An Italian father who forced his daughters to go on extreme diets in order to slim down for competitive skiing has been jailed in Italy. The case and its results could set a precedent for how Italian courts define psychological abuse of children.
An Italian father, whose identity has been withheld by the courts, has been jailed in a case involving child abuse. He has been found guilty of forcing his two teenage daughters to ski competitively and eat a macrobiotic diet. He strongly felt his girls were “too fat for competitive skiing”. The courts found him guilty on all counts of child abuse, but have sentenced him to spend just nine months in prison.
As there are no similar cases of abuse on record, this case may set a precedent for how Italian courts define psychological abuse of children and treat the victims and perpetrators.
The ordeal of the two teenage girls started in 2011. One of the girls, who is an adult now, complained to their mother, “Daddy treats us badly,” and said they no longer wanted to visit their father. The parents of the girls were separated at the time. The 53-year-old father, who has not been named in press reports, but has been described as a wealthy individual, has said he became worried about his daughters’ health when he saw pictures of them on Facebook.
The father argued that he merely encouraged the girls to take up competitive skiing as a way to get in shape. He said he asked the girls to eat a macrobiotic diet, avoiding processed and otherwise refined foods. The father maintained that all the steps he took were out of a normal level of parental concern.
However, the prosecution and the mother of the two daughters described a horrific tale of constant humiliation and degradation that took a toll on the girls. The court was informed of a life with constant and intense pressure of a man driven by the desire to slim down his girls and would not stop taunting them.
Ironically, it was the prosecutor who demanded just 10 months of jail time for the abuse meted out to the girls. While it remains to be verified, the father intends to appeal the decision.
Interestingly, the Italian courts have never heard cases of child abuse. Hence, this case and the final verdict if there is an appeal could very well serve as a yardstick or even open the floodgate for future cases of child abuse.
[Image Credit | Competitive Edge]