Making wife scrub is banned From: Reuters From correspondents in Rome July 19, 2006 FORCING your wife to kneel down and scrub the house floor clean is a crime because it amounts to mistreatment, Italy's highest appeals court has ruled. The court upheld a conviction for ill-treatment handed down to a man who was left by his wife after what she said were years of abuse and threats. "The husband humiliated and burdened her in every way, to the point of forcing her to clean the floor on her knees as a punishment for the insufficient dedication that in his view the woman put into housework," the court said. The man was sentenced to pay unspecified compensation to his wife, who has since returned to live with her parents, and provide child support for their son. Italy's Cassation court is often called on to settle what might seem like unusual legal disputes for a high court. The floor-scrubbing verdict came one day after it ruled that calling someone a "faggot" is a punishable insult. Both sentences will go some way to appeasing critics of the court, who say its judges are mostly conservative macho men. In two recent controversial judgments, the court ruled that calling a foreigner "dirty negro" is not necessarily racist and that sexually abusing a teenager is less serious a crime if the girl is not a virgin. In recent years it has returned a verdict that an "isolated and impulsive" pat on a woman's bottom at work did not constitute sexual harassment, and stated that a woman could not have been raped because she was wearing skin-tight jeans.