Italian PM candidate attacked over rape video
Giorgia Meloni, a far-right politician seeking to become the next Italian prime minister, has found herself in hot water after posting a video online of a Ukrainian woman being raped by a fellow migrant, from Africa.
According to local authorities, the 55-year-old victim was attacked in the city of Piacenza on Sunday by an asylum seeker from Guinea. The incident was recorded by someone from his apartment overlooking the scene. The suspect was arrested by the police and remains in custody.
Meloni, whose Brothers of Italy party is leading the polls ahead of September’s national election, posted the disturbing video on Twitter. The social media platform has since removed the footage, saying it violated its rules.
“One cannot remain silent in the face of this atrocious episode of sexual violence,” Meloni wrote in her post. “A hug to this woman. I will do everything I can to restore security to our cities.”
The post, however, sparked public outcry and waves of criticism aimed at Meloni, including from her political rivals. “It is indecent to use images of a rape. Even more indecent to do so for electoral purposes,” Enrico Letta, the head of the Italian Democratic party, wrote.
Igiaba Scego, an Italian writer of Somali origin, slammed Meloni for exploiting the rape victim for her own goals. “Offered up as clickbait voyeurism instead of being protected. This electoral campaign is horrendous,” she said.
Italy is slated to hold the election on September 25 following the collapse of Mario Draghi's government in July. Giorgia Meloni, the most eurosceptic of the candidates, appears to be leading the race. The PM candidate also expects a significant boost from her coalition partners – the right-wing League party and Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia party.