A woman who hitchhiked through the Middle East to prove Muslims are peaceful was raped and murdered.
Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo (known as Pippa Bacca) (9 December 1974 – 31 March 2008) was an Italian artist who, together with a fellow artist, was hitchhiking from Milan to the Middle East to promote world peace and trust in other people, symbolically wearing a wedding dress during her trek.
Arriving in Gebze (Turkey) on 31 March 2008, she went missing. Her raped body was discovered in the same city on 11 April 2008. The police arrested a man who had placed his SIM card into Bacca’s mobile phone and he later led them to Bacca’s body.
Negative or skeptical reactions to the circumstances of Bacca’s death were common in Turkey, along the lines of “An oddly and ostentatiously dressed woman, hitchhiking alone, in a foreign country—what was she thinking?”
A commentary in Today’s Zaman, while expressing sadness for the woman’s death, criticised the supposed obsequiousness of Turkish politicians to “foreigners” in the Bacca case, writing: “Let’s face it, if Pippa were a Turk, some people would feel freer to say that a hitchhiking woman deserves to be raped.”