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Getting medieval on rape prevention?

Getting medieval on rape prevention?

Aniti-rape underpants

It’s a chastity belt. No, really:

ARWEAR from ARWEAR on Vimeo.

This isn’t the “vagina dentata” internal spiked thing you’ve heard about, but in some ways it is no less cringeworthy:

We developed this product so that women and girls could have more power to control the outcome of a sexual assault. We wanted to 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”, traveling in unfamiliar countries, and any other activity that might make one anxious about the possibility of an assault.
We believe that the tools of self-defense currently available are not effective in many common settings of sexual assault. Training in martial arts or products such as pepper spray, tear gas, stun guns, etc. can only help if the potential victim is extremely alert and bold when an attack occurs. Worse still, products of self-defense can be taken from the victim and used against her.
We read studies reviewing the statistics of resisting assault, whether by forceful or non-forceful means. We learned that resistance increases the chance of avoiding a completed rape without making the victim more likely to be physically injured. We concluded that an item of clothing that creates an effective barrier layer can allow women and girls to passively resist an attacker, in addition to any other form of resistance they may be able to carry out at the time of an assault.

Blogger (and Huffington Post contributor) Louise Pennington wrote:

Anti-Rape underwear whose advertising campaigns are based entirely on rape myths will not help protect women or children from rape. They simply reinforce the very myths which make it easier for rapists to rape whilst blaming the victims for being raped.

This is the tagline for AR Wear: A clothing line offering wearable protection for when things go wrong.

Rape is not “something that goes wrong”. It is a crime with a clear perpetrator who chooses to rape. It isn’t an accident. It isn’t a miscommunication. And, it is mostly certainly not “something that goes wrong”. The idea that a company is attempting to profit from women’s fears of rape whilst simultaneously minimising rape as a crime makes me very, very angry.

There’s an indiegogo campaign to raise money for this product’s development. It’s not doing very well. But perhaps they’re selling to the wrong market. They would probably do better rebranding them as a more effective version of “purity panties” and selling them to religious groups obsessed with policing their daughters’ virginity…

AR Wear (indiegogo)
My Elegant Gathering of White Snows (Blog)

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more