Outrage! The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a jury acquitted Nicholas Gonzalez, 23, of raping a woman because she was wearing skinny jeans. We've all heard of people who claim that rape victims are "asking for it" by wearing short skirts and low-cut tops, but we were especially incensed by this bizarre case of letting clothes speak louder than the victim.
The 24-year-old woman told the Sydney District Court that she and Gonzalez met for drinks in April 2008. While they were listening to music and playing the drums in his room, Gonzalez pinned her down on a bed, tearing off her pants and underwear before attacking her.
In his defense, Gonzalez said the sex was consensual. The jury then sent a note to the judge asking how exactly Gonzalez took off the woman's jeans.
The note read: "I doubt those kind of jeans can be removed without any sort of collaboration."
The woman told defence council Paul Hogan that she weighed 93 pounds and had no trouble getting in and out of her skinny jeans. Still, Hogan argued that the woman made up the drums story so she would have a non-sexual reason to be in Gonzalez's room.
Rape is wrong, period, and rape cases, complicated. Could Mr. Gonzalez be innocent, and Hogan right in suggesting that the woman invented the whole story? Maybe, but to use skinny jeans as the crux of this case is ridiculous.
Firstly, skinny jeans take about ten seconds to remove. They're made of cloth, not steel. Secondly, the woman weighs under a hundred pounds. We don't need to articulate how, even if the jeans were hard to remove, a grown man could constrain her for long enough to take them off. Thirdly, did anyone bother testing the strength of that exact pair of jeans? Maybe we've watched too many crime shows, but it's not unfeasible to have somebody demonstrate, in front of the jury (and on a dummy), whether or not a man would need help unbuttoning someone's skinny jeans. Finally, a medical examination conducted soon after the alleged rape confirmed that the woman had experienced trauma around her gential and anal areas. We're flabbergasted that the jury puts more faith in a pair of pants than on medical evidence.
Even if she helped remove the jeans, it doesn't mean she agreed to have sex with him. He could have threatened her to do his bidding. We don't know all the details yet, but we're disappointed that this case has helped perpetuate the notion that clothing, and not the perveted intentions of rapists, causes rape. When Sex Is A Weapon: Surviving Date Rape