When’s the last time you got a manicure that could also prevent date rape? The likely answer is never.
Four college students from North Carolina State University claim they’ve come up with a way to do just that. Ankesh Madan, Stephen Grey, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey, created a nail polish called “Undercover Colors” that changes color in when date rape drugs like Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid) are inside your drink.
To check if their has been any drugs slipped into your drink, all a woman has to stir it with her finger. Although, thats not exactly good manners or hygienic, it’s arguably more stylish than similar inventions, like the coasters, cups and straws, that do the same thing.
“We wanted to focus on preventive solutions, especially those that could be integrated into products that women already use, i’m sure many of us know someone who has been close to someone else who has been through the terrible experience of date rape, and we began to focus on finding a way to help prevent the crime.” Madan told higher education Works in June.
As interesting and cool this anti-roofie nail ploish sounds many critics say the clever concept and good intentions don’t add up to a product that actually empowers women.
Popular blog Feministing, pointed out that date rape drugs “are not used to facilitate sexual assault all that often. While exact estimates vary, it’s safe to say that plain old alcohol is the substance most commonly used in drug-facilitated rape.”
When you think about it, the Feministing blog may be right… I’m not agreeing with them but, they have a point. A lot of people roofie others drinks for terrible reasons, but alcohol is another common “drug” used for date rape. When girls go out and drink way to much, they seem to black out and not carry themselves as they usually would. Their morals and values seem to go right out the window. Date rape is a terrible thing and no girl deserves to go through that, but when girls exceeds past their aclohol limit and no longer have self control its inevetable to say that they won’t become a victim to date rape.
Well-intentioned products like anti-rape nail polish can actually end up fueling victim blaming, any college student who don’t use the special polish could open themselves up to criticism for failing to do everything in their power to prevent rape.
The nail polish is yet another item to add to a growing list of schemes-seeming precautions that includes anti-rape underwear and pepper spray cameras which do little more than “delude” women into believing they’re safe from sexual violence, Feministing observed.
Another problem with the polish is that it distracts the problem from the real solutions. “I think a lot of the time we get focused on these new products because they’re innovative and they’re interesting, and it’s really cool that they figured out how to create nail polish that does this. But at the end of the day, are you having those tough conversations with students, and particularly men, who are at risk for committing sexual assault?” Tracey Vitchers, the board chair for Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER), told ThinkProgress.
Nevertheless, others are eager about this idea. Earlier this year the four materials science and engineering majors won first place and took home $11,250 at NC State’s Lulu eGames, a student competition that which challenges students to design working solutions to real-world problems.
Something schools need to teach to students, males and females, about is the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries and understanding what it means to obtain consent. That is the first step to preventing date rape.