Lennon, T.L., S.J. Lennon, and K.K.P. Johnson. 1993/1995. “Is Clothing Probative of Attitude or Intent? Implications for Rape and Sexual Harassment Cases.”

 

Lennon, Theresa L., Sharron J. Lennon, and Kim K.P. Johnson. 1995. “Is Clothing Probative of Attitude or Intent? Implications for Rape and Sexual Harassment Cases.” Pp.  209-217 in Dress and Identity, edited by Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins, Joanne B. Eicher, and Kim K.P. Johnson. New York: Fairchild Publications.

Originally printed as:

Lennon, Theresa L., Sharron J. Lennon, and Kim K.P. Johnson. 1993. “Is Clothing Probative of Attitude or Intent? Implications for Rape and Sexual Harassment Cases.” Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 9 (2 – June): 391-415.

Clothing is frequently brought up in legislative trials to justify the perpetration of sexual violence-  although few studies examine the frequency of this trend.

“Federal and most state statutes do not explicitly address the admissibility of clothing of  rape or sexual assault complainant as evidence. In these jurisdictions, if such evidence were introducted, it would be admitted pursuant to the governing rules of evidence” (210) – similar for sexual harassment.

Though provocative clothing is frequently interpreted as a signal of consent, these are interpreted signals – which may/may not convey the senders’ actual intent.  Thus, clothing should not be used as a means of “inferring consent,” despite many judges stereotypical beliefs (and longlasting implications of non-address) that would communicate such.

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