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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rape Nail Polish

Everyone's talking about this, so I'll say something too.

Most of the links when I searched this were very critical of this new product, accusing the creators of putting the blame on the victims, how dare them, etc. I definitely agree the victims of rape are not to be blamed. No question there. The perpetrators are criminals and something should be done to change that attitude or culture that makes men think rape is ok or that women ask for it in the way they dress and things like that.

I think some things are being overlooked in this aggressive opposition though. We aren't going to eradicate rape. That's as silly as a war or drugs or terrorism. It will always be the case that people 
do bad things, break the law, violate the rights of others. And, yes, we should work to stop that from happening, but during that rather slow process, we shouldn't make it seem like any attempt by a potential victim to protect themselves is wrong. The nail polish is just one more thing to put more power in the hands of the victims- at least that's how I looked at it- like learning self defense or carrying pepper spray. 

We can talk about how impractical it is- just let me stir my drink with my finger vigorously for approximately 30 seconds (or whatever the instructions happen to be) and then I can accept this drink you bought me- or I can check your drink for roofees, just let me stick my finger in your drink and stir it around some, of course I washed my hands after using the bathroom. But I don't think inventing things women can do to try and stay safe while they wait on the culture to change or all criminals to stop committing crimes is putting the blame on them.

Not to mention these are 4 college kids, undergrads maybe, so the fact that they did this is actually pretty cool. Just the fact that they invented it is newsworthy. And it's my alma mater. In the article I reference above, they even say

“We hope this future product will be able to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators, creating a risk that they might actually start to get caught,” co-founder Tyler Confrey-Maloney explained on Wednesday in a Facebook post.

So I don't really think a charge of victim blaming is really warranted. Anything that women can do to try and prevent this from happening to them I see as a good thing. The effectiveness and practicality are another matter. . . Some will say my cautious approval of this new tool is similar to me saying women should be paranoid about how they walk and dress lest they bring rape on themselves. That is going to the extreme, reductio ad absurdum. I'm saying use common sense, use the tools available to you and crime will always exist. The fault is always the rapists', yes, but if I see a possibility to do something to stop that from happening, I'll try it. It doesn't mean it's my fault if my effort fails or if I can't do anything about it.

That said, I probably wouldn't use it- it seems rather clunky and awkward, but if people want to, go for it. I think it would be fantastic if rapists were more afraid of being caught. If the nail polish helps with that, awesome. The laws really aren't doing that effectively either.

And I should mention again that these are college kids who designed something to use their new chemistry skills to try and solve a real world problem, something generally advocated in colleges. Maybe it solves nothing, but you have to at least try different things before you create something useful.

Note: My computer is possessed currently and insists on deleting furiously when I edit. I think I fixed this post, but am not sure if I found everything.

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