A controversy has erupted in Italy over recent comments made by journalist Andrea Giambruno, partner of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, regarding how women can avoid sexual assault. The remarks have drawn sharp criticism from opposition leaders, who have called on PM Meloni to distance herself.
Giambruno’s Comments During TV Show Spark Outrage
During a televised talk show on Monday, Giambruno said that while women have every right to go out and have fun, avoiding excessive drinking could help prevent encountering “wolves,” a term he used for rapists. He also did not counter comments made by another guest suggesting women stay sober to avoid rape.
While Giambruno strongly condemned rape itself, referring to it as an “abominable act,” his advice to women not to get excessively drunk sparked anger online and among politicians. Many accused him of blaming victims, saying drinking is not an excuse for rape.
Opposition Parties Demand PM Meloni Respond
Senator Cecilia D’Elia of the opposition Democratic Party said “blaming women” is unacceptable and that “if a girl drinks too much, she can expect a headache, not a rape.” The Five Star Movement party called the comments “unacceptable and shameful.”
In response, Giambruno has defended his statements, saying he never suggested rape of drunk women is justified. He said he was simply advising young women to take precautions and avoid dangerous situations.
Prime Minister Meloni has so far not addressed the controversy involving her long-time partner. The two have a daughter together.
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Debate Reflects Persisting Victim-Blaming Attitudes
The heated debate comes amid concerns over rising reports of rape in Italy. It highlights persisting attitudes that hold victims responsible, while letting perpetrators off the hook. Women’s rights activists say the comments promote a dangerous “victim-blaming” culture.