As far as inventions go, a nail polish that can detect date rape drugs might seem like a good idea. Sure in theory but lets break it down…
Your getting ready for a night on the town, you already have to decide what outfit in your closet is the least likely to attract unwanted attention because you know, clothes make a statement and you don’t want that statement to be “she was asking for it” (sarcasm). Your choice of clothes of course is just another tool in your belt of rape prevention. You did your hair, your make up and put the finishing touches on your nails – which now have super powers. However instead of going out and enjoying yourself, you spend the evening dipping your fingers in your drink (which is super hygienic btw) and performing in-depth analyses on whether or not your nails changed color.
By now you might be asking, what’s your problem Lacey? – we just want to arm people with tools that will keep them safe and what is the harm in that? Okay, I get that but I see some problems. First of all these super nails don’t react to all drugs so people could be lured into a false sense of security. Not to mention the fact that the “drug” of choice for most date rapists is alcohol, which people may be drinking more of now that they feel more comfortable accepting drinks from strangers- after all the nail polish told them it was safe. It’s also adding to a culture where the onus of rape prevention falls primarily on the victim. I can already hear the victim blaming, “Jane was drugged and raped? How sad but you know it was totally avoidable had she been wearing that nail polish”.
My first introduction to this product was on Laci Green’s facebook page and while she was merely pointing out that perhaps this “amazing new way to stop rape” was distracting from the bigger picture I found a lot of the comments were condescending. The suggestion that we can not stop people from raping so a product that proposes to prevent rape should not only not be questioned but celebrated became a reoccurring theme. Some how pointing out some of potential problems with this product and suggesting that our time would be better spent on preventing people from raping in the first place was deemed an attack on a persons right to protect his or her self.
I can not emphasis enough how untrue this is.
I am not nor have I ever been naïve enough to think that we will ever live in a world without rape so I am fully aware that in order to protect our sons and daughters we must first teach them to protect themselves. We have been doing this and will continue to do this until the end of time but this doesn’t change the fact the stats on rape are increasing and less and less survivors are coming forward because a solution that concentrates its main efforts teaching people to avoid being raped promotes victim blaming. Rather then spending time and energy on creating nail polish that may or may not prevent rape I feel our time would be better spent on educational programs that could potential stop someone from raping or creating more safe spaces for survivors so they can get the help they need from knowledgeable professionals. But that’s just me.