Soraya Chemaly doesn’t want to have to stick her fingers in her drink to avoid being raped.
Every few months, a new product to help women avoid rape hits the market. This week’s is an innovative new nail polish that can identify the presence of drugs when dipped in a drink.
But the commonest rape drug is alcohol, so that’s a very limited fix. Besides, hygiene.
I don’t want to dip my nails into a drink. Or stop wearing my hair in a ponytail. Or start wearing hairy tights. Before I die, I’d like to not have toask a man to walk me home at night. Cool new nail polish is just the latest in way for us to adapt to rape.
Instead we should be changing the world.
Every time we focus on making girls and women individually responsible for avoiding rape, we lose the opportunity to address the systemic root problem that our mainstream culture grows rapists like weeds. Despite my snark, I do understand the need to balance safety with change. I don’t doubt the good intentions of the inventors of these products, but their true value resides less in their questionable efficacy than in the fact that young men like the creators of this one are engaged in confronting rape culture. However, each and every instance of “how to avoid rape” that media takes up is one less instance of explaining rape and reducing its pervasive threat.
Systemic problems need systemic solutions.