Can a nail polish end date rape?

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

PAIGE LISTON | | Opinion Columnist

Four men from North Carolina State University invented a nail polish that detects date rape drugs in drinks.

The inventors say that “Undercover Colors” will ultimately end drug-facilitated sexual assault.

The nail polish shows the presence of date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB, by changing color after the person wearing the nail polish dips her finger in the drink.

Although this product may seem like a good idea, it begs the question of whether or not a date rape detector is actually reinforcing rape culture in our society.

Bekah Pollard, a member of Demia, a feminist organization on Butler’s campus and a gender, women, and sexuality studies minor, said she thinks the nail polish is promoting rape culture.

“The nail polish is putting the pressure on whoever wears the polish to not get raped when that is the exact opposite of what should be happening,” Pollard said. “It is placing emphasis on the possible victim versus teaching people not to rape.”

The nail polish may make women feel safer when they go out for the night, but I think it is horrible that this product even needs to exist.

Undercover Colors’ slogan is “The First Fashion Company Empowering Women to Prevent Sexual Assault.”

I do not agree with this statement.

By having to remember to put on the nail polish in the first place, women are essentially preparing themselves to be faced with a drugged drink.

In reference to the slogan, Pollard said she strongly disagrees with its claim to “empower women.”

“As a woman or even as a person in general,” Pollard said, “you should not have to be on high alert for someone to attack you every time you leave the house.”

The problem is not that women are ill-prepared in detecting date rape drugs; the problem is that people are drugging drinks in the first place.

In a Newsweek article, Katie Russell, a spokeswoman from Rape Crisis England & Wales said, although the idea means well, Rape Crisis does not support the new product.

“Rape Crisis does not endorse or promote such a product or anything similar,” she said. “This is for three reasons: It implies that it’s the woman’s fault and assumes responsibility on her behalf, and detracts from the real issues that arise from sexual violence.”

A prevention product like “Undercover Colors” makes people feel they have to avoid sexual violence because it is inevitable, rather than discouraging rape and sexual violence as a whole.

The product has good intentions, but it seems to unintentionally place the responsibility on the person wearing the nail polish, the possible rape victim. The responsibility should be placed on the person drugging the drink in the first place.