Anti-Rape Alarm Bracelets? Rome's Mayoral Race Dominated by Sex Crime Debate

The brutal rape of a young woman in Rome last week has stirred up a law and order debate ahead of this weekend's mayoral elections. One candidate, Francesco Rutelli, has proposed fitting women with alarm bracelets. His opponent is dismissive but one women's issues advocate says it's not such a bad idea.


Francesco Rutelli is running for the mayor of Rome and has come up with a novel idea for protecting women from rape.
AFP

Francesco Rutelli is running for the mayor of Rome and has come up with a novel idea for protecting women from rape.

Voters in the Italian capital are going to the polls this weekend to elect their new mayor and it looks like law and order is going to be the key issue following a brutal rape in Rome last week.

The shock at the sexual assault of a young African woman last Thursday has renewed the debate about women's safety in the city. Now one of the candidate's for mayor, Francesco Rutelli, has come up with a controversial proposal to tackle the issue: fitting women with special tracking bracelets to help protect them from attackers.

Rutelli is Italy's outgoing culture minister. A steadfast leftist politician who has already ran twice before to become mayor, Rutelli is facing off against Gianni Alemmano, a right-wing ally of Prime Minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi.

Both candidates are calling for a crackdown on crime after the latest serious crime in Rome. Police have already arrested a Romanian man for the rape and stabbing of the 31-year-old female student from Lesotho.

The attack has reignited tensions about immigration and crime that flared up last October after another Romanian man was arrested for the sexual attack on an Italian naval officer's wife. The woman was severely beaten and died two days after the assault.

Now both candidates are trying to come up with proposals that will play well in the city in the run-off race this Sunday. Rutelli said his idea of alarm bracelets could be introduced on an experimental basis for women who are alone in isolated areas, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Such a device could allow its wearer to transmit an alarm signal to the nearest police station and could also police to track the wearer.

Alemanno rejected the idea outright. "This is a case of do-it-yourself safety in which the citizens are supposed to compensate for the failings of the state and the city," he told reporters.

Rutelli's proposal has received a mixed response amongst women. Isabella Bertolini of Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party (PDL) described it as "ridiculous and offensive," according to ANSA.

However, women's rights activist Manuela Moroli said she liked the idea. "Why not?" she told Italian daily La Repubblica on Monday. "The bracelets wouldn’t be obligatory and if they make women feel safer and more protected, then all the better."

Article...
Related Topics


© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2008
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH


TOP
Die Homepage wurde aktualisiert. Jetzt aufrufen.
Hinweis nicht mehr anzeigen.