Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning.]

A jury in Australia has acquitted an accused rapist on the basis that his female victim had to have been an "assisting, collaborating, consenting" partner, because there's no way the rapist could have removed her "tight size 6 skinny jeans" on his own.
Nicholas Gonzales, 23, admitted to [sexual contact] with the 24-year-old accuser, but insisted it was consensual.

The woman said Gonzales pushed her on his bed and held her down against her will, the Daily Mail reported. "I struggled to try to get up for a while and then he undid my jeans and he pulled them off," she testified.

Gonzales' lawyer pressed her, saying it would be "difficult for skinny jeans to be taken off by someone else unless the wearer's assisting, collaborating, consenting."

"I would disagree," the woman replied.
So, unless I'm mistaken, the idea here is that the woman wearing the jeans is capable of getting them off on her own, without assistance, every time she needs to pee and at the end of every day she wears them, but a man intent on raping her couldn't possibly do the same. Okay.

(And, just to be sure I understand The Rules, a short skirt means I'm "asking for it," and skinny jeans are axiomatic evidence of consent. Got it.)

What I find particularly galling about this acquittal is the idea that even if a woman did help take off her jeans, that's the same as consent. It's not remotely difficult to imagine being in a situation where an evidently dangerous man with no compunction about hurting his victim is holding her down and demands she remove (or help remove) her clothing, threatening her with ever more brutal violence if she doesn't comply. That's not consent. That's a survival strategy.

I am constantly amazed how many people—how many juries—apparently believe that victims are supposed to discern during the commission of a rape whether the rapist will really carry through on his threats, or whether merely refusing to take off one's "skinny jeans," for instance, will thwart him. Sometimes potential rapists are thwarted by something that simple, but of the two possible outcomes, it seems both the unlikeliest and riskiest, especially under duress.

And it's eminently reasonable to conclude that someone who is willing to rape you is also willing to kill you, if that is what he is threatening to do. Compliance under those circumstances is categorically not consent.

Which is why rape cases shouldn't be decided on bullshit like "those jeans didn't come off by themselves." Whether they did or didn't doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is the presence or absence of consent.

Of which skinny jeans are not evidence.

The "skinny jeans defense" has been successfully used in South Korea and Italy, as well.

[H/T to Shaker Kate217.]

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