IMPRUNETA – WE WILL CALL YOU Alison, with the invented name. He is just 40 years old. And from Canada, his country, he says Al Gazzettino del Chianti that night
Last night between July 29 and 30, a group of sexual violence was committed against him in a restaurant in the central square of Impruneta. Investigations into that have, at present, led to two precautionary measures.
In fact, of the four people immediately under investigation, two (a 34-year-old and a 26-year-old) were under house arrest (as of early August).
Alison’s hard-hitting, poignant, vivid and courageous story. His truth about those terrible hours. We leave out some details: they are very difficult, in any case, the authorities are still on the job, and there will be a judicial process.
On the evening of August 8th, Alison asks to contact those who organized the demonstration in Piazza Bundelmonti in support of her and women victims of violence. A little light and unity in a story as dark as a dark night.
What do you remember about that evening: Tell us what you want to say.
“I had arrived in Impruneta the night before. I ate at the restaurant when I arrived, around 8pm, and then I went home (I took an Airbnb around the corner, via Paoliari). The next day I saw the country and went there for dinner. I had the rest of the day. I remember everything: the names of two Irish people I met, a local boy and his dog, a bar. Everything. I remember everything until I got home, in the middle of the night. I crossed the square and some men sitting on the patio of a restaurant called out to me because they recognized me. They found out. I joined them for a drink. They said the restaurant was closed but you can drink with them after hours. After a while there, they asked me to enter so no one would think the restaurant was open. I sat inside, at a table near the bar/cash register. I came I remember someone locking the front door to my left and I was offered a glass of Chianti. I immediately lost my memory from there. Hours later, after the escape, I remember a few traumatic moments, but mostly it was a complete void of being locked inside for a full five hours (or more). Some of the memories I have I will not describe in detail because they are disturbing and difficult to talk about”.
Was she alone on vacation in Italy? Why did she come to Impruneta?
“I was traveling alone in Europe. I ended a difficult relationship in Canada at the beginning of July and decided to go to Europe. I started in Germany, then in Croatia, then in Rome. Then Impruneta. I never wanted to go to Italy, maybe I’m the only person who didn’t want to go to this country. I chose to go to Rome because of the cheap flight ticket from Croatia: I planned to go north from Rome, stopping in Florence.I found a place in Impruneta and chose to spend a few days there.
How did it end up in that club, and then how did it get out? What do you remember about those moments?
“Like I said, I dined there my first two evenings. Impruneta is a very small town and this restaurant is one of the few. And highly rated. The food was so good, I hate to say it. A few hours after eating there the second time, people recognized me. They called. I have very little recollection of what happened there. I remember waking up on a table, on my back, scared, facing the ceiling. Half-naked, crying and begging. I had no shoes. When I opened the glass door on the next street, I ran home in fear, barefoot. I also vividly remember the feeling of the hot stones underneath.
When the Carabinieri arrived, was she adequately assisted? What happened?
“The first two carabinieri didn’t speak proper English, and at that moment I was shocked and struggled to tell what I had experienced. After about an hour, I decided that I wouldn’t let these men “win”: I was still walking around, barefoot, at dawn, hoping someone would listen to me and help me. I try. No one speaks English (which is normal, I understand). I tried several times to get someone to the restaurant to find my shoes: at least, I thought, if someone found them, they would believe me. Everyone thought I was a “drunk American girl”. When a paramedic arrived , a woman, undressed me and saw my injuries, and I was sent to the hospital. Then all day by the Scandicci carabinieri (probably 12 hours straight between hospital exams and reports). One of the worst days of my life. About 8 hours at the station. All the officers who helped me at the time were excellent, friendly, thoughtful and inquisitive. I’m a little sorry that I got that answer only after I found out I had serious injuries.”
Have you contacted your embassy?
“Yes, but only after I return to my country. No Italian official told me to ask for help from the Embassy/Consulate. I didn’t know it was an option for me at the time.
When did she leave for Canada and in what mood?
“After two weeks I was finally able to return to Canada. Almost 4,000 Canadian dollars were wasted to get home so quickly (summer airfares, extra accommodations and rent in Italy, food…). I wanted to leave the next day, but I couldn’t afford it. July From 30 until today I was in a lot of depression. However, I learned to be strong and positive regardless of what is happening around me. For example, today I got a good news (not related to the case) that gave me some joy to carry on”.
How did you live after these weeks? How is your life? What has changed?
“I have nightmares every night. For now I am strong and able to resist the pain. I refuse to let anyone else use it against me. There are moments when I suddenly burst into tears. I don’t want anyone to touch me. Sometimes I suddenly can’t move or speak. Or just sit like an idiot. . It’s terrible and embarrassing. I can’t get along with anyone, I expect them to attack me and take away my whole life, my pride and my body. I’m 40 years old, but I’m very young: I should enjoy this fact, but unfortunately it’s not like that”.
What do you ask about Italian justice?
“Just this: justice. These guys raped me. I was unconscious, scared, maybe even drugged. They knew what they were doing, but I wasn’t the only one there. What would have happened if I hadn’t run? “Why was I alone” or “How much I I’m sick of being asked, “Drank.” None of this matters. I’m an adult who acted like an adult. I never wanted what happened. There’s a video: My body was paralyzed, unconscious, repeatedly raped. It’s all on their phones. Not a consensus! I don’t want money, all the money I had was meant to start a new life at home, in Canada, after my trip, but had to be used to get me home as soon as possible. I want them to be punished, and to them No woman will ever experience this. I want their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, grandmothers, to look at them with disgust. I want them to apologize to their girls. And with me”.
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