Franca Viola | Square - Limited Edition of 50

Franca Viola | Square - Limited Edition of 50

from 30.00

FRANCA VIOLA - The woman who defied Italian tradition by refusing to marry her rapist.

Illustration by Debora Montesoro.
Limited Edition of 50, signed and numbered.

Giclée print 7”x7”// 17.8 x 17.8 cm
Printed on quality heavyweight 300 gsm archival paper, slightly textured with a chalky smooth cotton feel. 
Includes an A5 card* detailing Franca’s inspirational story.

Optional frame
Frame in solid wood, with a 20mm wide flat profile, finished in matt white or black paint.
Frame size approx. 22.2 x 22.2 x 2.2 cm
Includes a 20mm acid-free white single mount with a white core, that doesn’t yellow with age; premium quality acrylic glazing and hanging fixtures.

If you have any bespoke framing or mounting requests, we are always happy to help. Our framing partners offer a wide range of materials and finishes, Please get in touch with your requirements and we’ll promptly get back to you with a choice of options, including prices and delivery times.

Sets of 2, 3 and 4 prints also available.

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In the mid 60s — when Franca was a teenager — social conventions in Southern Italy dictated that a woman would lose her ‘honour’ and bring shame to her family, if she did not marry the man she lost her virginity to.

When she was 15, Franca agreed to marry a man in his 20s, but she ended the engagement after he was arrested. She then started seeing someone else, but two years later, her former fiancé tried to re-enter her life. After she rejected him again, he began threatening her, her family, and her new boyfriend.

In December 1965 and with the help of 12 accomplices, Viola’s former fiancé kidnapped her and held her hostage for 8 days, during which he repeatedly raped her. He told her that now she would have to marry him, so as not to become a “dishonoured” woman.

When she was finally released in January 1966 — just one week before turning 18 — supported by her father but against local customs, not only she refused again to marry him, she also sued him for kidnapping and rape.

His lawyers maintained that Viola hadn’t been kidnapped, but rather she had consented to a “fuitina”, a runaway to get married.

Not only culturally, but also according to the Italian law, an appalling crime such as rape would be excused, if the couple later wed in a ‘reparatory marriage’ — the man forgiven for his violence and the woman’s ‘honour’ restored. Article 544 of the Italian Penal Code even equated rape to a crime against “public morality”, rather than a personal offence.

The trial had wide resonance in the Italian media, to the point that Parliament got involved, as it became obvious that part of the existing code clashed with the public opinion. Viola’s rapist was ultimately found guilty and sent to prison.

The article of law whereby a rapist could extinguish his crime by marrying his victim was finally abolished in 1981.