Law

Anti-rape nail polish

An enterprising team of all-male scientists from North California State University has invented nail polish designed to change colour when you discretely place your finger into a drink that has been laced with a date-rape drug. It recognises, they state, amongst other drugs Rohipnol, GHB and Xanex. They claim they are “the first fashion company empowering women to prevent sexual assault

In that they are wrong. In 2011 a lip gloss was made, also in the USA, which could detect GHB and ketamine; it was called, inappropriately, “2 love my lips“. In 2009 a chemist from Tel Aviv invented a drinking straw that changed colour on contact with these drugs. Neither of the products has had any commercial success.

The most common type of date rape drug is, of course, alcohol. Spiking alcoholic drinks with double or triple shots will be undetectable by even the most enthusiastic drink-dunking of the finger painted with the new polish. In my experience (for what it’s worth) as a rape and serious sex offences prosecutor of over a hundred cases, I have done only one drugged rape trial. The vast majority of rapists I know use alcohol to induce the state they require. These anti-rape manicures will, I suspect, go the same way as the lip gloss and the straws.

Perhaps a university could instead help invent a culture where men take responsibility for their sexual behaviour rather than one which requires women to stop them.

Edward Bindloss
27th August 2014

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