Friday, December 13, 2013

Making Joke Of Rape?

Rape-preventing panties - a bad joke?
No, a NY clothing company is about to launch 'em.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that AR Wear is pitching its product as "a clothing line offering wearable protection for when things go wrong".
Its brief says: "Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world." But it goes on to say: "We developed this product so that women and girls could have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault. We...offer some peace of mind in situations that cause feelings of apprehension, such as going out on a blind date, taking an evening run, clubbing, travelling in unfamiliar countries, and any other activity that might make one anxious about the possibility of an assault."
Only black men rape???!!!
Now that's all wonderfully commendable. But wait! In its promotional video, there's disturbing (for all the wrong reasons) footage of girls walking past an African-American man while the voice-over talks of "risky situations". Yeup, really!
We then see a cutesy clip of a model checking herself out in the mirror while wearing the hot pants-style sex-stopper, which has adjustable lockable bands around waist and legs (the locks are coded clock hands which the wearer sets to her own unique combination).
The clip then shows the girl out clubbing, followed by someone trying to scissor and then slice through the pants with a knife. According AR Wear, the pants have an "innovative skeletal structure which allows them to remain soft" but means they are cut-and-tear-resistant.
Not surprisingly, the pants have been ridiculed...
One site quips: "The perfect Xmas gift for the lady in your life."
And: "If the whole that an evil rapist can't take them off, is it going to take me a really long time to undo all the secret locks if I have to pee?"
Others point out that a victim may be forced to remove the clothing herself by threat of bodily harm.
This most recent anti-rape venture is certainly not the first. There was the Rape-aXe (inserted by the woman like a tampon, and comprises a latex sheath containing "razor-sharp barbs"). There were also "electric-shock" undies developed earlier this year.
Rape statistics globally are shocking. But despite the best intentions of anti-rape product developers, I wonder if there's a real risk of turning a very serious issue into a very big commercial joke...

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