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Jean Day/Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

by on April 28, 2014

On Friday April 25th, I had the pleasure in participating in two events that are dear to my heart. I was apart of Denim Day and Walk In Her Shoe awareness events. For you who don’t know what these causes are let me share.

Denim Day is an event in which people are encouraged to wear jeans (denim) in order to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault.

In Rome in 1997, a 45-year-old driving instructor was accused of rape. When he picked up an 18-year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he allegedly raped her for an hour, then told her that if she was to tell anyone he would kill her. Later that night she told her parents and her parents agreed to help her press charges. While the alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. It was argued that she must have necessarily have had to help her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual (“because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them…and by removing the jeans…it was no longer rape but consensual sex”). The Italian Supreme Court stated in its decision “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.” As of 2008 the Italian Supreme Court has overturned their findings, and there is no longer a “denim” defense to the charge of rape.

This ruling sparked widespread protest. The day after the decision, women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans and holding placards that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” As a sign of support, the California Senate and Assembly followed suit. As of 2011 at least 20 U.S. states officially recognize Denim Day on April 23.Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Each year, men, women and their families are joining the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. It’s an International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women. There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and men’s sexual violence against women.

http://www.walkamileinhershoes.org

 

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