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."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .