10/29/2013

The Problem with "Anti-Rape" Wear

[Warning for a graphic depiction of sexual violence]

Before you read the article, make sure you watch this 



In short, they are selling underwear which can only be taken off by the wearer, and is resistant to pulling, cutting, etc..

There are many problems with this concept, so I will not go into a detailed dissection. Instead, I will give some bullet points as to what jumped out at me first, what jumped out at some friends of mine who I discussed this with, and what I feel about the actual item.
  • This item is addressing the wrong person. It's playing into victim-blaming, taking the tone that if the person had been wearing this, a rape might not have occured.
  • A person can be forced to remove their clothing by themselves, either through psychological pressure or threats of violence - this item cannot prevent that from happening.
  • It is also perpetuating the myth that resistence must occur in order for a rape to count as such, and alienates rape survivors who might not have put up a fight.
Reactions from friends

G: 
  • I find anything which is like 'you can prevent yourself being raped by x,y,z' slightly problematic.
  • I can imagine though in areas where rape is so common you'd need those clothes would be in an LEDC who wouldn't be able to afford them anyways.
E:
  • Pull a knife and job done
  • This responds to the whole logic of consume and everything will be ok
  • It is a way of avoiding dealing with the actual problem, which is social and cultural and psychological.
M:
  • I doubt its as effective as it says and it only accounts for people who are skinny.
M:
  • A person could be made to take it off. There are countless accounts of rape where a person was compliant and not physically resisted for whatever reason - fear being a big one. That's before you get into violence.
  • Imagine a smack in the face every time you were asked and didn't take it off. You might not get raped, but you might get some bones broke.
T:  
  • It's kind of a good idea, it's a shame that people think this is necessary though, really shows what our society is becoming and it still won't stop women being assaulted.

Some of the people I discussed this with thought that this seems like a good idea. The general tone seems to be that it is better than nothing. Some of the women I asked said they wouldn't buy it themselves because they didnt think they were at risk of getting raped, mainly because they stayed out of dangerous areas.

Having spoken to those who feel like the underwear is a good idea, I see even more problems with it. It reinforces the concept of rape occuring in unknown dangerous areas, when statistically, the actual danger is much more close to home. It is (again) placing responsibility on the victim for having been at the wrong place at the wrong time, behaving in a certain way.

I think the only case this could potentially be effective, is if the victim was drugged, and could not remove her underwear due to being unconscious - though sexual assault is not restricted to vaginal and anal penetration. The rapist(s) would then probably find another person to attack, because they are the ones who are the problem - not the women who weren't wearing protective underwear.

If I actually wore this underwear, I think my paranoia would increase, because I would be being reminded throughout the entire time I'm wearing it that I have actively spent money to not be raped, and that the danger is essencially everywhere and it is up to me to not get sexually assaulted, even though it is completely out of my control.

What do you think about "Anti-Rape" wear?

If a detailed dissection is more your cup of tea, then here is an article you might find interesing:


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