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The Skinny on Sexual Assault

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Here at CollegeCandy, we often take on topics like entertainment, beauty, and fashion. But every once in awhile, we share things that might otherwise fly under the radar, things that aren’t necessarily fun to talk about but that we as young women need to know.

As college women, sexual assault is a frighteningly real issue on many of our campuses. So when I saw this story, I was pretty outraged. To catch you up to speed, an Australian jury just acquitted a young man of rape because the victim was wearing skinny jeans. Yes, skinny jeans. According to the jury, it wouldn’t be possible for the young man to remove the victim’s jeans without “collaboration,” so he must not be guilty.

I think it’s safe to say that if this young woman said she was raped, if she felt the sex was not consensual, it doesn’t matter who removed her jeans. Let’s say the alleged rapist and his victim “collaborated” to take her pants off. That fact alone does not prove that rape did not occur. Any situation in which one party feels that sexual contact was not consensual is, by definition, sexual assault. Even if she helped take her pants off. Even if she took them off all by herself.

I know there are women (and men, too) who have cried wolf about rape and sexual assault in the past. But people who lead us to believe that sexual assault isn’t a big deal are ignoring the statistics, which show that as many as one in four college women are victims of sexual assault at least once during their college years.

This young woman clearly felt that the sex was not consensual, and for that reason, she is not at fault. Even if she had been drinking. Even if she chose to go home with someone. Even if she was wearing skinny jeans.

What do you guys think? Is there any situation where this young woman could be at fault? At what point is sex consensual?

COLLEGECANDY Writer
When I was 12, my mother asked me not to run in public. “It’s embarrassing,” she said. “There’s something about the way you run that’s just…weird.” Once I started college, my friends quickly diagnosed my problem: I run like a dinosaur. When I'm not being hopelessly awkward, I can usually be found wrapped in my Snuggie, watching Glee and obsessively live-tweeting my life. Feel free to follow me at twitter.com/norahcarroll. :)