Tag Archives: Sexual assault

Stop giving me products to defend myself and start telling men not to rape

Georgia Kennelly is the National Women’s Officer for the National Union of Students.

Trigger Warning for Rape. 

In the news this week is a new product created by male students in the US – nail polish that will detect date rape drugs in drinks. As described on their Facebook page Undercover Colors – “We are developing a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes color, she’ll know that something is wrong” 

I can understand that at first look this seems like a fantastic idea. Worried parents will be buying this for their daughters, universities will sell it discount on campus – the Daily Mail went so far as to say that this will save lives. With the reaction from commentators, I’m surprised nobody has given these boys a Nobel Prize yet.

But this product has missed the mark completely.

This is yet another product that time and money is poured into that focuses on what women can do to protect themselves from being sexually assaulted instead of teaching men not to rape. Usually when I leave the house on a Saturday night I think I’m covered safety wise; wearing my skirt that’s not too short, my shoes I can run in, the pepper spray in my handbag, sharp implement on my keys, anti-rape underwear, headphones out of my ears, emergency app on my phone, but hang on I forgot my anti-drink spiking nail polish!  I am so sick of it being our job as women to constantly protect ourselves with no effort made by men to actually change the culture. You have four men here who clearly care about this issue, and $100,000 and this is what they came up with? They could have pushed for consent workshops for young boys in schools, better policies at university colleges and sporting departments, education campaigns for the broader public, stricter regulation for advertising, tv, movies, & music that promote rape, challenging a culture that doesn’t believe women when they report rape, police that take women seriously when they report harassment that all too often turns into assault – but instead they chose to create a product that puts the onus on the victim.

By putting the responsibility on the woman to protect herself they’re contributing to the culture of victim-blaming that exists when a woman reports sexual assault. We already ask women what they were wearing, how much they’d had to drink, how sexually active they are, if they defended themselves and if they called for help. Thanks to this product, it’s only so long before a woman is assaulted outside a club after having her drink spiked and she is asked on the witness stand why she didn’t wasn’t wearing the nail polish. Rape is never the victim’s fault and this product is only going to exacerbate the problem.

Furthermore, this product is not actually that practical. The majority of drink spiking occurs not with drugs but actually with extra alcohol poured into a drink, something that you can’t trace. For the minority of drinks that are spiked with drugs, there is a large range of different drugs used and these drugs are constantly evolving, it is nigh impossible to trace all of them. Even aside from the fact that this is not going to detect the majority of spiked drinks – what happens when it does? In a scenario where a woman does detect a spiked drink by dipping her finger in it, what happens next? Does she call the police? Does she go home immediately? What happens if the perpetrator follows her outside and attempts to assault her anyway? More than likely, if she does escape safely, the perpetrator will turn his attention to a different woman sporting bare nails. Not exactly something that solves the problem.

Lastly, it’s important to note that the data shows that most sexual assault isn’t a stranger attacking you in a dark alleyway but is very likely to be someone that you know, a relative, a coworker, a friend. Someone that you never suspected would ever harm you. It’s unlikely that you’ll be on your guard around every man close to you, let alone checking the drinks they give you.

The boys behind Undercover Colors are asking for donations on top of the $100,000 they already have – and with the recent spike in interest people have been more than happy to donate. Once the product is on the market I have no doubt they will start raking in the profits. So now we have men profiteering off a rape culture in society that they; as men, already benefit greatly from, without doing anything to address the causes of rape. I would suggest to anyone keen to donate that they instead give money to greatly underfunded rape crisis centres that could really use it.

As someone who has had my drink spiked at a club, it’s a terrifying experience that is not solved by magic nail polish, but by teaching men that they’re not entitled to women’s bodies.

And if there are men reading this who really want to stop Rape – then maybe this will give them some handy tips. 

The last 48 hours

Women make the news EN(4)

lets break it down.

Trigger warning discussions around rape, sexual assault and domestic violence.

48 hours ago.Perhaps a bit close to home, I discover I have 12 new semi abusive comments waiting to be authorised attacking this blog and the idea of feminism as a whole.

I have one thing to say to those of you who are stalking this blog to post comments about how outrageous it is that we talk about womens issues,  if you disagree with us DONT READ THIS BLOG! I considered approving your comments so that the women that are part of our movement could see what they have to stand up against but then I realised that it wouldn’t do that it would just make people as angry at your moronic behaviour as I am. But lets be honest its not even as if your reading  our new posts your still going on having a whine about the ‘In Our Own Voice’ campaign that was ran last year.

I almost feel sorry for you- because obviously you have nothing else in your life to do.  Grow up Lads.

36 hours ago– Cleavage Gate

‘I dont think that it is appropriate for her to be showing her cleavage in parliament’julia-gillard-credit-MystifyMe-Concert-Photography-Troy_300

Yea Julia Gillard, our Prime Minister has never been attacked because she is a woman. The menu was not sexist, the questions about her partners sexual orientation defiantly not sexist, comments about her choice to not have children no chance of that being a sexist comment, referring to her as a witch and a bitch well that’s simply part of the job.

Only thing I can be grateful that came out of this interview is that Grace Collier explicitly said her sexist and bigoted comments were not her speaking on behalf of anyone but herself.


24 hours ago. Jill Meaghers murderer will face sentencing tomorrow.

It became evident that Adrian Earnest Bayley would be sentenced this coming Wednesday morning at 9.30 am for the atrocities he brought upon her. I am not going to go anymore into this one because, I dont need a reason, I am just not.

12 hours ago. Arrest made in rape case reported eight years ago.

655256-milneSt Kilda Forward Stephen Milne has been charged with four counts of rape, the first of which was reported in 2004. That’s only an eight year investigation wait nope Victoria police stopped the investigation after 8 weeks, but recent whistle blowers have gone public with the internal police pressure applied to the investigating officers to close the case.


6 hours ago. Nigella’s ‘it was just a play-fight’ husbands shocking behaviour.

Nigella Lawson the famous chef was assaulted by her husband at a cafe who reportedly assaulted her during a lunch at a cafe. Witnesses say they were arguing and he reached across the table and grabbed her throat he said that ‘he didnt apply pressure’ like that makes it any better and that she wasn’t crying because he had her by the throat, but that she didn’t like it when they fought.  You know what I wouldn’t like to fight with a dude who thought it was ok to grab me by the throat.

2hours ago. 

I Decided that I might not read the news anymore it upsets me to much.

1hour ago.

I decided to write this article, and at the end felt the need to add this video to hopefully make you feel better.

It really should

Mikaela Wangmann

NUS Womens Officer 2013