Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi in hot water over rape comments

January 26th, 2009 - 12:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 26 (ANI): Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has fuelled a furore yet again by saying that women in the country were so beautiful that they needed military escorts to avoid being raped.

And now, the Itlalian premier has landed in soup over his comments, which came in response to questions about his proposal to deploy 300,000 soldiers in the streets to fight crime.

The move came in line with a series of violent attacks, including a rape in Rome on New Year’’s Eve and another outside the capital.

However, the PM said that crimes like rape could happen even in a militarised state, as Italian women are so pretty.

“You can”t consider deploying a force that would be sufficient to prevent the risk,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

He added: “We would have to have so many soldiers because our women are so beautiful.”

But, Berlusconis comments did not go quite well with opposition lawmakers like Giovanna Melandri of the Democratic Party, who said that the remarks were “profoundly offensive.

Melandri also said that the pain of rape could never be joked about in such a way.

Vittoria Franco, the shadow equality minister, accused Berlusconi of being flippant about a very serious matter.

“Berlusconi ought to refrain from saying offensive things about women. Basically what he is saying is that if women leave home alone they run the risk of being raped or attacked because it is not possible to make the country safe,” she said.

However, on his defence, Berlusconi said that he was complimenting Italian women “because there are only about 100,000 people in law enforcement, while there are millions of beautiful women.”

While he stressed that rape was a serious and “disgraceful” crime, he added that his comments were in pure “levity and good humour,” and should not be taken otherwise.

Berlusconi, a billionaire media-mogul-turned politician, has a history of gaffes and his fondness for flirting with women has earned him public reprimands from his wife. (ANI)

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