War does not justify rape. Nothing justifies rape

Ukrainian women and girls who have experienced sexual violence can always benefit from free specialized support and assistance from the team of the International Center La Strada.

As a sign of solidarity with the hundreds of women and girls who were subjected to mass sexual violence committed with particular cruelty in Ukraine, La Strada dedicates the activities carried out for Denim Day Moldova 2022 campaign to all survivors of gender-based violence from the neighboring country. The campaign is implemented with the support of UN Women Moldova and with the financial support of Sweden.

This is the fifth year of La Strada implementing the Denim Day Moldova campaign. But never before has the need to stand in solidarity to support survivors of sexual abuse come as a result of the application of one of the most petty and destructive weapons of war, rape. Through the campaign promo, the La Strada team wants to reach the hearts of the women and girls who survived sexual violence but do not have the courage to ask for help to overcome the situation, because of fear, shame or remorse. War does not justify rape. Nothing justifies rape – it is the firm conviction of the team and, implicitly, the commitment to come with all the support and assistance that victims of sexual violence need.

Elena BOTEZATU, Executive Director of La Strada:

For more than a decade of work in the field of combating gender-based violence, we have accumulated knowledge, developed services and tools that we are ready to put into practice also for refugee women and girls from Ukraine, who have experienced various forms of sexual violence. As we say in this campaign promo, rape is rape and hurts anytime, anywhere in the world. That is why our helpline, lawyers and psychologists are ready to get involved and offer help to all women who had this painful experience, including refugee women from Ukraine.

At the same time, La Strada specialists remind women who are in transit or temporarily established in our country the golden rules which they need to keep in mind to stay safe:

  • Avoid unusually attractive job offers from people “in the street”.
  • Do not pass on your ID, mobile phone or any other device through which you keep in touch with your family and loved ones.
  • If you choose to stay in a private apartment or house, go to your local government and register. This is how you ensure that you are under the monitoring and protection of Moldovan authorities.
  • If you or any of the women you know have experienced a situation of violence on the territory of Moldova (you have been harassed, raped or subjected to an attempted rape), call 112. It is an emergency service, which operates non-stop and can be called free of charge by any person via landline or mobile phone.
  • However, if you are not ready to talk to any of the authorities, you can call 24/24 the Helpline for women and girls 0 8008 8008. It is anonymous, confidential and free. You will be offered emotional support and helped to access the services you need.

This year, we are marking Denim Day on 27 April. We will post messages of support for the campaign on social networks under the hashtags #DenimDayMoldova, #DenimDayMoldova2022, #DenimDay.

Background: The history of Denim Day began in 1992 in Italy, when a Supreme Court judge decided to overturn the perpetrator’s conviction on a rape case, arguing that because the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the rapist take off her jeans. According to court, it meant the victim consented to it. The next day, women from the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans, contrary to the dress code, as a sign of solidarity with the victim. Since that year, Denim Day is held in many countries in Europe and the USA on the last Wednesday of April as a symbol of protest against misconceptions surrounding sexual violence.

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