Pedophile Busted In Italy After Victim Uses Cell Phone To Film Abuse

Fourteen-year-old videotapes her aggressor after seeing TV plea by another victim to turn in abusers.

MILAN – First he became the mother's lover then he started to abuse her daughter, a nine-year-old child who endured his violent advances until she was 14-years-old. It's an all too common story of pedophilia but for the fact that the young victim had a plan. After seeing a report of a case similar to hers on a popular undercover journalism show, and learning that her aggressor had set his sights on another child, the young girl decided to set a trap. She arranged one final appointment with the man and filmed his actions with her mobile phone.

The next day she went to the police and filed charges, offering irrefutable video evidence. The man, aged 61, was arrested and eventually sentenced this month to eight years in prison.

The story started in 2006, after the perpetrator began dating the mother. He wasn't content with this relationship alone and soon cast his eyes on her young daughter, named in court documents only as S., who had only just turned nine.

Playing on the mother's trust, the man was able to spend time alone with the child, abusing her and ordering her to keep quiet. The young girl endured the abuse for five years, unconsciously part of a sick game in which the man was "an ogre", "family friend" and her mother's lover at the same time.

But the game changed last year, when the child saw a report about pedophilia on the popular Italian investigative journalism show "Le Iene" (The Hyenas), which uses hidden cameras to nab wrongdoers. It featured a young girl who decided to set-up her aggressor, and publicly denounce him to his face on camera. It was a gripping item in which the protagonist called on other victims to denounce their abusers, and not to remain silent.

This appeal shook S. She started to talk about what had happened to her, first with her friends, then her teacher and then her parents – her mother had in the meantime broken off her relationship with the man. They asked her not to see the man again.

But S. was determined to free herself of the nightmare. To this end, she decided to subject herself to one last appointment with the man. This time, she went with her mobile phone secretly switched onto video mode and filmed everything: the approaches, the abuse and most importantly the face of her tormentor.

Read the original article in Italian

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!