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A 47-year-old woman was last night rescued by police from the tiny dungeon that has been her home for the last 18 years.

Police raided a family home at Santa Maria Capua Vetere, a small town just outside of Naples in Italy, following an anonymous tip-off, to find Maria Monaco, 47, huddled, scared and confused, and wedged in the corner having been forced to exist in a tiny room surrounded by dirt and her own excrement for over a third of her life.

But how did this happen? Monaco was not abducted by strangers, but was rather the victim of her family’s overbearing pride and spite when, as a woman of about 30-years-old, she became pregnant outside of wedlock.

Her mother (Anna Rosa Golino, 80) along with Monaco’s farmer brother (Prisco, 44) and primary-school teacher sister (Michelina, 54), were so angry that she had been having an affair with a “mystery man” that shortly following the announcement she was pregnant she was locked away like a criminal. No, worse than a criminal. Not even the worst sort of murderer has to sleep night after night on shit stained, piss soaked sheets. Monaco did.

Presumably she gave birth in this dungeon, and her baby, now a 17-year-old student, was permitted to live above-stairs with the Golino’s, apparently fully aware that his mother languished in an underground prison paying the price for allowing him to exist.

This downright terrifying report bares a shocking similarity to the Fritzl case exposed earlier this year, when it was discovered 73-year-old sick bastard Josef Fritzl had imprisoned his 18-year-old daughter in the cellar under their house for 24 years, during which time he raped her repeatedly, fathering seven children, of which six survived.

Monaco is said to be (understandably) suffering from psychological problems, and is currently in hospital where she is being “treated for her trauma,” although what exactly can this treatment involve? How can you rehabilitate a woman to re-enter society when not only has she lost a third of her life, the chance to form any sort of relationship with the baby she nurtured inside her, but has also been betrayed by her mother, the woman who should love her more than anything in the world, and her siblings, those she grew up with? But this isn’t only about familial relations, but rather the compassion and decency one person should have for another? How dare the Golino’s take away the fundamental human right to freedom from a mature woman owing to her decision to have a baby! How dare they “punish” her for deciding to have a baby outside of wedlock! The father, unknown, has probably lived the last 18 years in blissful ignorance, whereas Monaco has had no option but to reflect on an allegedly unauthorised sexual liaison while being segregated from the rest of the world and living in squalor for her supposed transgressions. Her punishment was for more than being pregnant, it was for being a woman, since neither are mutually exclusive.

Anna Rosa Golino was apparently released on bail (probably owing to her age), while Prisco and Michelina have been detained for questioning. As with most crimes of this nature, however, I have this foreboding feeling that the punishment of the perpetrators is not going to match the severity and gravity of the crime they have committed. Similarly, while Fritzl remains in custody, with DNA evidence and a confession proving the sick crimes he inflicted not only upon his daughter, Elisabeth, but also on the resultant children, he has not yet been charged. Why not? Like Monaco, Elisabeth was punished for being a woman. At 18 she had probably just about matured and was considered by her father as reaching an age of sexual desirability. He believed she was his property, and so he felt this meant that he could do what he wanted with her. She existed for his pleasure, her body had to provide gratification for no man but himself, and she was not permitted independence of thought or freedom, things that are just a given and should not have to be stated as being a fundamental human entitlement. If there was true justice in this world Fritzl and the Golino’s would be locked up for the rest of their days, but unfortunately this probably won’t happen.