I stumbled on an interesting indiegogo campaign this evening. It was for underwear that makes it difficult for a woman to be raped. As I said, interesting. I can see the appeal, but also several difficulties.
I can’t argue against a simple tool that reduces the risk of rape. Who can? The only people responsible for rape are the rapists, but if a piece of clothing can reduce the risk so much, it can be peace of mind for many women. I worry that it could be added to the arsenal of ‘things you should have done to not get raped’ that’s shot at rape victims.
Of course, this isn’t going to do a lot to prevent the most prevalent kind of rape – the kind that happens with people close to you. Unless you wear anti-rape pants all day every day, there will be times when you will be vulnerable. Those times are often going to be when you’re with people you trust – and those people can and do break your trust. So, the system’s not foolproof, but it can reduce the likelihood of completed rape in cases of stranger rape, drunken or drug-me-in-a-bar-and-have-your-way rape.
I see a slight technical difficulty when it comes to using the pants in a drinking setting. You have to pee, rather a lot, when you’re drinking. And as you get drunker, your motor skills deteriorate. One fiddly apparatus, one very drunk young woman, and one very full bladder have great potential to end in disaster.
The design looks like it will work very well on slim women, but I do wonder if they’ve considered the body shape of the larger woman – ones who don’t have a nice slim waist to cinch the waistband around. I do hope that they haven’t been overlooked because they don’t fit the ideal body type, or worse, been deemed un-rape-worthy. Rapists aren’t all that picky.
There’s also the consideration of what happens in an emergency setting. These pants have been designed to be hard to get into, and that could be a problem if you’re in an accident of some kind and are unable to use the release switch.
Pricing will also be interesting. Will it sell at a price point that makes it available to everyone, or will it end up being a tool for girls with means?
One application I think this would be perfect for is women who have already been violated. It could give them a feeling of safety and the ability to be able to control their world a bit.
So, it’s an interesting project, and I think that it has many hurdles to clear before it can be considered a success. I suspect that this innovative project may end up failing due to these or other problems. At best, I see a niche market for it. But good on them if they prove me wrong.