB that mentions police doing… well, much of anything, really.


Double plus :

He explained that if it had happened the other way round, with a police officer kissing a protestor, 'World War Three would have broken out.

Firstly calling WW3 is a tad over-reactive, Well he is Italian I guess, but more importantly I can never imagine that happening. If it did it would just be plain weird, I mean really strange. What was done was done as a symbol of peace, love whilst at the same time a big Fuck You!!! to the presence of authority. Perhaps the riot police should use kissing as a tactic. I certainly would be stunned for a while trying to figure out what had just happened.

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Hold the phone, kids. Let’s try another source of news on this story:

"Miss De Chiffre has also done her bit to spoil the photo’s apparent message of non-violence, claiming she was trying to provoke the officer into reacting.

“No peace message,” she wrote on Facebook. “I would hang all these disgusting pigs upside down.”

“I saw this young man in his uniform and I felt pity and disgust,” she said. Taking advantage of the officer’s orders not to react, De Chiffre said she also licked his helmet’s visor and touched her fingers to his lips."



:slight_smile: funny that because that has happened in US culture before, it the same thing:


The Italian power could not stand this picture countradicting their framing of the notav movement as “terrorists terrorists terrorists”. Now notav is also into sexual assault.

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Hmmm I make her right, sorry but I do. We’ve seen a lot of police brutality, murder in recent years in just about every corner of the globe. Honestly sometimes I wish that would happen.

Just following orders.

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Pretty much, aye.

(Standard lawyer disclaimers apply here–I am one, but not yours, and this is just talking on the webs, not legal advice.)

If someone kisses my jacket on the bus is that sexual harassment?

So, this isn’t quite an answer to the question you asked, but it’s relevant. My recollection (though it’s been a few years) is that torts like battery don’t distinguish between hitting a person’s body, and hitting something that is attached to or worn by a person. (This, by the way, makes pretty good sense: if somebody swings a baseball bat at your head but you’re wearing a bike helmet, you don’t want them to be able to say “I just hit the helmet.”) And battery itself doesn’t have a minimum-force requirement: it just requires offensive touching. (That said, I’m having a tough time imagining anything other than nominal damages in a case like this one.)

I haven’t had any experience with sexual-harassment law (other than the usual employment-orientation lectures), so I’m not sure whether the same tests apply in the context of sexual harassment specifically. But I’d think they would. Imagine Creepy Male Boss uses a ruler to flip up his female assistant’s skirt. Zero skin-to-skin contact, but I presume you’d agree that we’d want to treat that as sexual harassment, right? And my suspicion (based on exactly zero tenths of an hour of research) is that the law would treat it that way.

(Obviously, Italy’s legal system and laws are completely different than here, though.)

In this specific instance, I agree with the point that the police are overreacting–and that the point of sexual-harassment laws is to protect people who are otherwise powerless. But I don’t think the legal question is as clear-cut as it might seem.


Gender really shouldn’t come into this. When a police officer, regardless of gender, sexuality or race puts on their riot gear they essentially become asexual, non-human entities. It is part of the psychological warfare they conduct on protesters and an effective one – I’m pretty sure few of the protesters saw the armoured avatars of state oppression as men and women. so they really have no right to claim sexual assault in this case.

Besides, it’s a moot point anyway, it’s obvious it is yet another underhanded tactic to sweep away any upper hand a protester might gain over them.


I can’t believe it will ever reach a court. The police are paid to take a certain amount of disrespect at protests. Random woman kissing your visor is not a big deal. I wonder what legal standard you need to reach to be guilty of a criminal act in Italy, but basically I’d expect a riot officer to take that event in his stride. The police are held to higher standards than the general public, and part of that is the expectation that the police shouldn’t be unnecessarily litigious, even when the technical right exists. Protester kisses your riot gear? Tough shit. We expect the police to use the courts time for prosecting actual crimes, not throwing the book at people whose ideas their paymasters disagree with.


I mean, I would like the police to do that, but I can’t say that I expect it anymore.


uhhh where do i sign up? mmm positive vibes? kissing instead of yelling? just sayin?