Monday, March 10, 2008

Infidelity with Impunity in Italy

The Italian Judicial system may have opened the flood gates for adultery and spousal infidelity by practically decriminalizing extra-marital affairs for married women. In a ruling by the country's highest appeals court, a married woman is given the leeway to lie about an illicit affair to protect her honor. The Court of Cassation, reversed the conviction of a married woman who gave false testimony about a lover, ruling that she had broken no law; and that bending the truth was justified to conceal extra-marital affairs.

Anyone who has entered into a relationship with an Italian would perhaps confirm that being faithful is not one of their inconspicuous virtues. Or, if they possess this virtue at all. Italians have been painted as persistent suitors and passionate lovers who always want to be near the woman they love. If that's not possible, they pour their love to the nearest woman. A recent survey revealed that 50% of Italians are unfaithful, and looking at an Italian couple, if the man is faithful, then the woman isn't - and vice versa.

The ruling requires clarification if it should also apply to men who have secret mistresses, unless this is taken as a natural occurrence or situation among married men; regardless if the secret lover is male or female. It also raises the issue of lying under oath which erodes the validity of the testimony; to protect her honor which is non-existent, since the marital vows have been broken and the marriage de-sanctified. Certainly, La Dolce Vita is intriguing in Italy, to say the least.

In a Catholic country like Italy, one would expect damnation from the Church and all its lay organizations, and the Justice system would take a negative view of this development. But here, it's truly a license to lie granted by the courts. The Appeals Court has been known to issue controversial rulings in the past, like the rescinded judgment denying the charge of rape since the woman was wearing tight jeans. The contention was it could only be removed with her consent. Protests from women caused the withdrawal of this ruling.

What can be expected to follow? The Catholic church not including adultery as a sin to confess? Or a law that infidelity is tolerated for as long as no child out of wedlock is born? What good is getting married if any one of the spouses can be unfaithful with impunity? There is no saying where this ruling could lead. Avoiding relationships with an Italian is perhaps a good start. Or, if ever, not to expect fidelity. There is reason to believe that fidelity among Italians can only be found in their passions, their clothes, their accessories, their pizza, and their pasta; not necessarily in that order.



Debbie said...

Is this stereotyping of Italians? Perhaps the hot-blooded Spanish would disagree or demand equal rights for infidelity.

I know an Italian man who had a long-time relationship with a married woman. He was upset when she would not eventually leave her husband for him. Only problem, he was married also and his wife took separate vacations. I'm wondering if she also had a guy on the side?

Not my cup of tea.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Allan said...

Definitely food for thought!

I wonder if fidelity and faithfulness have been put in the too hard basket?

Great post Durano, as always.

Zhu said...

Italians have always been "weird" when it comes to marital laws, as far as I can remember. I'm Italian too...

Divorce was only legal very late compared to the rest of Europe and we always hear about these weird stories being judged... we laugh about it in France!

Blogtommy said...

I think I smell a segue into New York Governor Spitzer's recent prostitution problem do I not????


Kim said...

very interesting Durano....
I'm glad I never visited Italy in my travels and it certainly changes my perception of the Italians :0

Tapline said...

This is idiotcy in the extreme. right is right and wrong is wrong. When is a lie not a lie. When you are in Italy or the Democratic party of the US.....They don't lie in Politics they just move the goal post....Make sense???? not to me, but evidently the judge has been listening to Ameican Politicians....stay well......

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Debbie,

They both probably had someone on the side plus casual interests to boot.

I do not subscribe to such things either, and what I look for is depth in terms of feeling and connection. If I can't find it, then I don't pursue it.

I have stopped all that scouting and bohemian lifestyle during my last 2 years in college. It just is not worth it and leaves you with an empty feeling and lower sense of self worth.

Thanks for dropping by. --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Allan,

Thanks. I read your continuing saga on the trek of Ange. It really is a significant historical place.

Italians are a different breed altogether and I sometimes marvel at how they can live merrily alongside such blatant contradictions. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

Yes, several cases involving the sexes have been issued by the Highest Appeals Court, one of which was the tapping of a woman's bottom as now being branded as sexual violence.

This sort of thing used to be normal and was a sign that supposedly meant the woman was appreciated. That was as far back as the 1960's. Things have changed though. But if it were an impulsive, non-malicious tap on the bottom, it's alright. :-) But who can make that judgment huh?

Italians are really funny. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

The Highest Appeals court is made up of old men, perhaps grumpy, who are probably confused or suffering from some dementia and can't recall what laws were previously enacted and what values still exist.

The legal issues alone and how it will affect testimony in court is mind boggling, unless they take infidelity with a grain of salt.

I was also surprised with this ruling. Do you see the irony in the judges statement that the illicit affair can be lied about to protect the woman's honor? Nice touch Huh? :-)--Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

Italians have always been this way I guess. It just wasn't that much publicized - but the 1960's was a period of high profile affairs in Italy.

That statement about loving the woman who is nearest was said to me by an Italian wine maker way back in the 1980's. I visited Italy then for 6 days and was fed a daily dose by this man on the sweet life through love and romance in Italy. He brought me to several places and introduced me to many of his female acquaintances.

The women, between the ages 19 to 27 would often ask shocking questions. The wine maker himself had 2 mistresses plus one male lover. It was culture shock time for me but I was always open to new things.

But I suppose not all Italians are this way. Those who are not perhaps have this attitude of live and let live. "If it don't ah bother me ah, why shoulda I care eh? If that's ah what they ah want, que sera, sera."

These types don't say much to object. So we'll never know who is who. Que sera, sera eh? :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tommy,

I don't know anything about that, but I guess it's worth looking into.:-)

Any new tests over at your site? That is what I am interested to segue into. :-)--Durano, done!

Kim said...

I came across similiar relationships and extended "families" with the Saudis when I lived in London....
obviously it is accepted by both male and part of their culture...
I certainly wouldn't live in a culture like that though...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

Yes, Muslims are allowed up to four wives, this is part of their religion and beliefs. The fundamentalist Muslims who call on their followers to suicide attacks are promised 72 virgins in Heaven. That means 72 virgin souls go up to heaven each time a Muslim jihadist dies.

In earthly terms, that means 72 virgins are slaughtered or sacrificed to meet the jihadist. They then must hasten their population growth to be able to provide the required number. Isn't it better if they enjoyed life here rather than make life miserable for innocent people as well as the 72 women who face death? Perhaps that is one reason why they are allowed four wives. :-)

Not my idea of culture either, but I can tolerate theirs if they tolerate mine - minus the suicide bombers. :-) --Durano, done!

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