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Outrage Over Judge’s ’10-Second Rule’ After Girl, 17, Groped At School

A recent 10-second groping rule by a judge in Italy has sparked outrage on social media.
Credit: TikTok & Instagram

A judge’s ’10-second’ groping rule has sparked outrage after a girl was assaulted at school.

Many young people are sharing their shock and disgust after a caretaker was cleared of groping a 17-year-old student because it did not last long enough.

The controversial decision resulted in the acquittal of the man – who admitted to fondling the student.

It’s raised an important question: does the duration of a s**ual assault determine its severity?

Learn more about the judge’s 10-second groping rule in the video below…

The incident took place at a high school in Rome, Italy, as the student was walking up a staircase to class with a friend.

The teenager felt her trousers fall down and a hand touching her buttocks and grabbing her underwear.

When she turned around, the caretaker told her: “Love, you know I was joking.”

The student reported the incident to the police, and the caretaker admitted to groping her without consent but claimed it was a joke.

The public prosecutor asked for a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence, but the caretaker was acquitted of s**ual assault charges because, according to the judges, the incident did not constitute a crime due to its short duration.

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Since the ruling, a trend called ‘palpata breve’ or ‘brief groping’ has emerged on Instagram and TikTok in Italy, accompanied by the hashtag #10secondi.

People have been posting videos in which they look into the camera and touch their intimate parts for a full 10 seconds.

While these videos can be uncomfortable to watch, they aim to demonstrate just how long 10 seconds can feel.

The trend was initiated by Paolo Camilli, an actor from the series White Lotus, and has gained traction with thousands of people participating, including influencers like Chiara Ferragni, who has millions of followers on Instagram.


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A post shared by paolo camilli (@paolocamilli)

The videos highlight the absurdity of the judge’s ruling and emphasise that any harassment, regardless of how long it lasts, is unacceptable.

Influencer Francesco Cicconetti expressed his dismay on TikTok: “Who decides that 10 seconds is not a long time?

“Who times the seconds, while you’re being harassed?

“Men don’t have the right to touch women’s bodies, not even for a second – let alone 5 or 10.”

The student who was assaulted shared her perspective, stating that those few seconds of assault were enough to make her feel violated.

“The judges ruled that he was joking? Well, it was no joke to me,” the student told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

“The caretaker came up from behind without saying anything. He put his hands down my trousers and inside my underwear.

“He groped my bottom. Then, he pulled me up – hurting my private parts. For me, this is not a joke. This is not how an old man should ‘joke’ with a teenager.

“That handful of seconds was more than enough for the caretaker to make me feel his hands on me.”

She went on to say that she feels betrayed by both her school and the justice system.

@theconiugi Sotto i 10 secondi la passi liscia… menomale… MA STIAMO SCHERZANDO?????? #10secondi #leggeitaliana #fakesituation #prank #positivity ♬ suono originale – The Coniugi

“I’m starting to think I was wrong to trust the institutions. This is not justice,” she commented.

Statistics from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency reveal that a significant percentage of Italian women who experienced harassment between 2016 and 2021 did not report the incidents.

This ruling risks perpetuating a culture of silence and further protecting the aggressors.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.