My Issue with the Date Rape Detecting Nail Polish

When I first read about the nail polish that the NC State students are developing to help detect date rape drugs, my initial thought wasn’t “Oh, this is great!” No – while the intention behind the potential product is a good one, it still perpetuates the number one problem with rape culture: It puts the responsibility of not getting attacked on the potential victims.

Look – I have no problem with the guys who are developing this product. They’re trying to raise awareness and that’s great. They want to help keep women safe. That’s fantastic. They want to deter the criminals – that’s a noble idea. On their Facebook page, they state that 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. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

The issue is that products like these are, at times, the equivalent of putting our problems in the closet and hope that no one notices. It’s just the latest addition to the growing list of things that women need to do to prevent rape – along with getting married, wearing more clothing, and essentially to stop asking for it.

The conversation shouldn’t revolve around victim blaming and how the potential victims can protect themselves. The conversation needs to be around consent.

Though the intention behind these kind of products is inherently good, they become just one more way to blame the victim. I can see the commentary now. “If only she had remembered to wear her GHB detecting nail polish and swirled her finger in her drink – then she would’ve been safe. Never mind that she shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place. And did you see what she was wearing?”

Let’s get real, shall we?

“I think that anything that can help reduce sexual violence from happening is, in some ways, a really good thing,” Tracey Vitchers, the board chair for Students Active For Ending Rape(SAFER), told ThinkProgress. “But I think we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women.”

The problem doesn’t end when a woman figures out that there’s a roofie in her drink. The problem ends when people stop putting roofies in our drinks in the first place.

consent-condoms-638x477Credit: Say It With a Condom


It’s time to make a change

The following is a post sponsored by Yahoo! Every time someone clicks here to make Yahoo! their homepage, they’re showing their support for Girls For A Change.

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.


Eating disorders.

Teen Moms.

It’s not easy for a young girl to be empowered these days. If they don’t have the guidance, they can get lost.

Which is why it’s great that there are organizations like Girls For A Change (GFC) around whose mission is to empower girls to create social change.

And boy, do we need some social change.

Some of us, in our 20s, are having trouble finding our voice, and feel in limbo at times. Some of us experience QLCs. Some of us just barely make the right decisions for our own lives, let alone extend our energy for making an impact on the world around us.

Which is why it’s important that the next generation of girls need to have that guidance from an early start.

“We envision a world where girls with strong voices become active leaders and passionately engaged citizens, impacting not only their own neighborhoods but also their nations as girls become informed and participating citizens in their civic, political and cultural communities. By connecting them with adult women trained to serve as volunteer coaches, girls develop trusted relationships with powerful role models for civic engagement while women become strong advocates for girls and their neighborhoods.”

GFC has a few programs, including Girl Action Teams, Change Your World Trainings, New Girls Network and the GFC Action Network.

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