The appalling ‘Skinny Jeans’ rape defense
[via Feministing] The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that a man has been acquitted of sexual assault charges because the alleged victim was wearing skinny jeans. The infuriating headline, “Rape of women in skinny jeans ‘not possible,’” is followed by this opening paragraph:
Can a woman wearing skinny jeans be raped? Or are they so tight they can be taken off only with her consent?
The defense counsel, while cross-examining the victim, asked her how much she weighed, and told her:
I’m suggesting it’s difficult for skinny jeans to be taken off by someone else unless the wearer’s assisting, collaborating, consenting.
The woman responded, “I would disagree.”
This is insane. When does scrutinizing the tightness of someone’s clothes become a deciding factor in a rape case? To even argue with the logic is to give this ridiculous defense too much credit, but the fact is, fucking skinny jeans fit different people differently. “Skinny jeans” is a pretty big umbrella category– some are kind of a pain in the ass to get on and off, and some are no different than regular jeans. Did the jury look at the amount of elastic compared to cotton in the victims jeans? If that sounds like an absurd thing to do, it is, because the type of clothing a woman is wearing should not be a factor in determining whether or not a rape has occurred.
Jos at Feministing argues that the defense reeks of “slut shaming and victim blaming,” even if not explicitly. It’s hard to disagree, considering how often a woman’s clothing is used to invalidate a rape accusation, and how ungrounded it is to argue that a man couldn’t possibly remove a pair of jeans during a forceful act. I don’t know the other specifics of the case, but the “skinny jeans” defense needs to be discredited and destroyed, immediately.