Italian outrage over US 'marital rape book'

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Melissa Gorga's book Love Italian Style was released this month. Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images North America/AFP
09:29 CEST+02:00
An Italian organization that campaigns to combat violence against women has slammed a new book called Love Italian Style, which has been criticized for sanctioning marital rape.

The book, written by US reality TV personality Melissa Gorga, was released earlier this month and promises to teach readers “how to love your man and keep him happy”.

But the book’s release was quickly met with controversy, with a review on US website Jezebel stating the book “advocates marital rape”.

Jezebel quotes lines from the book such as “If your wife says ‘no,’ turn her around, and rip her clothes off” and “most important, she has to be available for sex”.

Monica Pepe, editor of Zero Violenza Donne, a website fighting against gender violence, said such statements are not accurate depictions of normal relationships or Italian love.

“These statements allow for the destruction of a woman’s identity,” she told The Local.

The book is promoted as a blend of “old-school Italian values with a modern lifestyle”, but Pepe said Gorga is out of touch with how love plays out on Italian soil.

“I think that the majority of Italian men don’t want a relationship in which they must force their partner to have a sexual relationship. No woman likes a man to rip her clothes off and force her to have sex when she doesn’t want to.

“This is only violence, whether it’s done by a partner or a stranger in the middle of the street,” Pepe said.

“This point of view is not normal. But it’s very alluring in a consumer society that has constructed an image of sexual relationships where women are ‘for sale’...rather than a human relationship.”

While Italy is still a masculine country, Pepe said “Rape is not normal in Italy”.

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In recent months Italians have been working to combat violence against women in the country, last month passing an anti-femicide bill which aims to give more protection to women. 

The issue has also made it into the classroom, with children in Turin starting the school year with lessons on how to treat women

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