"The way you dress does not mean yes"


"My godfather used to work for an international NGO, which was one of the reasons I looked up to him as a child. Justice has always been a key word for me.
Once I knew that I wanted a future in which I would produce textile and clothing, I had to make a long journey to better inform myself.
Finding out about the human rights violations that are abundant in (but not exclusive to) the textile sector stunned me.

When you produce something, you are responsible for your choices.
Eventually I found a production procedure that I can stand behind and that keeps evolving with new knowledge and experiences, in part to support the well-being of the producing and consuming person.

A few years after the start of my label, I had a growing awareness of sexuality, gender, sexism, ...
I’m living in a man's world. I have many male examples and dear male friends and for a long time I was aware of no harm. Of course, I'm not afraid to speak my mind and I can “stand my man”, the literal translation of a Dutch expression which means you can stand your ground. These words are problematic. Why do we say it this way? “Stand my man”: I am a woman.

For me, this form of active awareness is fairly new and has pushed me to explore even more. What is sexism? What is gender discrimination? What is sexual violence? Which stereotypes exist, how do they affect people and how do they show up in our clothing?

I find it self-evident that everyone should be able to feel safe wherever and however they are, and that everyone should have the same freedom to choose what they wear.

When Amnesty and I decided to produce a T-shirt to support the fight against sexual violence, a fight for human rights, under the banner "The way we dress does not mean yes!", I felt honored and started without hesitation."

"Sexual violence happens here and now, every day. It happens in the living room, at work, in a student dorm. The perpetrator is often a friend, a family member, a (former) partner. Anyone can become a victim, regardless of age, gender or origin, regardless of where someone is or what that person was wearing at the time. Sex without consent is rape and only the perpetrator is responsible.
Sexual violence in Belgium is a pressing human rights issue that requires a decisive and coordinated approach at all policy levels. Amnesty International is therefore campaigning to call on the Belgian governments to make the fight against sexual violence a top priority. Every victim is one too many, as is every unsanctioned perpetrator.

To this end, Amnesty launched a petition with specific demands that everyone can sign, so that we can make our voices against sexual violence be heard. In addition, Amnesty invests in awareness raising, trying to break dangerous stereotypes.

Share this message: Buy the shirt in support of Amnesty and share a selfie with #TheWayWeDressDoesNotMeanYes . ''

NL - ENG translation : Tom Gijssels

© Minne Bezuijen 2021