Italy's Supreme Court of Appeal in Rome ruled that women who were wearing jeans at the time of their attack cannot claim to have been raped. Judges contended that jeans cannot be removed "without the active help of the person wearing it" as long as wearers fight removal "with all their strength."
Wednesday's ruling reversed the conviction of a 45-year-old driving instructor accused of raping an 18-year-old student. The instructor had been sentenced to 34 months in jail by a lower court in Potenza.
Italian feminists were quick to express their outrage at the court's decision. Female MPs including Alessandra Mussolini began encouraging their colleagues to wear jeans and engage in a "no-skirt strike" until the ruling is overturned. Mussolini commented, "This takes us back 20 years."
Feminist actor Franca Rame, herself a survivor of gang-rape, called Italian women protest the ruling and angrily stated, "There are so many ways of undressing a woman, by holding her down, threatening her, knocking her out with a punch."
Giuliana Dal Pozzo is the president of a hotline that helps victims of violent crimes. She reported that her hotline has been swamped with calls from women who fear the impact of the ruling. "I am shocked, almost incredulous, and scandalized by this medieval decision that now makes jeans chastity belts for women," said Dal Pozzo. "This decision is going to make it even harder for victims to take the step of pressing charges."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .