Not an Odalisque

Anyone for a Pair of Chastity Jeans?

with 3 comments

This week a man in Australia was acquitted of rape because the jury considered that it is impassable to remove a pair of tight jeans without the wearer’s cooperation. Tight jeans make women rape-proof.

This is fantastic news. Skinny jeans are a simple solution to the worldwide epidemic of sexual violence! We can hand them out at schools and health centres, along with condoms and leaflets on STIs. There should be a nationwide campaign to convince women to wear them, featuring upbeat sound bites from women who had been threatened with rape, but mercifully escaped due to the expedient donning of this garment. No longer shall women cower in their houses when they could be out, wandering dark alleys, and no longer shall they arrange safe calls with friends, or privately wonder whether the man who suggests walking them home is a greater risk than the unknown strangers on the route. Skinny jeans spell liberation!

I really do wish it were true. The problem is that while some men are fumbling weaklings who couldn’t unhook your bra if they were given a manual and half-dressed mannequin to practice on for ten minutes beforehand, other men aren’t. Other women aren’t, come to that. Sometimes it is about physical strength, sometimes it’s skill and sometimes it all the pressure a rapist needs to exert is psychological. When you are faced with someone who can do you harm, who wants, in fact, to hurt you, and who has the ability, you to try to survive. For some reason, keeping hold of your handbag in a tussle with a mugger is considered foolish, while even the slightest indication that you didn’t fight tooth and nail not to be raped is interpreted as tacit consent.

Have a look at this page. About half way down you’ll find a passage in which women are advised to run from their potential rapist, even if he has a gun, because:

“POLICE only make 4 of 10 shots when they are in range of 3-9 feet. […] The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!”

Now tell me, next time someone points a gun at you, are you going to weigh the probabilities of taking a bullet somewhere vital and run for it? Me, I think I’d miss my chance while stuck on “arrrggghh, gun!” What if your assailant had a knife? What if he was just (and this is my experience) a big, strong man with martial arts training? Where, in that moment of panic, do you want to draw the line between self-preservation and acquiescence?

I have no trouble in believing that a pair of tight jeans could be removed by a determined rapist. That process is a lot easier for me to understand than the one which leads him to rape, and I’m not denying that as a possibility. My point is, though, that fixating on whether or not the jeans were ripped off is based on a flawed notion of how rape works. Even if he had stood up, walked to the other side of the room and quietly said “remove your jeans” it would still be rape if she didn’t consent. Abject terror is not consent.

I have to wonder how many items of clothing are left to women. Is it only coincidence that you’re asking for it if you’re skirt is too short, your neckline too low, your heels too high, and now, apparently, your jeans too tight? Excuse me, I have to change into something utterly shapeless in case someone works out that I’m a woman.


Written by Not an Odalisque

May 2, 2010 at 10:13 pm

3 Responses

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  1. While I fully agree a determined rapist can physically find a way to rip off any piece of clothing, I don’t think it should even be an issue in deciding whether a woman has been raped or not.

    If she willingly took off her jeans, that doesn’t mean she consented to sex. And what if it wasn’t willingly? What if she was coerced? What if pressed his forearm into her throat while “asking” her to take off her jeans?

    This reminds me of people saying if you ask your rapist to use a condom that you are consenting to sex. Geez, Louise.

    A.Y. Siu

    May 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

  2. May GOD Bless!!! Mark


    May 3, 2010 at 2:35 am

  3. Thank you for your comments. I’ve been pleased to note that I’m not the only one angry about this, judging by the reactions on feminist blogs.

    Mark, while I understand that some people feel God needs a helping hand to greatness with a bit of capitalisation, I think that even in his most tolerant incarnations he would object to multiple exclamation marks.


    May 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

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