A Roundup of “Anti-Rape” Products

Content Notice for Sexual Violence. For a more serious take, Miri said it quite well.

Despite all the fuss being made over the so-called “anti-rape nail polish” that recently won a grant, there have been many products allegedly designed to prevent rape and sexual assault on the market over the years.

Name: AR Wear
Type: a prototype for tamper-proof underwear
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: studies that don’t actually say anything about restrictive clothing
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: n/a, since the product isn’t out yet
Creators:  2 women
Daily Life Interference Level: high. I can’t imagine it would be easy to go to the bathroom or get undressed for any reason.

Name: SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment)
Type: electric shock-delivering lingerie
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: anecdotal claim that rapes begin with an attack on a woman’s breasts
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, since the product doesn’t seem to have been released
Creators: 2 young women
Daily Life Interference Level: high. I can’t be the only woman who absentmindedly adjusts her cleavage on occasion.

Name: dubbed a “reverse chastity belt
Type: difficult-to-open belt buckle
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none
Creators: 1 young woman
Daily Life Interference Level: medium — if sober and able-bodied.

Name: dubbed “anti-molestation jacket
Type: jacket capable of administering electric shocks
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, since the product hasn’t been released
Creators: 2 young men
Daily Life Interference Level: see SHE

Name: Rape-aXe
Type: barbed latex device designed for vaginal insertion
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, despite having been on the market for a while
Creators: a woman
Daily Life Interference Level: medium. having to insert something into your vagina every day and wear it would be cumbersome and expensive.

Name: Undercover Colors
Type: nail polish that detects a few of the so-called “date rape drugs” that are rarely used in sexual assault
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, since it’s not out yet
Creators: 4 men
Daily Life Interference Level: medium. wearing and keeping on nail polish isn’t too hard, but remembering to stir all of your drinks with your fingertips is.

Name: 2 Love My Lips
Type: lip gloss that detects a few of the so-called “date rape drugs” that are rarely used in sexual assault
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, despite being out for a while
Creators: 2 women
Daily Life Interference Level: high. limiting your cosmetics only to a limited range, being required to wear cosmetics, and having to reapply and check every drink is very inconvenient.

Name: Drink Safe Technologies
Type: coaster that detects a few of the so-called “date rape drugs” that are rarely used in sexual assault
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, despite being out for a while
Creators: a man
Daily Life Interference Level: medium. you’d have to order and carry around your own coasters.

Name: Drink Savvy
Type: drinkware that detects a few of the so-called “date rape drugs” that are rarely used in sexual assault
Evidence Cited of Potential Efficacy: none
Evidence Produced of Actual Efficacy: none, since it’s not out yet
Creators: a man
Daily Life Interference Level: high. you’d have to order and carry around your own drinkware, which isn’t very convenient or discreet.

Conclusions

  • Male inventors seem far more concerned about so-called “date rape drugs” than female inventors are, maybe because said drugs actually aren’t that big of a problem.
  • All of these products require women to spend their own money in the hopes of some limited protection against certain forms of sexual assault.
  • There is one program that demonstrably reduced rates of sexual assault, and it wasn’t aimed at women. At all.
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A Roundup of “Anti-Rape” Products
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5 thoughts on “A Roundup of “Anti-Rape” Products

  1. 2

    “Male inventors seem far more concerned about so-called “date rape drugs” than female inventors are, maybe because said drugs actually aren’t that big of a problem.”

    I think it’s unfair to imply that male inventors of rape prevention techniques are focusing on them because they “aren’t that big of a problem”.

    That said, based on at least these I agree the date-prevention product market seems marked largely by no overall evidence of efficacy. I’m a little surprised there’s not even any potential efficacy evidence (especially since for the one that you DID list, it’s just one pretty dubious claim). Surely the inventors must make some kind of claim as to their effect? Do the inventors of the date rape drug detectors even give evidence that their product actually can detect the drugs claimed?

    1. 2.1

      I think it’s unfair to imply that male inventors of rape prevention techniques are focusing on them because they “aren’t that big of a problem”.

      That isn’t what I meant. What I meant to say is that they, as men, clearly do not have that great of an understanding as to what the actual problems are. They assume that “date rape drugs” are a huge problem when they clearly are not, a mistake that it seems female inventors of such products are far less likely to make. I didn’t mean to say that they chose to focus on ineffectual things because they are ineffectual, but instead that they probably never even bothered to consider that what they think is The Problem isn’t even close to being the case.

      I think the inventors do test to see if their products can detect the drugs, but that they assume — and rightly — that most people will see the benefits of the product. We live in a society that teaches almost all women “rape prevention tips” that have little to do with how sexual assault actually works in the real world. This is just an extension of that.

  2. 3

    I’m not sure what the gender of the makers of any products has to do with anything, It seems like this is a response and following with the whole anger against those fingernails. The slogan of .. “why do i have to do ____ to avoid being raped”.. now i am a boy and have only ever been statutory raped and seduced which is certainly not anything comparable. but ive also never raped anyone.. and so maybe i have a bad starting point for mindset of addressing this issue but

    Rapists are criminals. when i see someone write why do i have to do safegaurd x to prevent crime y. it automatically makes me think .. why do i have to lock my doors when i leave my car unattended for any duration of time.. which really boils down to the question why is there crime/why are their criminals. and then because of the subject matter i feel like a jerk. because social paradigms of liberalism dictate that I be on board with this.

    1. 3.1

      First of all, I’m sorry that you were sexually assaulted. Not taking the sexual assault of men is a big problem and one in which I do not participate. Moving on from that, I would agree that you have a bad starting point and mindset for addressing rape, but that it has little to do with your experiences with sexual assault. My issues with your argument:

      1. The gender of the makers of a product has a clear correlation with the type of product it is. Look at the information I’ve presented. Male inventors seem preoccupied with the idea that femme women need protection from “date rape drugs” despite the fact that no statistics verify their belief that such drugs are a widespread problem in the slightest. It goes against the facts to think that helping people to detect drugs in their drinks is a very helpful strategy against rape.
      2. The way you say “rapists are criminals” suggests to me that you think of rapists as this evil, monstrous group. Rapists are not some special class of people that exists outside of the regular paradigm of human beings. Most rapes occur with the perpetrator being a known person to the victim, not some scary stranger who accosts them.
      3. By comparing rape to a theft, you are literally reducing women to objects. The comparison is a faulty one, anyway. As Miri said in her excellent post about the matter (which I highly recommend you read), “How do you ‘lock up’ a human being? Seriously, what do you expect me to do? Wear a device that ‘locks up’ my vagina? But sexual assault can happen without a vagina involved, and it can happen to people without vaginas. Lock myself inside and never go outside? Walk around in an armored body suit that requires a passcode to remove?”
      4. Even if we were to agree that women are property like cars and houses (which is disgusting and dehumanizing), nail polish won’t help. Why? According to the facts I presented in the piece, “date-rape drugs” are not that big of a problem. They do not play a role in the staggering majority of rapes. As a precautionary measure, detecting such drugs is simply ineffective as per the facts.

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