New Nail Polish Detects Presence of Date-Rape Drugs in Drinks

Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 09:16 AM

By Andrea Billups

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An invention created by four male college students is now helping women use an easy and fashionable "test" to alert them to the presence of date-rape drugs in their drinks.

The new Undercover Colors nail polish is designed to turn a different color if a wearer stirs a drink with their fingers and a date-rape drug is detected, USA Today reports.

The undergraduate students at North Carolina State University are currently raising money to support their nail polish prototype and are seeking investors. They won the Lulu eGames offered by their school's Entrepreneurship Initiative, which honors students who create solutions to "real-world problems," USA Today reported.

The young inventors' company bills itself as the "First Fashion Company Empowering Women to Prevent Sexual Assault," National Review Online reported. They say on the product's Facebook page: "Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught."

The Review added that the brand had received some criticism from feminist activists who argue it puts responsibility on the wrong person.

"I don’t want to ... test my drink when I’m at the bar," said Rebecca Nagle, co-director of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. "That’s not the world I want to live in."

The website Think Progress also bemoaned the thinking behind the nail polish, noting that it was well-intentioned but could put the blame on victims.

"One of the ways that rape is used as a tool to control people is by limiting their behavior,"  Nagle told Think Progress. "As a woman, I’m told not to go out alone at night, to watch my drink, to do all of these things. That way, rape isn’t just controlling me while I’m actually being assaulted — it controls me 24/7 because it limits my behavior. Solutions like these actually just recreate that."

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), about two-thirds of all reported sexual assaults are "committed by someone known to the victims," and about 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

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