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Image from Buzzfeed.

By now, most people have read the latest viral article about a new nail polish that claims to detect common date rape drugs. The varnish, branded Undercover Color, changes colors when in contact with a drink that indicates the presence of common date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB. Invented at North Carolina State University by a group of four male undergraduates, the project has sparked a lot of controversy. Let’s be real though… everything on the Internet sparks controversy.

Many people refuse to support a product that, in their eyes, implies that sexual assault is the responsibility of a the victim. In this case, due to the nature of the product, we are discussing women. History shows that discussion of rape culture always comes back to the woman. “What was she wearing? How much did she have to drink?” Short skirts don’t rape. Rapists do. So many people are frustrated with this new polish because it assumes women have the control. “Well did she use her special nail polish?” I am similarly passionate about the issue of rape culture, but in my eyes, prevention is always beneficial.

Image from The Guardian Angel.

Image from The Guardian Angel.

This product has the potential to save someone from a traumatic and dangerous situation—or simply ease their worries when they go out. Progress is slow and, unfortunately, we live in a society where products like this may still be useful. Oh and “products” refers to a wide variety of sexual safety “tools” that range from ridiculous to potentially useful. There’s the Guardian angel necklace, which fakes a phone call at the press of a button to provide a distraction. There’s even a tampon that has a blade inside to stab a man who attempts to rape a woman. The more outlandish products I see, the more disheartened I am by rape culture and the sexual objectification of women. This is exactly why people backlashed against the anti-date rape nail polish. They’ve had enough. They want long-term results, rather than these temporary “solutions” that only distract from the real issues and causes.

Another problem that the nail polish poses is that it perpetuates the stereotype that only women are rape victims. The reality is that 1 in 10 rape victims are male—a statistic that surprises most people. We cannot continue to let these male victims feel alone and unsupported. While Undercover Color is advertised as subtle (perhaps for this reason), it is clear that women are the target market for this product—and most rape prevention products. Nonetheless, this does not diminish the fact that there is still large population of females that could potentially benefit from the polish.

At the end of the day, this product is really no different than pepper spray—well, this would be legal. The bottom line is that people should not have to worry about their sexual safety, but they do. While I understand the problematic implications of the anti-date rape nail polish, I believe that providing potential victims a tool to beware of a dangerous situation is always a good idea—even if it were only to help one person.



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the author

Jasmyn Chacko, a freshman at Syracuse University, is equally nervous and excited to be a new member of The Prospect's writing staff. This position is absolutely perfect for her since she loves quirky and informal writing, as well as the college admissions process. Say what? Yup, she loves it. As crazy as it sounds, her inner teacher fantasizes about correcting personal essays and supplements. Jasmyn studies English, Spanish, and Education with strong interests in Gender Studies and ESL Education. On campus, she's a member of the dance team and the cast of the Vagina Monologues and in her free time, she fails to resist eating candy and takes naps. She hopes her articles provide advice, a break from work, and excitement regarding the future.

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