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College Students Invent Nail Polish as a Shield Against Rape

10 September 2014 No Comment

Laurel Street, social media director or Undercover Colors. Promo photo

By: KJ Mushung

Four male college students in North Carolina have reportedly invented a nail polish that changes color if it comes in contact with drugs commonly used to render a person helpless in order to rape him or her: Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.

The team is comprised of Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey-Maloney. The nail polish is called Undercover Colors, and its wearers are supposed to stir their drinks with a finger or two. It puts the wearer on alert if the nail polish changes color.

“Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught,” said the company on their Facebook page. “In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

Sounds like an amazing idea, right?

Surprisingly, there’s been a backlash against the product — from women.

Lindy West, a former writer for Jezebel, tweeted: “how about women don’t have to wear a special nail polish and dunk their fingers in every cocktail to not get raped.”

New York Times best-selling author Kelly Oxford tweeted: “This new nail polish that can detect the date rape drug is great if you think women aren’t trying hard enough not to get raped.” And: “We’ve been raised to place so much blame on victims, we don’t even realize how asinine this whole thing is. Men *can* control their dicks.”

After receiving some backlash, she tweeted: “Dear people comparing a woman being raped to leaving gold on your doorstep or your doors unlocked: ITS NEVER A WOMANS FAULT. END OF MESSAGE.”

Other women posted similar tweets. Many said women shouldn’t be responsible for preventing rape, men should. No one’s disagreeing that men shouldn’t rape women, but the fact is it happens. It’s clearly surprising to some on social media that taking measures to protect oneself from sexual assault has garnered so much anger. Like drinking and driving, it shouldn’t happen, but it does. So isn’t wearing a seat belt and driving defensively in a car with airbags wise? And if a nail polish could warn you that your drink has been tampered with, would you condemn it or celebrate it?

“It’s very hard to explain to men what it feels like to constantly be told ‘Do this so a man can’t hurt you,'” said Oxford.

Michael Houghton, a husband and father in Canada, tweeted: “If women started kicking men in the nuts, would our first reaction be, Stop kicking my nuts or Damn I should have worn a cup?”

On the F6S.com site where Undercover Colors is trying to raise funds, Michelle Alley posted: “I think this is an amazing idea and really hope it makes it to the stores to be purchased!! this should be included in gift bags to all college students : ) It’s a sad world we live in but it’s great seeing someone trying to help make it a little safer for ladies to go out with the tools to identify the date rape drug!”

If it works.

According to an article on Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan reports that a pharmaceutical expert claims that the nail polish won’t actually work. But the supposed expert is unnamed, listed only as “Backdoor Pharmacist” on AnimalNewYork.com and referred to as “s/he.” Not exactly a respected source like the CDC or FDA.

Whether the nail polish works or not, experts agree the most common date rape drug is alcohol.

The inventors of Undercover Colors: Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey-Maloney. Promo photo

By: KJ Mushung

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