Models prepare backstage during New York Fashion Week on Feb. 16, 2012.
Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Avoid date rape; get a manicure?

Updated

Turns out, a manicure could save your life.

In the coming months you may be seeing a few more girls swirling their fingers around their drinks this school year thanks to a new nail polish that changes colors when it comes in contact with drugs such as Xanax, GHB, and Rohynpnol that are commonly used to drug women.

Four college students from North Carolina State University have formed the polish brand Undercover Colors in an effort to empower women against sexual assault. Women will “know something is wrong” when they stir their polished fingers in their drink and the nail color changes. The goal of this project, as the four male founders describe it, is: “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.”

“All of us have been close to someone who has been through the terrible experience,” Ankash Madan told Higher Education Works. This commonality of experience motivated the men to make the product. Undercover Colors has yet to announce a release date as they are awaiting funding for their product. 

This nail polish is a good thing. Progress we can definitely get behind.

However. Yes, however, according to National Institute of Justice survey, less than 3% of sexually assaulted college females were victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault. Meaning that of the almost one in five women that the Undercover Polish page mentions, a very small portion of them are sexually assaulted due to being slipped something. And as Feministing so eloquently questions: “Are you at all worried that by overstating the prevalence of date rape drugs, your product might give its users, who are no less likely to become victims of other kinds of sexual assault, a false sense of security?”

As much as this innovation is a positive development for helping women avoid drug-assisted sexual violence, assault, and rape, Undercover Colors treats a symptom of the larger problem. We should, of course, take these opportunities to help more women keep themselves safe, but we can also not forget that the burden is not theirs to bear in the first place. The true solution to America’s college rape culture is not teaching women how to skirt sexual assault; it’s to teach men and boys not to rape.

So definitely paint those paws this semester, ladies. Just maybe still don’t put your drink down.

 

Sexual Assault

Avoid date rape; get a manicure?

Updated