A Florence rape survivor speaks out: Guilty verdict by the highest court in Rome

I am sitting in a quiet room in the countryside, my windows open to a morning of fog with a slight chill on the air. I returned here last night after spending time with friends, and although I could leave here and easily find other people on the property to talk to, I’m choosing to remain in this room where the silence is only broken by the sound of the birds, and my company is a garden spider who visits at night that I’ve affectionately named Shakespeare. I am here because in this space it is only myself, and for this moment, the story that has just come to an end is mine and mine alone. I’m not ready yet to share it. At 20.24 yesterday evening my lawyer called to give me the news: the condemnation and sentence for the man who raped me in Florence during May 2013 had finally been confirmed by the highest court in Rome.

This is the first time in over four years that I am finally allowed to speak, the first moment in which my voice might be permitted in the public arena without risk of damaging my case. When you are raped, yours is the least told story, while others voices grow louder and louder, spinning tales and reasons and theories and lies that weave together into a fabric of falsehood that so many people truly believe. As victims, we are helpless against the onslaught of public opinion, gagged until such a time as a legal process may finally allow us some voice. As mine is finally freed, two more young women are losing theirs as a case is built against the Carabinieri accused of violating them.

Read more at The Florentine website