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.