Jury acquits accused rapist because victim wore skinny jeans

A jury in Sydney, Australia acquitted Nicholas Eugenio Gonzalez of rape charges following the use of the so-called skinny jeans defense. Gonzalez’s lawyer suggested the survivor would have had to have helped him remove her tight jeans, though she said this was not the case. The jury expressed belief that Gonzalez could not have removed the jeans without the woman’s help.

The skinny jeans defense has gained popularity in recent years:

In 2008 a Seoul court overturned the seven-year sentence of a man convicted of raping a woman wearing skinny jeans.

In the same year an Italian court upheld a rape conviction, ruling that “jeans cannot be compared to any type of chastity belt”.

Advocates were quick to decry the reasoning behind the decision:

The chairwoman of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Assault, Veronica Wensing, said a woman’s outfit should not be an issue in alleged rapes. ”Any piece of clothing can be removed with force.”

Pinning a rape defense on any article of clothing smacks of slut shaming and victim blaming. I think focusing on the skinny jeans is meant to suggest that the survivor was dressed provocatively, which in turn is meant to imply she must have wanted it. I also reject the notion that a rape could not occur even if she did help remove the jeans – this could easily be taken in the moment so that the action did not become even more violent or simply out of fear. The notion someone cannot be raped because skinny jeans are too hard to take off is just absurd, and I’m disgusted that it’s ever held up in a court of law.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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