With nearly 1 in 5 U.S. women facing sexual assault in their lifetime, it's clear that action needs to be taken. While there are numerous outreach, awareness and education programs designed to teach women how to protect themselves from an attack and how to recover if one happens, the problem still runs rampant.
Four college students from North Carolina State University have developed a product that may prevent certain instances of date rape, and which could soon be available in your bathroom cabinet. Ankesh Madan, Tasso Von Windheim, Tyler Confrey-Maloney and Stephan Gray founded their nail polish line, Undercover Colors as a way to help combat the date rape epidemic.
Undercover Colors are applied just like any other nail polish; just skip the top coat. When a woman goes out with her friends to a bar, restaurant or party, she simply dips one of her fingers in her drink. A chemical in the polish will react to the presence of Rohypnol, Xanax or GHB -- all commonly used date rape drugs -- by changing color.
Why It's Different
Previous products designed to prevent date rape, which included coasters and and paper strips, are a little more conspicuous to use. But a woman could very casually dip a finger in her drink before tasting, and unless the drink changes color, no one would be the wiser. And if it does change color? Well, then it's time to leave.
- The first thing most nay-sayers say is that the product's use is unsanitary. But while dipping a finger in your drink may not seem too appetizing, we're willing to bet most women would get over thier germophobia in order to prevent a potentially dangerous situation.
- Another valid point is that the polish may address the fallout of the date rape issue without actually providing education on the dangers of sexual assault. Women may rely too much on their manicures and not enough on being aware of their surroundings.
- An interesting concept some cited is that the use or non-use of Undercover Colors may make women a target of victim-blaming. If a woman chooses not to use the polish and becomes the victim of date rape, one could (unfairly) argue that she did not do "everything in her power" to prevent the assault.
- And what about the men? While women are in the majority when it comes to being victims of sexual assault, men are routinely targeted as well. Unfortunately, even a clear polish may be a hard sell when it comes to educating men in preventing sexual assualt.
Whichever side of the fence you are on, any development being made to prevent crimes against women (or men) is a step in the right direction.
You can lea more about Undercover Colors on their Facebook page